Wisconsin Life # 703: Collaborative Spirit

October 17, 2019


Wisconsin Life host Angela Fitzgerald joins Black Arts MKE Performing Arts Summer Camp as they create live theater from scratch.  Over the course of four weeks, Milwaukee youth ages 12 to 18 write the script, songs, audition, create the set and even some of the costume pieces. It all culminates in a 45-minute live musical theater performance showcasing their dedication and talents. She talks with MKE Black Arts Board Member and Finance Chair, Grady Crosby, to learn about the organizations impact in the community. Then Angela talks with Niya Winston, a camp participant, about her experience in the program.


Fitzgerald also shares a new collection of stories from our Wisconsin Life team, including a profile of Mexican-born Milwaukee-based Nelly Vigil who goes by the name of DJ Loop. She uses her musical talents and love of hip hop to give back to her community and inspire young women around Milwaukee. Vigil helped start “Scratch Sessions,” a Milwaukee-based non-profit that helps open the door for community members interested in becoming a DJ.

Then we meet Ben Robel. Ben didn’t want a real job after college so he bought two goats and two goats led to 300. Now he rents out sheep and goats to people and organizations as low tech vegetation management. Vernon County Conservationist Ben Wojahn says these goats are crucial to control invasive plant species. The goats and sheep chew vegetation in hard to reach places, and it’s environmentally friendly.

Next  we head to Cadott  to meet teenager Kaden Christenson, a world-class archer from the tiny town. His dad, Scott Christianson, started an archery program at Cadott High School a few years back. Little did Scott know his own son Kaden would become an international archer taking third in the world last summer and winning a $10,000 education scholarship. While home schooled, Kaden practices with the other students at Cadott High School and has made a name for himself as he follows in the footsteps of his coach and mentor.

Finally, puppet maker Ken Vogel has delighted people with his creations for decades. He estimates he has made over 10,000 puppets that he has sold over the years to museums and private collectors. One man in particular, Jim Kirchstein of Mt. Horeb, was so impressed with Ken’s work that he has commissioned puppets from Ken since the 1980s. His collection currently numbers over 400 puppets.


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