Arts & Life

Arts and lifestyle coverage from around the globe and Illinois.

Ways to Connect


Mar 10, 2009
Meyasha Clemons - Lanphier High School
WUIS/Illinois Issues

What do I believe in? The answer is the strength within a woman. I have been blessed to witness the personification of "strength" throughout my life, as I watched and learned from my mother, Sharon Deon Williams. My mother gave birth to me on October 9th, 1991, when she was but a child herself. Yet, she filled her heart with not only love, patience and understanding, but with focus and persistence.

Second Chances

Mar 9, 2009
Dylan Sanders - Lanphier High School
WUIS/Illinois Issues

I believe that the greatest gift is willing to accept reality and allow for a second chance when times get tough. Everyone makes mistakes – usually hurting the people that they love the most. Nobody is perfect and it’s hard to understand the difference a second chance will make. Sometimes you have to accept reality for what it is worth and give a second chance, even when you don’t want to. This is what I believe.

Artwork from the Decatur Illinois Post Office WPA mural.
WUIS/Illinois Issues

One of President John F. Kennedy’s last speeches before his assassination described poet Robert Frost as possessing fidelity that strengthened the “fibre of our national life.” That speech, on October 26, 1963, at Amherst College in Massachusetts, went beyond honoring a single poet, however. Nestled in his message was Kennedy’s take on the arts as part of the nation’s strength, morality, wealth, wisdom, power and purpose.

Haki Madhubuti
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Poet. Publisher. Professor. Editor. Essayist. Activist. All these titles fit Haki Madhubuti, who is about to celebrate his 25th anniversary at Chicago State University, where he is a distinguished professor and the director emeritus of the Gwendolyn Brooks Center for Black Literature and Creative Writing.

Presidential Poetry

Dec 1, 2008
Barack Obama
WUIS/Illinois Issues

In October, as Illinois’ adopted son Barack Obama rose in the national presidential polls, a group of Chicago poets gathered for an “Obama open mic,” as part of an event called Poets for a Better Country. Organized by Toi Derricotte and Judith Vollmer, poets and professors at the University of Pittsburgh, the event was held simultaneously in cities across the country, including Chicago, Falmouth, Mass., New York City, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C. “As poets, we have a historic duty to express the unspoken passion, rage, desires and hopes of our country.

Prehistoric Art in Stone, Clay, and Metal

Dec 1, 2008
Cloud Blower Pipe, 1,000 B.C.
Illinois Transportation Archaeological Research Program, University of Illinois

This exhibit, from the archives of the Illinois Transportation Archeological Research Program, highlights the artistry evident in objects manufactured in stone, clay, metal and shell that were produced by several native groups in Illinois from about 3,000 B.C. to A.D. 1400, several centuries prior to European expansion. 

Artifacts of Childhood: 700 Years of Children’s Books

Dec 1, 2008
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll with forty-two illustrations by John Tenniel - 1865
Newberry Library

Seven centuries of children’s books on display in Chicago

Show Poster
David Landis

  Robbie Fulks/Elizabeth Cook
June 14, 2013, 8 p.m. 
Show #2

To be Lazy is to be Happy

Feb 24, 2008

Hard work makes the world go round. I, however, prefer not to. A glazed look and drool at the corners of my mouth is how you will find me most of the time. While others are completing homework, projects, and other forms of labor, I, instead, will be lying on my bed and staring at the ceiling. To be lazy is to be happy.

The American Dream

Feb 23, 2008
Nancy Lin - Springfield High School
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Americans have become so self-absorbed with their own troubles that they have forgotten the ideals that have helped shape this nation. One ideal that has been taken for granted by today's generation is the American Dream. It is a dream commonly held by those who just arrived in America and those who long for an opportunity to come to America. To go from rags to riches is the universal definition of the American Dream. However, the true definition of the American Dream will have to depend on its pursuer. I believe in the American dream because it defines my life.

An Unlikely Hero

Feb 22, 2008
Alfred Brown - Lanphier High School
WUIS/Illinois Issues

When most of us think of a hero, we tend to think of superman rescuing some innocent woman from danger or a heroic firefighter saving someone from a catastrophic fire. You don't have to be a firefighter to be considered a hero. I believe a hero lies within us all. I feel this way because my life was forever changed by the actions of one fearless girl.

The Therapeutic Value of Laughter

Feb 21, 2008
Samira Hussein - Springfield High School
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Laughter is an amazing thing. It can bring down barriers between people. Laughter can make almost any situation a little lighter and happier. Laughter is one thing that can tie all people together.

Embracing my Culture

Feb 20, 2008
Sharon Kim - Springfield High School
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Whenever I would complain about how un-American my family traditions are, my mom would always say, "even though you were born in America, you are Korean." And I would roll my eyes, completely disregarding what she said. However, it was not until recently that I opened my eyes and truly understood what my mom was trying to say - no matter which country I was born in and no matter how hard I tried to be American, I would still be Korean raised by Korean parents. I believe in embracing my culture and traditions.

Best Buddies

Feb 19, 2008
Melanie Cornell - Springfield High School
WUIS/Illinois Issues

When I was a freshman, I met my buddy. By buddy, I don't mean someone I randomly met and befriended, even though that is pretty much close to the truth. I mean a person with intellectual disabilities that was assigned to me through a program at my school called Best Buddies. The purpose of the program is to encourage friendship between students and their peers with intellectual disabilities. My buddy was nineteen years old and a junior. His name was Daniel, and he helped me believe in the power of friendship.

The Power of Women

Feb 18, 2008
Elizabeth Ketchum - Springfield High School
WUIS/Illinois Issues

In my family we have an anecdote, "I can push my own tire!" I started using this phrase even before I knew the story behind it, which involves my mother stubbornly pushing a spare tire down the road and refusing to allow my laughing father to help her. No other phrase could possibly sum up my upbringing and the valuable lessons I have learned from it. I believe in the power of women.


Feb 17, 2008
Claudio Borges-Neto - Springfield High School
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Blank...Blank...I'm drawing a huge blank. I've been sitting here for at least half an hour trying to start this thing. I have written and erased this introduction at least twice. Perhaps what I'm lacking is inspiration. Or perhaps I've overused it. After writing college essay after college essay, scholarship essay after scholarship essay, school paper after school paper, it may be that my inspiration is worn out. I'm tired of describing my life story through words. I'm tired of conveying emotions through words. I'm just tired of essays.

A Caterpillar Named Bob

Feb 16, 2008
Julia Christensen - Springfield High School
WUIS/Illinois Issues

A caterpillar has sixteen legs, is separated into thirteen segments and has twelve eyes. They are common insects that are usually ignored, but could be considered one of the most comforting things to the right person. I believe in Bob the Caterpillar.

The Power of Forgiveness

Feb 15, 2008
Sasha Elmore - Lanphier High School
WUIS/Illinois Issues

I believe forgiveness is very important. In too many instances, people hold grudges and the inability to forgive ruins their relationships. I believe in saying "Forgive and Never Forget." You can remember the things that somebody did and know that they affected you without severing all ties with that person. From forgiveness we can learn and grow as individuals.

Peggy Boyer Long
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Who would have guessed it. Reporters for a monthly print magazine won a national award in online beat reporting. 

The House chamber, seen in the middle of renovation last November, is expected to be unveiled in early February.
Bethany Carson / WUIS/Illinois Issues

One hundred and eighteen years after construction was completed on Illinois’ sixth state Capitol, the House and Senate chambers have been restored to resemble the plush style envisioned by architects John Cochrane of Chicago and Alfred Piquenard of France.

Since last spring, hundreds of specialized workers have toiled around the clock to restore history. At the same time, they upgraded the heating and air conditioning system, fire safety features, Internet capabili- ties and wheelchair accessibility.

Art and Ethnicity

Dec 1, 2006
Art and ethnicity
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Illinois' culture is a vivid tapestry woven by a multitude of artists whose ethnicity is central to their work. That metaphor illustrates the spirit of "art and ethnicity," the theme of this year's annual arts issue, the 11th the magazine has produced. 

This take on the arts is relevant because the pattern becomes more intricate when the state's immigrant and nonwhite population grows.

In mid-September, a delegation of high-ranking officials from Kenya met with representatives of the Illinois State Museum in a ceremony marked by many speeches and group photographs. Center stage, displayed in a lined box, was the kigango, a decorated wooden post that was part of the museum's collection before officials there learned last spring it originally had been stolen from a Kenyan family. 

When he took that right turn off Halsted Street to 18th Street back in 1988, Paul D'Amato thought he was about to take his last pictures of Chicago. 

D'Amato, now a photography professor at Columbia College Chicago, had plans to take a teaching position in Maine. But what he found in Pilsen, then the city's largest Mexican neighborhood, caught his attention and held tight. "I had been to a lot of different neighborhoods in Chicago, but this one had an aura to it,'' he writes. "It was dark and colorful, full of texture, energy.''

Chicago/Chicago sorrows 
ways/So blue. Empty pockets/Every day/Friday
the rent is/Due. Chicago/Chicago. 
Big Shoulders/Bronzeville 
where/Lay my spirit. Lord/Knows
 . . .


from Eighteen
in Velvet BeBop Kente Cloth
by Sterling Plumpp

Julian Ambros Malaga wore his red-striped soccer jersey for good luck.

Mario Castillo had crossed before. He once spent eight months living and working in Galena, Ill.

Enrique LanderosGarcía wanted to make a better life for his wife  Octavia and their son Alexis.

In the end, Reymundo Barreda Maruri had to hold up his boy Reymundo Jr. 

Bethany Jaeger
WUIS/Illinois Issues

I take the scenic route to work every morning. I walk up three flights of the Illinois Capitol's grand staircase that lead to a towering piece of art above the Press Room door.

It's a 20-foot-by-40-foot painting of a 1778 peace treaty with George Rogers Clark and Native Americans at Fort Kaskaskia, and it almost looks small compared to the impressive depth and ornate detail of the stained glass dome soaring above the Capitol rotunda.

It wasn't music to their ears. For the second time in three years, Republican fiscal worries were shouted down by the Democratic legislative majority. There was little Republicans could do, so they sounded off about "pork" projects greasing the skids for a $54 billion state budget. 

A visitor enters an eerie dining room and sees a meticulously set table, including place settings for six, wine glasses and a centerpiece composed of a ritual loaf of bread covered with a prayer cloth. The traditional Jewish Passover dinner, or Seder, celebrating the escape of the ancient Israelites from their Egyptian captivity, is seemingly about to commence. 

Question & Answer: Shirley Madigan

Dec 1, 2005

The 2005 recipient of the Motorola Excellence in Public Service Award is Shirley Madigan. She has been the chairman of the Illinois Arts Council for more than two decades. Madigan received the Motorola award to honor "her passionate advocacy and record of achievement in the arts and human services." 

The award is co-sponsored by Motorola, NORBIC, an economic development and technical assistance organization serving manufacturing firms in Northeastern Illinois, and Illinois Issues

Peggy Boyer Long
WUIS/Illinois Issues

We began with a question. What could capture readers' attention in this busy time between Thanksgiving and New Year's? Ten years later, Illinois Issues' December arts issue has become a tradition, popular with subscribers and staff alike.

Over the years, these issues have been visually appealing, as we meant them to be. But here's the surprise: Reporting on the relationship between culture and politics is a challenge, as intellectually demanding in its own way as any form of public affairs journalism.