Inspired by both their Victorian event venue and the famous Madame Tussauds wax museums, Wichita artists Monika Stockton Maddux and Jarrod Maddux are creating a Living Wax Museum exhibition that will feature local artists dressed as current or dead real historical figures.
“Some of the artists have gotten really creative with their characters. No one is fiction but some artists have taken liberties with their characters,” said Jarrod Maddux.
For example, one artist will portray 97-year-old entertainer Betty White as vampire Betty Bhite. Jarrod Maddux will depict Grigori Rasputin and how he died. The Russian mystic who influenced the last imperial court of Russia was poisoned, shot three times and thrown into the river.
The Living Wax Museum at 1121 N. Bitting in Wichita’s Riverside neighborhood will come to life this weekend and next weekend, Oct. 25 and 26 and Nov. 1 and 2. The event goes from 6 to 10 p.m. all four evenings.
Historically, the Victorian-Queen Anne style home at 1121 N. Bitting, which was built at the turn of the century, is known as the C. W. Bergman house. As they convert the residence into an exhibition and event space, the Madduxes are calling it Monikahouse in Riverside.
The artistic angle of the Living Wax Museum — the couple’s first joint event in Monikahouse — is in how the local artists will portray their characters, Monika Maddux said. The artists are responsible for creating the costumes and props, as well as any prosthetics and facial makeup, that they will use in their display. No masks will be allowed.
As a live exhibition, the displays will change each night, said Jarrod Maddux.
“Every night will be a little different so you won’t be able to come and see the same show twice,” he said.
While some characters may be macabre — like Jarrod Maddux’s Rasputin or Jack the Ripper portrayed by the couple’s 19-year-old son, none are expected to be gory, keeping the event appropriate for kids, too, said Monika Maddux, who will greet guests as Madame Tussaud.
Madame Toussand was a famous wax sculptor whose work included death masks that she was forced to make of the French aristocrats who were beheaded during the French Revolution, according to historical accounts. Reportedly the most popular part of her London wax museum was the Chamber of Horrors, where notorious murderers and other infamous historical characters were exhibited.
Recently the Madduxes moved into Monikahouse and converted the first floor into a creative exhibition and event space, while they live on the second floor. Eventually, they plan to convert the second and third floors of the residence into additional exhibition and event space.
This is the second exhibition that Monika Maddux has been involved in staging at the Riverside house.
In the spring as part of her thesis exhibition required to complete her Master of Fine Arts degree at Wichita State, Monika Maddux created a “dollhouse” within the residence that was part re-creation of a childhood dollhouse of hers and part commentary on dealing with a personal traumatic event, a miscarriage.
Proceeds from the $10 admission tickets to the Living Wax Museum will benefit the ongoing renovations of Monikahouse to convert it into an exhibition and event space.
Living Wax Museum at Monikahouse
What: An exhibition of current and dead real historical individuals and celebrities brought to life by local artists
When: 6-10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Oct. 25 and 26 and Nov. 1 and 2
Where: Monikahouse in Riverside, 1121 N. Bitting, Wichita
Tickets: $10 at the door or in advance through Eventbrite
More information: facebook.com/events/2356959201231175