An ongoing renovation project at the Anderson Arts Center will lead to a temporary relocation of the popular Twilight Jazz concert series, and a bright future for the historic lakefront mansion, Kenosha County Executive Jim Kreuser said today.
Those who come out for the season’s first concert, Tuesday, June 25, will notice that the venue has been moved from the lawn south of the Anderson Arts Center, 6603 Third Ave., to the soccer field on the Kemper Center grounds north of the arts center.
They’ll also see an abundance of construction activity on and around the 90-year-old mansion, which is undergoing work that will ensure its long-term sustainability, Kreuser said.
“We hope you’ll pardon our dust – and our mud – as we work to ensure that the Anderson Arts Center remains a community jewel for many, many years to come,” Kreuser said.
The former James and Janet Anderson family mansion, added to the county-owned Kemper Center grounds by way of a donation from the Anderson family in 1990, has operated as the Anderson Arts Center since 1992. It is managed by Kemper Center Inc., a private, nonprofit entity that oversees all of the Kemper Center facilities under a long-term agreement with Kenosha County.
Renovation work began early this year and is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
The primary purpose of the project, Kreuser said, is to preserve the historic nature of the building while adding some modernization, including handicap-accessible restrooms and a state-of-the-art geothermal heating and cooling system.
Kemper Center Executive Director Ed Kubicki noted that the new climate control system – previously, the building lacked air conditioning – will allow the arts center to seek accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums. This would enable the gallery to host higher-profile art exhibitions.
Passers-by have likely noticed that the mansion’s windows were boarded up earlier in the spring. Kubicki noted that the original windows have been removed and are being restored and reglazed, with care taken to use the original wood species and paint colors.
“By doing what we’re doing, we’re helping keep this historic museum for years to come,” Kubicki said. “We’re preserving history here the way it was when it was first built, and we’re going to keep it that way for at least another 100 years and beyond.”
Twilight Jazz, Kubicki said, had to be relocated for this year only, because the south lawn where the concerts are normally staged is where the geothermal field was drilled earlier this year. Grass seed has recently been planted and the concerts will move back to their normal spot in 2020, Kubicki said.
The free concert series, beginning its 16th season, will offer five performances this summer. Dates and performers are:
- Tuesday, June 25: The John Crawford Jazz Band
- Tuesday, July 9: Vocalist Elaine Dame
- Tuesday, July 23: The KUSD Jazz All Stars
- Tuesday, Aug. 6: The Southport Sound Big Band
- Tuesday, Aug. 20: The UW-Parkside Reunion Band with vocalist Wayne Messmer
All concerts are held from 7 to 9 p.m., with the grounds opening at 6 p.m. People are encouraged to bring lawn chairs. Food and beverages are available for purchase. Carry-in alcoholic beverages are prohibited.
For more information about Twilight Jazz and other Kemper Center/Anderson Arts Center programming, visit www.kempercenter.com.