DE PERE, Wis. (WFRV) – Little did a student know in 2013 that “hidden” strokes of paint on a wall would spark conversation on Aug. 4, 2022.

The strokes are visible by black light, which happens to be necessary for a person to be given the full visual treatment behind a door across the barely lighted hallway in the basement of the Carol and Robert Bush Art Center at St. Norbert College.

In the room are glow-in-the-dark representations of such art works as Michelangelo’s “David,” Leonardo DaVinci’s “Mona Lisa” and a display of Campbell’s Soup cans, al la Andy Warhol.

There’s movement in the dark room – fast-moving hands in iridescent colors shaping patterns in the eye and a picture frame that seems to dance in the air. The movement is not by mechanics. Two adventuresome silent beings – unseen – are in the room to help visitors explore “The Art of Seeing in the Dark.”

That’s just one of more than a dozen spaces in “Art-Z,” an invitation for minds to dance in artistic ways.

It’s an immersive experience the likes of which is new in greater Green Bay.

Led by Stephen Rupsch and April Beiswenger, Theatre Z normally puts on plays every so often. But that has been hard to do of late – what with the COVID-19 disruption and other factors. So the members got together and came up with a bunch of ideas that are included in the list of experience selections below.

The two-day event ends tonight in a two-hour time frame. Visitors may stay as long as they wish. Admission is free, but the first stop is this experience: “Welcome Desk/The Art of Giving.”

The guides at 14 places on the three floors of the art center include people who are familiar to local theatergoers. Here’s a hint for added enhancement: Chat with them and find out stuff.

# Noah Simon will be directing a play for University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Theatre and Dance in fall and acting in spring in a St. Norbert College production of “Antigone” directed by Stephen Rupsch.

# Grace Sergott – Thursday night sketched portraits in 45 seconds in “The Art of Being Seen” room – will be acting in “Barefoot in the Park” in November at The Forst Inn Arts Collective in Tisch Mills.

# Alex Sabin is in the company of “The Last Five Years” at the professional Third Avenue PlayWorks in Sturgeon Bay. He commuting.

In “The Art of Hearing It” space – a stairwell with a comfy chair surrounded by books – Steve Westergan read aloud from a thick volume of heady material.

In “The Art of the Game” space, Eric D. Westphal led game-playing. In one game, participants are timed as they match pictures of six artworks by title and artists, all women. At the end, the players learn the women had a notable association, such as Lee Krasner was married to Jackson Pollock. In another game, the players put together cut-out parts of a famous painting, such as “Sunday Afternoon in the Park” (popular title) by Georges Seurat. The games were devised for the event, so “Art-Z” is all original.

Participants can draw or write or speak in participatory spaces. Or simply observe.

Or be taken to wherever they wish – or not wish – in their mind. That’s in “The Art of Letting Go.” That room contains objects that invite reminiscing. Spread across one table are colorful paper flowers by the dozen. Around another large table are such things as a picture of a young woman, gold-like coins, children’s toy animals, a portrait of Vincent Van Gogh, battery-powered candles and a sheet-covered, full-length representation of an adult person deceased. Next to it is an envelope that says, “Dearest.”  


The basics

Remaining event: 7-9 p.m. today, Friday, Aug. 5

Location: Carol and Robert Bush Art Center, the building just to the right of the main entrance of St. Norbert College

The Docents

Stephen Rupsch

April Beiswenger

Rochelle Van Erem

Jennifer Thomas

Carol Cassell

Kit Honkanen

Alex M. Sabin

Katie Schroeder

Alex Gruber

Noah Simon

Teresa Aportella Sergott

Grace Sergott

Bill Sergott

Eric D. Westphal

Elizabeth Jolly

Steve Westergan

Ben Paplham

Megan Carpenter

Maria Miller

Selections of rooms/spaces

The Art of the Game

The Art of Being Heard

Advocate for an Imposter

The Art of Lying

The Art of Making Do

The Art of Peeping

The Art of Hearing It

The Art of the Word

The Art of Being Seen

The Art of Stitching Up

The Art of the Surreal

The Art of Fancy

The Art of Making Your Mark

The Art of Seeing in the Dark

The Art of Letting Go