Spatula&Barcode Launch “Home Stretch”, a Summer Festival of Small Art Events

nine hands on a log
photo by Shane Rounce

The arts collaborative Spatula&Barcode has launched Home Stretch, a “distributed festival” of small artistic acts taking place in Madison, WI between the summer solstice (21 June) and the autumn equinox (22 September). By appointment, participating artists will offer intimate performances and other arts experiences throughout the summer. All bookings are handled through the event website: /www.homestretch.art/.

“We felt that this summer would be a time of transition between COVID lockdowns and eventual  reopening,” says Laurie Beth Clark, co-founder, with Michael Peterson, of Spatula&Barcode. “We want to explore how forms of performance and other kinds of aesthetic sociality can help us re-learn how to be together.” 

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. 

Artists participating at this time include Amber Palmer, Angela Johnson & Justin Bitner, Bird Ross, Cyra Polizzi, Derick Wycherly, James Ember, Jen PlantsLaurie Beth Clark & Maya Barsacq & Meg Mitchell, Lesley Numbers, Marina Kelly & Bethany Alwa, , Michael Peterson, Nicole Gruter, Quanda Johnson, Solarpunk Surfclub, Teresa Audet, Victoria Hoff and Zoe Cohen. Additional acts will be added throughout the summer.

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 their comfort level. Most works happen outside and don’t require masks, while at least one performance will be open only to vaccinated spectators.

The festival title refers less to the idea of the final part of a race, Peterson says: “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 the University of Wisconsin Division of the Arts. All events are free to attend, though some performers may pass a hat or request donations to specific causes. Information and registration is at https://www.homestretch.art/.

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