Art Exhibits – Next Act Theatre

Art Exhibits

Your overall theatre experience is expanded with art exhibits in our lobby gallery. Please be sure to arrive early to check out these artists’ beautiful work.

Curator James Toth creates a unique collection of works to complement each Next Act production.

An Inner Fire: The Abstract Paintings of Virgilyn Driscoll

January 30 – February 23, 2020
Curated by James Toth

What would the world become for you if you lost your sensory connection to its physicality? What sensory memories would dominate your inner world? Phantom smells… sounds… images? What might that inner world look like? This concept of somehow representing thoughts and emotions of a very personal and private nature plays an important role in the abstract expressionistic paintings of Virgilyn (Virgi) Driscoll, our guest artist for A SMALL FIRE.

“By painting webs of color, turning a blank canvas into a mystery of inner and outer spaces and shapes, I offer the viewers a journey into their own mind’s eye. There is a mystery in abstraction and many meanings can be observed by the person viewing it. The viewer brings his or her own experiences to the painting. That builds a new understanding of the painting. That completes the painting.”

In the play, when the character of Emily loses her sensory connections with the physical world, her inner emotional world becomes overloaded and leads to new challenges for herself and her relationships with others. Virgi’s paintings represent a similar dynamic by presenting a visual overload of “colors, shapes, textures, spaces and inner concepts and meanings” which challenge the viewer to interpret; to impose order; to come to terms with the seeming chaos; to find meaning. Both cases require becoming engaged. Both are worth the effort.

Virgi Driscoll has served in many arts and arts education leadership positions at the local, state and national level, including as Executive Director of the Wisconsin Alliance for Arts Education. Her art work has been exhibited in local, state, regional and national exhibitions. She has won awards for both her paintings and drawings as well as her leadership positions. She believes strongly that art is central to all learning and should be a required course of study within our schools.

Learn more about Virgi’s art and arts advocacy at

Jim Toth is a retired art educator, now in his sixth season as Next Act’s volunteer gallery curator.

Exhibit Hours

The art exhibit opens Thursday, January 30, and is open to the public Monday through Friday, noon to 5 pm, and through the start of any performance.

Additional Information

About A Small Fire