Mixed Media: Overture Center’s mosaics center around its people

A new permanent display is made of photos

The People’s Mosaics

Large-scale mosaics made entirely of photos of visitors, patrons, board members and staff of the Overture Center for the Arts are now on permanent display. The photos, most of them taken during Overture Center’s 10th anniversary year in 2014, collectively depict great past performances at Madison’s esteemed venue.

“Overture Center was created as a home for the arts in Madison, and everyone has a place here,” says Dianne Christensen, an Overture Center board member whose donation made the mosaic possible. “When people come in to Overture, they’ll see themselves in the mosaic. I think the mural conveys a powerful message that Overture belongs to the entire community.” The mosaics are on the main level in the hallway off the Rotunda Lobby.

Sky-High BooksMixed Media: Overture Center’s mosaics center around its peopleThe power of flight, as enjoyed by birds, has fueled human envy and imagination for centuries. That subject soars in three new books, all by Wisconsin writers.

“Taking Flight: A History of Birds and People in the Heart of America,” by Michael Edmonds, director of programs and outreach for the Wisconsin Historical Society, traces our changing behavior toward birds – from Native Americans’ reverence and overhunting by colonists (the passenger pigeon was subjected to both) to scientific research and recreational observation – over the past 12,000 years.

A fan of “Taking Flight” is B.J. Hollars, an assistant professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and book author, most recently of “Flock Together: A Love Affair with Extinct Birds.” In his memoir, Hollars writes about his visits to the Chicago Field Museum and shares his sadness for birds whose songs are no longer heard. But he also expresses hope for saving other species.

Practitioners of “empirical philosophy” can fly (as well as control the weather and heal the injured) in the inventive historical fantasy “The Philosopher’s Flight,” the debut novel by UW Hospital emergency room doctor Tom Miller. The book, the first in a planned series, delves into the field of practical magic dominated by World War I-era American women. It is at a women-only college where 18-year-old Robert Weekes, seeking the power of flight, meets war hero and political radical Danielle Hardin. Together they battle the men who wish to put an end to empirical philosophy, which infuses the book with a fresh and timely take on gender politics.

*Editor’s Note: Mixed Media is a monthly series featuring a variety of arts and culture happenings in the Madison area.