Established in 1973, The Wilma Theater presents bold, original, well-crafted productions that represent a range of voices, viewpoints, and styles. In 2011, former artistic director Blanka Zizka founded the Wilma HotHouse Company as an incubator for artistic experimentation and a way to create long-term relationships and collaborations with local Philadelphia artists from diverse backgrounds. Beginning in 2020, the company established a new leadership structure with artists sharing artistic leadership in a cohort format.
A new opera explores the life, work, and spirituality of abstract painter and mystic Hilma af Klint (1862-1944). Now celebrated, af Klint’s work was underrecognized for decades until a 2018 retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum drew attention to her contributions to abstract art. With musical composition by Robert M. Johanson and a libretto by Kate Scelsa, the performance pushes the boundaries of opera and traditional biography, inspired by the historical details of af Klint’s life while contemplating the implications of her visual and philosophical work. The production’s stage design suggests the immersive experience of standing in front of one of the artist’s massive paintings.
The total grant amount represents project funding plus an additional 20% in unrestricted general operating support.