Circus meets cooperative at groundbreaking for new development

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- Aerialists, a flaming shovel, and performers on stilts were all present on Wednesday at the groundbreaking for a new facility designed to host circus performers, artists, and residents.

Madison Circus Space, CohoMadison, Winnebago Studio, and Accipiter Properties broke ground on the world's only space for circus training and studios, mixed-income housing, and a cooperative for artists.

The space is at the corner of 2000 Winnebago Street and Sutherland Court, and construction is projected to be completed in just over a year. Once completed, the space will have floors for residents, as well as community space to encourage the neighborhood to stop by.

"We're going to have a big dining room and kitchen and living room that's shared by all, and that's available to the community members," said Bert Zipperer, president of the board of CohoMadison. "We want to be a good partner and a good neighbor with the community members who need that kind of space."

Zipperer said that in today's day and age, having community spaces like this one is important.

"It's the idea of creating a community," he said. "We live so separately in this society, co-housing is a way of bringing people together, of creating a sense of community. When we share, we're all enriched."

In building this multi-purpose community space, the circus and the arts get to become part of the Madison landscape, according to Stephanie Richards, the Director of Development for Madison Circus Space.

"We get to stay here and become a permanent part of the arts community of Madison, which is super exciting," said Richards.