Fusion aims to be an intimate space for performing arts

Fusion aims to be an intimate space for performing arts

Kenosha Fusion

June 18th, 2014


Don at FusionBY JESSICA TUTTLE Kenosha News Published 6/8 at 6:16 p.m.

A new performance space in Kenosha will host its grand opening Saturday June 14th.

Kenosha Performing Arts Association’s Fusion, located at 5014 Seventh Ave., is a venue for live performances in a variety of art forms. Kenosha Performing Arts Association is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing education, exposure and resources to the performing arts community.

Don Miller, founder of KPAA, purchased the former Grand Central Records & Tapes property in late October in hopes to expand his passion for performing arts.

“I have always been involved in music, but we wanted to take it to a different level,” he said. “There’s a lot of great musicians and a lot of great performers in Kenosha, and I think it would be great to spotlight them.”

In renovating the space, Miller restored a decorative tin ceiling and stripped plaster to expose brick walls.

Sound treatments also have been added to control for high-volume performances.

‘Listening room’

Inspired largely by the live music venue, SPACE, in Evanston, Ill., Fusion will provide a closer, more memorable musical experience.

“I want it to be a listening room that is very inviting and with a sound that’s really dialed in,” Miller said. “Ideally, I would have liked a little bigger space, but the location for this is absolutely perfect.”

Miller said he wants Fusion to differ from the live-music scene in some bars, saying that experience isn’t for everyone.

“We don’t want it to just be noise in the corner,” he said. “I envision Fusion to be kind of a community-based space where people can go out and see performing arts of all different types, without necessarily going to a bar.”

He stressed that the space will focus on the performances and the listening aspect to make the experience more valuable for everyone.

Volunteers key

Miller and the seven-member board created to back Fusion’s efforts are still going through the license and permits stages. The board also has filed papers through the KPAA to form a nonprofit 501(c)3.

Those involved are volunteers, handling fundraising, marketing, events coordination and publicity.

Not just music

Fusion is intended to cater to a variety of performing arts, including music, improvisation, adult puppet shows, plays, recitals, open mic nights, singer-songwriter nights and more.

“I think it’s going to highlight Kenosha; it’s going to highlight the local talent, and it’s going to get to the point where people are going to seek us out to play here,” Miller said.

And sound will be key.

“I think that is what’s going to set this apart. Besides being a listening space — which there isn’t anything like that in Kenosha — we’re going to be doing sound at a number of different levels,” he said.

In addition to the main level’s live sound, there will be a control room built in the basement to create audio and video recordings as well as live streaming of performances on the Internet through a system of four high-definition cameras.

There will be an admission fee for all performances, and tickets will be sold online. Occupancy is 70-80 people.

The grand opening, however, will be the public’s chance to check it out for free. Saturday’s opening, part of Second Saturdays in downtown Kenosha, will feature “Kaleidoscope Dreams,” a pop-up gallery with artists Ashley Buczkiewicz and Tim Anderson, as well as a live performance by vocal trio Memory Fields at 8:30 p.m.

Inside the music scene

Miller, who some may recognize from local duo Acoustic Soul, has been a lifelong musician and longtime advocate for musicians and performing arts.

He has served on a number of organizations, including the city’s arts commission, Kenosha Performing Arts Association and Musicians Assisting Advancing Musicians, among others. But his love for music is personal, too.

Miller, a drummer and guitarist, started performing in Kenosha in the 1990s. He lived in Antioch, Ill., and commuted to Kenosha often after bringing his sailboat to the harbor.

From there, he became more involved in the community and eventually sold his house in Antioch and moved to HarborPark.

Miller runs the Kenosha Music Underground website (, which is dedicated to local area music and provides exposure and resources to help musicians get ahead, he said.

The site features local musicians, performance schedules and venue locations, as well as recorded video sessions and interviews.

Aside from his presence in the music world, he also owns and runs his own small, specialized manufacturing company, Instrument Specialists Inc., in Twin Lakes.

The business’ success has allowed Miller to purchase the Fusion property.

“My goal isn’t to make money on it,” he said. “My goal is to make an investment in something that I enjoy and that other people can enjoy.”

If you go

What: Grand opening of Fusion

Where: 5014 Seventh Ave.

When: 6-10 p.m. Saturday

Cost: Free, with complimentary refreshments (soda, water and snacks).


Those interested in performing at Fusion, renting the space or getting involved with the project can use the contact form at


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