Now that you’ve arrived in Appleton, the place where you’ve decided to spend the next four years of your life, perhaps you’re a bit worried that along with your hometown and your family you’ve left arts and culture behind as well. Have no fear, though! Though the idea of living in Wisconsin can be daunting for those not already intimately affiliated with the Midwest, Appleton and the surrounding area have a large number of artistic and cultural opportunities to indulge in.The Fox Cities Performing Arts Center
Right in the heart of downtown Appleton, the PAC, built in 2002, has since attracted big-name shows to our small oasis north of Madison and Milwaukee. The impressive red and brass-accented main theater boasts 2100 seats and showcases plays, musicals, ballet and classical and popular concerts while the 350-seat black-box theater allows for more intimate gatherings and the presentation of smaller works.
The 2006 season’s diverse offerings feature the Mexican Ballet Folklorico, Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” The Fox Valley Symphony with Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet,” “Mamma Mia!,” “A Christmas Carol” and “Twelve Angry Men,” while the 2007 season includes “Movin’ Out,” Mannheim Steamroller and Disney’s “The Lion King”.
In one of the best deals out there, student rush tickets are available for most shows for $10 with a valid student ID an hour in advance at the door. With the farthest seat from the stage only 180 feet away, even rush tickets allow for a great view!
The Weidner Center in Green Bay
If you can get there, the Weidner Center at the UW-Green Bay a half hour north of Appleton is also a great place to catch shows! The season includes “Chicago!” and plays by Tennessee Williams. Rush tickets are also offered for most performances an hour in advance.
The Appleton Art Center
Though unassuming from the outside, the Appleton Art Center hosts exhibitions and juried shows throughout the year that often highlight local artists. This fall, check out the interactive exhibit on the art of marbles and the annual spring juried fine arts exhibition.
The Con, LU Theatre, and the Wriston Art Galleries
That’s right, our own programs at LU offer some of the best performances and artwork you will ever have the opportunity to see and hear! In addition to the excellence of LU’s own conservatory students, many events include or showcase the brilliance of visiting singers or performers. Faculty and guest recitals happen frequently, and the Artist and Jazz Series both bring in great performers. The Lawrence Symphony Orchestra and LU Choir both have concerts in October; make sure not to miss them!
The LU theater department performs three plays annually, the first of which will be Rupert Holmes’ “The Mystery of Edwin Drood.” In addition, theatre and conservatory students combine talents each spring to perform an opera. Lawrence is also hosting the Actors from the London Stage to perform “Hamlet” to supplement the Freshman Studies curriculum.
The Wriston galleries offer a variety of works from the permanent and visiting collections throughout the year, culminating in the senior art show in the spring. The library’s Mudd Gallery also offers shows of student and visiting work in an intimate setting.
LU’s own Internet radio station WLFM brings in a number of independent and under-the-radar artists and bands each year. Often this is a chance to be up close and personal with a band that you can reminisce about seeing “before they got big.”
The Barlow Planetarium and the Weis Earth Science Museum
If you like astronomy or geology–or even if you don’t really–the planetarium and earth science museum are actually pretty cool places. Next to each other on the UW-Fox Valley campus, the planetarium offers a huge dome with special effects and surround sound and the museum offers, well, tons of sweet rocks. If you want to really see some amazing geological specimens, check out the Jewelers Mutual Gallery of Gems and Minerals out by Highway 41.