BONK! is a performance series that is held one Saturday each month from 6pm until 8pm. Though it is based in the Racine Arts Council’s Art Space facility, the performances frequently take place at a variety of venues and locations throughout Racine. Each month BONK! features three, 20-30 minute performances; typically the first two are literary performances (readings or recitations from poets, spoken word artists or other kinds of writers) and the last is a musical offering. However, occasionally a film or video, visual art, food art, dance, or comedy presentation is given. BONK! Is frequently opened by the local spotlight, a performer or group from the Racine/Kenosha Area that offers up a single piece to highlight local talent.
Each BONK! event features a carefully curated selection of artists representing not only diversity of artistic expression but also diversity of geography, age, race, ethnicity and gender. After the performances, there is a question and answer time in which the audience and presenters interact and share insights about the artistic processes, influences and inspirations. Following each event, informal networking among performers, artists and volunteers is enjoyed over dinner at Olde Madrid restaurant.
The objectives of the BONK! performance series are:
- To assemble. BONK! provides carefully curated, monthly events where people of the greater Racine area can experience interdisciplinary literary and artistic performance. These performances are designed to inspire, engage and educate the public toward a greater appreciation of literary expression, while enhancing Racine’s reputation as a burgeoning renaissance city.
- To “cross pollinate.” This is the tagline for BONK! and it refers not only to bringing different art forms together, but also to building relationships across demographic boundaries by engaging individuals, organizations, businesses, and institutions in unique way. For instance, BONK! events are held at a diverse variety of locations around Racine; places like the Eco-Justice Center, Wustum Museum, Hot Shop Glass, Divino Gelato, Launch Box, to name a few. This “movable feast” concept has prompted mutually beneficial interaction between people who would not ordinarily have reasons to cross paths. It also serves to provide positive exposure for all of BONK’s funders, sponsors, and partner venues.
- To be a resource. BONK! serves as a vital resource for local and emerging poets, authors, and musicians, providing them with a venue to watch, learn from, and perform alongside more established artists from other places. BONK! provides a much needed link to a broader literary scene, offering local artists a means to build relationships with each other, as well as gaining exposure to a growing, international network of creative individuals and organizations.
- To inclusively broaden minds and hearts. BONK! provides a welcoming, informal environment where people with limited experience of the arts can participate in a literary event of quality without feeling self-conscious or intimidated.