This year, the LunART festival includes a five-day celebration with a mixture of panels, film showings, and concerts from Wednesday through Sunday next week. Organizer Iva Ugrcic moved to Madison for graduate school and obtained a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2017.
When Ugrcic moved to Madison, she wanted to make sure the work she did helped include women’s voices and music in performing arts. She created the LunART Festival to help celebrate all women in the arts.
In 2018, she founded LunART, Inc., a nonprofit organization with the mission of celebrating and promoting women’s creativity in the arts.
“That idea of knowing that there’s so many women artists out there that no one has heard for various reasons, mostly because our world is very inequitable,” she said. “There is a lot of inequality. That combined with my personal experiences of being a woman, especially in Europe, a male-dominated world.”
Ugrcic talked about the harsh experiences she endured working with male teachers, and wanted to change that for women in the future.
“Once I completed my doctoral program, I was like, ‘I need to start this, I need to create this platform for women,’” she said. “To create this network of women where they will all come together and collaborate and celebrate their art and share it with the world. The idea of the festival is a celebration of women’s creativity.”
The mission of LunART is to support, inspire, promote, and celebrate all women in the arts through public performances, exhibitions, workshops, and interdisciplinary collaboration. Their goal is to enrich the community and create a welcoming space for learning and experimentation.
LunART is committed to social and racial justice. We seek to be inclusive by welcoming participation of all women, transgender and ciswomen, with diverse experiences.
One of the panel discussions of the festival, “Art & Heritage” is Wednesday, May 31 at 7 pm at the Arts + Lit Lab. This discussion is intended to delve into how heritage influences artistic expression with three women: June Millington, a musician; Dorothy Chang, a composer; and Rachel Werner, an author.
On Thursday, June 1, June Millington, guitarist and co-founder of the group, Fanny, will host a masterclass and performance from 4-6:30 pm, then view a screening of the film, FANNY: The Right to Rock! at 7 pm, followed by a Q&A discussion with Millington. These events will take place at the Goodman Community Center.
On June 6, the festival will be highlighting the LunART professional development composers hub, which provided masterclass and private composition lessons with Composer-in-Residence Dorothy Chang.
They will also partake in lectures and a presentation by Elizabeth Russell and Beth Larson, as well as workshop their music with festival musicians. The program culminates in a concert showcasing their work.
Ugrcic is looking forward to this year’s celebration and is excited for community members to come learn about women artists and composers they might not know. She’s also focused on highlighting artists that are local as well.
“Something that I really want to underline is: as much as I like to bring guest artists, my idea is to bring outside artists to the Madison community, to experience and hear a new voice. And to be like, ‘Oh, what’s happening in Europe, in New York, in Paris, in Singapore’. Let’s hear all these influences.”
“But at the same time, the majority of my performing artists are from the community,” she added. “Over 85% of my budget goes back to this community developing, and economically helping artists from this community. That has been the staple of the festival. Every single artist is paid from day one. Just making sure that I honor everyone as much as I can in that moment.”
To learn more about the upcoming events at the LunART Festival, visit https://www.lunartfestival.org/2023festival.