The Phipps Center for the Arts is your community arts center located in downtown Hudson, Wis. Building on the theme of community, we have some exciting and relevant additional programming this September in support of the play "Population 485" by Michael Perry. The story focuses on the lives of volunteer first responders in New Auburn, Wis. This wonderfully entertaining and touching story celebrates the many shared values that hold a community together, but also makes note of the issues that divide us.

On Thursday, Sept. 19, at 7 p.m., author Michael Perry will visit The Phipps Center to tell some stories and answer questions from the audience. (Free event presented with Hudson Area Public Library: RSVP at www.ThePhipps.org).

READ MORE: A review at the Phipps: Answering the call in 'Population 485'

And on Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 7 p.m., we are hosting a community forum titled “Civil Discourse: Immigration, Refugees, and Population Change” (Free event: RSVP at ThePhipps.org and supported in part through funding from the Wisconsin Arts Board). We aim to facilitate an enlightening discussion about how we talk (and don’t talk) about challenging topics by asking the question: “How can we encourage more constructive dialogue instead of talking past each other?”

Art has the ability to entertain, but more than that, art helps us explore tough questions. I do hope you’ll join us for a performance of "Population 485," the author talk, and/or the community conversation. A favorite quote from the play comes after there’s a bit of tension in the community – “But when that fire siren goes off, under those helmets, in those rigs, then we’re one. My people acting on behalf of our people.”

Let’s come together as a community of friends and neighbors and come on down to The Phipps.

Collin Geraghty

Director, Population 485

Performing Arts Production Coordinator

The Phipps Center for the Arts