Arts & Life

An Unlikely Friendship Reignites 2 Artists' Ambitions

Nov 3, 2017

Updated at 6:05 p.m. on Friday

Brian Peterson didn't know what he had in common with Matt Faris when he went out of his way to meet his Santa Ana, Calif., neighbor.

Every day, Peterson would pass by Faris, who has been homeless for more than a decade. But it took some guts, Peterson admits, to finally walk up to him.

"It was like butterflies in my stomach," he says. "I introduced myself, and I think I apologized to you. I remember saying, 'I'm sorry for like, driving by you a hundred times and never saying Hi,' 'cause you were always outside my building."

Art Exhibit: Pushmi-Pullyu

Oct 24, 2017

Together in this exhibit, named after a fictional two-headed animal, Kim Caisse and Kristin Diehl exhibit individual and collaborative pieces. Some collaborations are made with full intention and awareness of each other’s contributions, and some with an element of surprise. Kim and Kristin work in mixed media, sculpture, wood, fabric, contour line drawings, sculptural weavings and found objects.

Mujeres Mutantes

A group of Latina artists are using visual arts--from mural painting, graffiti, and zines--to fuel social change in Chicago's communities. The Mujeres Mutantes Art Collective-- or Mutant Women-- are partnering  with art professor Nicole Marroquin from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and UIS gender studies professor Hinda Seif, to address the underrepresentation of Latinas in the arts.

The NPR Illinois Gallery will exhibit the works of two Springfield Artists: Jeff Williams and Corrin Smithson McWhirter. Their art re-evaluates and draws attention to our overlooked surroundings. 

The Pharmacy Gallery & Art Space has solidified its place in Springfield's cultural scene.

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The name was chosen on a whim - because no one else would have it. That was over five decades ago. The band's initial success came after winning a contest that got them a record contract.

violin
Jose Zaragoza / flickr.com/jose_zaragoza

UIS' Yona Stamatis talks with guest conductor Aram Demirjian about Friday night's Illinois Symphony Chamber Orchestra concert at the First Presbyterian Church in Springield.  Tickets and information at 217-206-6160.

chanceraps.com

Chance the Rapper is on a mission to better fund education in the state, particularly in Chicago. The musician, who grew up on the south side of the city, has won three Grammys at the young age of 23, making him well-known outside just the hip hop world. He's been using that fame to hold Gov. Bruce Rauner's feet to the fire when it comes to the education funding issue. 

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Diaz Lewis is a collaboration between Cara Megan Lewis of Kansas City, Missouri, and Alejandro Figueredo Diaz-Perera of Cuba. Their art comes from a variety of media, one particular project utilizes pillows. That will be part of what's on display at The University of Illinois Springfield Visual Arts Gallery in an exhibit called "Safe Harbor: Work by Diaz Lewis."

Chicago Tonight: Violent 2016

Jan 3, 2017
Eddie Johnson, Chicago Police Superintendent
Chicago Tonight | WTTW-TV

Full Show including:

  • Illinois delegation on the repeal of Obamacare.
  • Chicago's violent 2016.
  • Chicago portrait artist focuses on face.

Rachel Otwell

Lyndon Barrois Jr. is interested in identity, culture and intersection. He's named after his father, who was also an artist. He's lived in Southern Cali and New Orleans and now works as an educator at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, where his work has also been displayed.

Rachel Otwell

Often times kids need a place to go after school lets out, especially in places like the east side of Springfield - where Feithsans Elementary School is located. About 90% of the kids who attend come from low-income families, though many parents work long hours to make ends meet. That's where the 21st Century program comes into play - it's a joint effort of District 186 and the Springfield Urban League - and relies heavily on the time and talents of volunteers.

springfieldchoralsociety.org

There will be a rare performance of Bach's Mass in B Minor in Springfield this Saturday. It's being performed by the Springfield Choral Society as part of the Liturgical Arts Festival of Springfield. Details regarding the time and location of the performance are in the flyer above. Marion van der Loo is the conductor of the group, she joined us to preview the event:

Rachel Otwell

In some schools around the state - fewer art classes are being taught. Meanwhile, art advocates say they help students creatively problem solve and art is crucial for a well-rounded curriculum.

Alastair Willis
alastairwillis.com

A preview of this weekend's Illinois Symphony Orchestra concert -  "Sensational Strings" - featuring music by Mozart, Kernis, and Dvorak.  Yona Stamatis talks with ISO Music Director and conductor Alastair Willis.
 

Sensational Strings - Illinois Symphony Chamber Orchestra
Friday, January 22, 7:30 PM, First Presbyterian Church, Springfield.
Saturday, January 23, 7:30 PM, Second Presbyterian Church, Bloomington.

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

Springfield Art Association and Prairie Art Alliance are becoming one, and will focus on rebranding and integrating in the coming year. If you've been part of the art scene in Springfield, there's a good chance you've heard this question: "Why don't local arts groups work more cohesively ?" 

Jacqualine Simone Williams

 

In the wake of police shootings of black men and other incidents, there is a resurgence of young activists speaking out across the country.

Two Springfield artists, Ayo Abitogun and Sammy Flores, seek change through spoken word and music.  Jacqualine Simone Williams sat down to talk with them about their work. 

ericjgarcia.com

Chicano culture is the inspiration for much art, be it musical, literary, or visual. Eric Garcia has been drawing from his roots as an artist who often addresses stereotypes about Mexican-Americans and a largely forgotten history of colonization.

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

Last Friday night, I found myself back at a place I had visited several times before.  What was recently a since moved artist co-op on the corner of South Grand Avenue and Pasfield Street known as The Pharmacy is finding life as yet another incarnation. The bottom has become a tattoo parlor - the loft above is a new artist gallery and performance called The Studio. It's a collaborative effort of several creatives in the area. 

Cigarette vending machine converted to art dispenser.
Amanda Vinicky / WUIS - Illinois Issues

If you were to draw lines pointing in from Champaign, Springfield, Indianapolis and Effigham, they'd meet in Tuscola. The town's population of less than 5 ,000 may well double on weekends, when shoppers from all over central Illinois flock to its outlet mall.

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

Tune in to this week's version of The Scene - Scott Faingold & Rachel are joined by special guest host, local singer/songwriter Tom Irwin.

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

The Springfield Area Arts Council has a new director. Jon Austin is an Illinois native who has led a host of non-profit organizations. He's headed the Illinois State Historical Society and was the director of the Museum of Funeral Customs. He says he's excited to be a part of Springfield's diverse arts community. He joins for this introductory interview:  

Scott Faingold & Rachel Otwell publicity shot
Sean Crawford/ / WUIS / Illinois Issues

Scott Faingold  reports on arts & culture for the Illinois Times. (Find his blog here.) We'll be turning to him for this podcast exploring the central Illinois art scene - everything from music, literature, visual art, film and more. With my focus also being on the arts world here in Springfield, and Illinois - we'll tell listeners about our favorite things to check out in the area. We'll be learning about new artists and musicians right along with you.

SAAC

Penny Wollan-Kriel will retire at the end of next month as Executive Director of the Springfield Area Arts Council.  But she won't give up her connection to the arts community. 

'I am definitely staying back.  I do not want to be someone looking over the shoulder of the new Executive Director," she said.  "I will continue my involvement in the arts and with children."

She is a Springfield native who grew up dancing. Her  connection to the arts goes back to her childhood. Wollan-Kriel has spent a combined 17 years with the arts council. 

glorianachamberchoir.org

A new professional vocal ensemble will hold its first concert Sunday in Springfield.  The Gloriana Chamber Choir features several who teach music and voice as well as others. 

The Conductor and Artistic Director Dr. Elizabeth W. Zobel of Blackburn College is the founder and she spoke with WUIS' Sean Crawford about the endeavor. 

The choir performs at 4 p.m. Sunday August 3 at the First Presbyterian Church in Springfield.  The performance will feature English music. 

alplm

You may know the story of the war between the states.  But what is often overlooked is the emotional drama the period had on those who lived through it.

The musical "The Civil War" brings that part of the story to the stage in downtown Springfield starting Thursday night. 

"It's not a history lesson, although you learn a lot," Co-director Phil Funkenbusch said. "It's really a concert theatre piece."

"Instead of telling the story of the Civil War, it's really telling the stories about the people involved in the war."

If you love Elvis, get ready for the next Springfield Muni production.  All Shook Up begins a 3 week run Friday night.

We had a chance to speak with Jacob Deters, an SHG grad who plays "Dennis", Glenwood grad Sophie Lanser, who portrays "Natalie/Ed" and the director Anna Bussing.  It's her first time directing, but she's been part of the Muni family for years, first appearing as a kid on the lakeside stage. 

Deters and Lanser also give us a sample of the dialogue and perform a song.

Photo by Dan LoGrasso / A Feral Gentleman Productions

December visitors to downtown Springfield's Café Andiamo will be greeted by the photography of artist and Springfield native Dan LoGrasso. A veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, LoGrasso has honed his camera skills as a military journalist on multiple international and domestic deployments.

Ties That Bind A StoryCorps 10th Anniversary Special

Oct 11, 2013

 This Columbus Day, October 14, WUIS' Illinois Edition invites you to listen to this special broadcast, Ties that Bind: StoryCorps 10th Anniversary Special

There are questions we would answer, if only we were asked. How did we grow up? What do we remember about home? What about our family? Celebrate the first decade of StoryCorps, with a special retrospective hosted by NPR’s Scott Simon and StoryCorps founder Dave Isay.

10/14/13 | 12 Noon & 7 pm.

http://werticocainandgray.wordpress.com

Combining audio and visual effects, three Illinois musicians have joined up to create an act that defies conventional genres.

The trio plays a host of electronic and acoustic instruments - everything from saxophone, to cello, to the iPad.

The group recently released an album that is 100% improvised, as well as a DVD of those performances. They call their production, "Sound Portraits".

The three will be performing live again on August 31 as part of the Chicago Jazz Festival.

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