Smile Politely

Five things in arts this month: August 2021

If like me, you don’t know how it could possibly be August already, here’s some advice. Ignore the call of fall just a bit longer and relish the last of your summer arts harvest. Take a virtual vacation with Mandy Roeing’s land and beachscape exhibition, or take another walk Around the Block III with the exhibit’s juror as your guide. Get outside and support your local artists and makers at the in-person Crystal Lake Art Fair, and, while you’re in Urbana, walk through the three-location retrospective of Durango Mendoza’s art and words. And if you want to top things off with a hot summer night of tango music and dance, Starlight Tango has you covered. Enjoy. 

Around The Block III: Juror Camille Wilson White Gallery Talk

Collage of work from the Around the Block III exhibition Image from Giertz Gallery at Parkland College Facebook page.

Image from Giertz Gallery at Parkland College Facebook page.

Since it’s virtual opening in June, Around the Block III has kept the momentum going strong with a number of chances to meet the artists and learn more about their work. This month, as it prepares to close (although its digital footprint will remain), we get to meet Camille Wilson White, the exhibition’s juror, who happens to be the Executive Director of the Oak Park Area Arts Council and is a board member of the Arts Alliance Illinois, the state arts advocacy organization. This virtual meet-up offers a rare chance to explore a community exhibition from a unique critical, curatorial perspective. 

Around The Block III: Juror Camille Wilson White Gallery Talk
August 4th, 6 p.m.
Free and online. Register here
View the exhibition, as well as recordings of gallery talks, on the Giertz Gallery at Parkland College website.


Image courtesy of Jean Mendoza.

A beloved fixture of the arts community, Durango Carl Mendoza, passed away in October 2020. Now, with the support of a grant from the Urbana Arts and Culture Program grant, his family has curated a three-location retrospective of his work in downtown Urbana. Mendoza, was a citizen of the Muscogee Creek Nation of Oklahoma, lived and worked at the intersection of arts and social justice. The fact that this location takes us through his work by way of the halls of justice, knowledge, and creativity seems only fitting. 

Mendoza’s smaller assemblages and word images will be on display at:

Urbana City Hall, first floor corridor
400 S. Vine St., Urbana

Mendoza’s photographs and word images will be on display at:

Urbana Free Library
210 E. Green St, Urbana
Get more information here

Mendoza’s large assemblages and word images will be on display at:

Art Coop
150 Lincoln Square
Hours: Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, 10 a,.m. to 5 p.m.

Crystal Lake Park Art Fair

Photo collage from the Crystal Lake Art Fair Facebook event page.

Outdoor, in-person, art festivals are the bread of butter of artists and arts supporters alike. After all we’ve been through it feels good to have this event back, with several new artists participating. Take a walk through the 40+ artist and maker booths and enjoy a range of work including paintings, textiles, ceramics, sculpture, photography, jewelry, poetry, glass, mixed media and more. And best of all, meet the artists, ask them about their work, and maybe even get inspired for your own creative journey. Shop if you can, but remember that spreading the word and sharing the love are free. Get more information about participating artists here

Crystal Lake Art Fair
August 7th, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Crystal Lake Park, Urbana

Of Land and Sea: Work by Mandy Roeing

Mandy Roeing, Peaceful Stroll. © 2021. Image from the Springer Cultural Center website.

Mandy Roeing, Peaceful Stroll. © 2021. Image from the Springer Cultural Center website. 

If you haven’t been able to literally dip your toes in the sand this summer, this exhibition will transport your heart and soul through a range of lovely land and beachscapes. In her artist statement Roeing shares that she’s “always found being surrounded by nature’s beauty to be both soothing and invigorating. I love the effect it has on me and enjoy translating those emotions through color, light, and form into a permanent work of art to share with others.” 

Working in pastels allows her to “mix colors directly on the surface of my paintings, each layer getting me closer to what I’m trying to capture.” Roeing, who is known for her pet portrait commissions, brings that same emotional sensitivity to her exploration of the connection between the natural world and the human spirit. 

Of Land and Sea: Work by Mandy Roeing
Presented by the Springer Cultural Center
Through August 21st.
Free and online.

Starlight Tango

Image from Facebook event page.

For those who love to dance, there is nothing better than feeling of moving to live music. And with tango, nothing fuels the fire like a spicy mix of performances. Featuring Tango with Winnie and Friends, Tamango, and Bandoneon Massacre, and what promises to be a vibrant and welcoming showing from local tango community members, let the music take you out of head and into your body. Dance, listen, watch, and enjoy.

Starlight Tango
August 26th, 7:30 p.m.
Independent Media Center
202 S. Broadway Ave., Urbana
$5 cover at the door

Top image from the Crystal Lake Art Fair Facebook page.

Arts Editor

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