‘Home Stretch’ festival adds new performances

Spatula&Barcode has announced five additional participatory artworks in the “Home Stretch” festival, bringing the total number of projects to 17.

Home Stretch flyer“Home Stretch” is a “distributed festival” of small artistic acts taking place in Madison throughout the summer, continuing until the autumn equinox on Sept. 22. Participating artists offer intimate performances and other arts experiences by appointment. 

Spatula&Barcode, the Madison-based arts collaborative that is presenting the festival, was founded by UW–Madison’s Laurie Beth Clark, a professor in the School of Education’s Art Department, and Michael Peterson, an associate professor in the Art Department.

The new works, which will premier in August, include “Let’s Take a Walk,” an audio work by playwright Amber Palmer that can be listened to anywhere out-of-doors; “Chai Stories,” sharing tea and narrative with Praveen Maripelly; a series of “Rapt Gifts” events by Derick Wycherly; and the participatory movement exploration “Morning Practice” with Cyra K. Polizzi. Also premiering in August is “Flood Plain,” a site-specific dance project by Bethany Alwa and Marina Kelly that is already sold out.

Each participating artist has devised an event or experience for individuals or small groups. Offerings range from walking tours to site-specific dances, from a poignant musical canoe ride to an outdoor magic act.

Participating artists have committed to meet or exceed city, county, state, and CDC COVID-19 guidelines. While there are no public health orders currently in place, each work is clearly described so that the public can sign up for experiences based on their interests and comfort level. Most works happen outside and don’t require masks, while at least one performance will be open only to vaccinated spectators.

“Home Stretch” aims to help participants re-orient themselves to the outside world. “We felt that this summer would be a time of transition between COVID lockdowns and eventual reopening,” explained Clark. “We want to explore how forms of performance and other kinds of aesthetic sociality can help us relearn how to be together.”

Peterson said the festival title refers less to the final part of the race: “It’s more about that artists are stretching their homes, and the public is stretching out of lockdown bit by bit. These art experiences are a chance to stretch our social and artistic muscles.”

“Home Stretch” is partially supported by grants from the Madison Arts Commission and UW–Madison’s Division of the Arts, with additional support from the Wisconsin Arts Board.

All events are free to attend, though some performers may pass a hat or request donations to specific causes. Information and registration is available on the event website

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