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Art is abound at this weekend’s Urbana Art Expo

Arts abound this season, and Urbana is a good place to find them. This Sunday the gala of the Urbana Public Arts Program is the third annual Urbana Art Expo, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Urbana Civic Center. Seventeen artists will showcase the best of their photography, jewelry, mixed media, pottery and painting. Bonuses are music by C4A’s Bow-Dacious String Band from 3-4 p.m., and complimentary wine between 3-5 p.m. For lunch, between 11 a.m.-1 p.m. you can choose from food trucks Dragonfire Pizza and Smoked.

Urbana has a unique framework for public art, formalized in 2008 when the city council established its Public Arts Commission (take note, Champaign… ) with the task to “develop a public arts program for Urbana which will engage citizens in lifelong involvement in the arts in all their many forms.” A bounty of activities is orchestrated by the commission and Public Arts Coordinator, Rachel Lauren Storm. An artist herself, she’s shown her photography as one of Urbana’s Artists of the Corridor, and grew up involved in classical dance, music and theatre. She says of the Expo, “It’s more than just an exhibition — it’s an opportunity to appreciate the creative genius of our arts community.” You’ll see a number of remarkable talents, showing their work at the Urbana Art Expo for the first time this year.

Co-sponsor is 40 North | 88 West, the Champaign County Arts Council. Executive director Kelly White is on the planning committee and the jury for selecting the artists. “We are so excited for the 3rd Annual Urbana Art Expo! We are so fortunate to have such remarkable talent in this community and these 17 artists represent such a wonderful variety of subject, medium, and overall style. I can guarantee I won’t go home empty handed!”

The Expo is only one of a rich assortment of offerings through Urbana’s Public Arts Program. During cold-weather months, it partners with the Urbana Business Association to host Art in the Square, activities and performances every second Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon inside Lincoln Square. Last week the season kicked off with an energetic potato printing project and a performance from the Capoeira Angola Center. Mark your calendar for the next session on December 9th. These will continue until the farmer’s market moves outdoors in the spring; then the art moves with it, as Art in the Market.

The Artist in the Corridor project features local work, displayed in both the Urbana City Building and the Urbana Free Library. The current show,TEXTILES is by Lara Orr and Jill Miller. There will be an artists’ talk at the UFL on December 6 from 7pm-8pm, along with arts activities for families. (shown is Storm with a piece by Miller)

Two outdoor installations just went up last week as the 4th annual selections of the Murals on Glass series: you can see Beth Darling’s “Hosta Takeover” in the front windows of the city building, and Kelly Hieronymus’ “South Farm No. 9” at Urbana Park District’s Phillips Recreation Center.

Artists: pay attention. Urbana supports the arts generously. $50,000 is earmarked each year for grants to fund projects in four categories: individual, group, non-profit, and festival. With applications due at the end of December, Storm will give a series of workshops on the process for interested artists. The first will be held November 29th from 12-1 pm at the U of I’s School of Art and Design, room 331, and the second on Tuesday, December 5 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at the Urbana Champaign Independent Media Center. One will also be scheduled at Parkland.

Three winners of funding have just been announced for the Arts in the Schools program: Roberta Westerman for “Outdoor Arts Classroom” at Urbana High School; Capoeira Angola Center for “Capoeira Angola 4 Kids” at several elementary schools and Urbana Middle School; and Derek Linzy’s “Essentials in Beat-Making and Recording” at Urbana High School.

From the comfort of your couch, you can dip into the 90+ episodes of Urbana’s Art Now profiles of local artists on UPTV. They air on Mondays at 6:30 p.m., with reruns Tuesdays at 11:00 p.m., and whenever you like on UPTV6’s YouTube channel. The current feature is on Jenny Chi; check out her episode here.

Would you like to be involved? Storm has initiated a volunteer program for UPA, UPTV, U-Cycle, and the Market at the Square. Sign-up here. Over the summer an Urbana High School student interned as part of a grant from the Illinois Arts Council for their Summer Youth Employment program. And through the Community Learning Lab at the U of I, intern Samantha Schrage has been working with Storm.

All in all, Urbana is in deep with the arts. Keep posted, and come out and enjoy the Art Expo on Sunday.

Here are some specifics about Urbana Art Expo:

It’s free, and open to the public from 10 a.m. -5 p.m. Sunday November 19th at the Urbana Civic Center, 108 East Water Street.

Food trucks there 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; from 3-4 p.m., music by C4A’s Bow-Dacious String Band; from 3-5 p.m., complimentary wine.

Participating artists: Jodi Adams, Hugh Bridgeford, Mary Ciaccio, Fred Delcomyn, Damaris Dunham, EKAH, Lori Fuller, Faith Gabel, Kirsten Gilmore, Caroline Goldsmith, Kelly Hieronymus, Megan Hinds, Sara Jahn, Nika Lucks, Carolina Rodriguez, Cindy Sampson, and Lynn Smith.

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