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Art is Alive

Kemper Center

The History

Many who are local to Kenosha, WI know Kemper Center as a beautiful spot for summer music events, weddings and scenic walks next to Lake Michigan. This local institution also has deep roots in Kenosha history, dating back more than 150 years. 


Kemper Center started as the majestic home of US Senator Charles Durkee, back in 1861. In four years time, the Senator would dedicate his home to being an Episcopal boarding school for young women. This boarding school became better known as Kemper Hall in 1871. In 1878, the Episcopal Sisters of St. Mary took leadership of the school.  


After more than a century of operation the school had its last graduation ceremony in 1975, and was closed. In 1976, Kemper Center Inc. reclaimed the building, and in years since, has established itself as a center of the arts, and an iconic pillar of the community. 

Making History

The Kemper Center, and those who help run it, continue to make a difference in the arts community by supporting emerging local artists. Their mission - “To preserve the historic nature of the site and buildings and offer programs that promote an understanding of local history and all arts, while providing an historic setting for cultural, recreational, and educational activities.” - is a mission we aspire to as well.


The Port of Fear Film Festival is dedicated to promoting independent and local filmmakers, who are taking a chance and pursuing their passions in the horror genre. We hope that through this film festival, we are able to help build a continued local investment in the arts, including film. We firmly believe in the potential of our city and it's people, and we want to bring in together celebration of history, film, and the potential for growth in the arts. 

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