Smile Politely

Five things in arts this month: May 2021

As we move deeper into spring, we prepare to celebrate endings and beginnings. Performing and visual arts students will showcase their work before leaving to launch their careers. Artist will take residence to create in-situ work in some of our favorite places. And arts centers introduce new classes and explore innovative business models to welcome us back to participate as we edge toward COVID life post-vaccine. So this May, help to give Illinois students a proper send off after a tremendously challenging year. Then consider booking a safe in-person museum visit or dance class. 

New Classes + New Fee Structure at Urbana Dance Company

Photos of new Urbana Dance Company instructors with information. Photo from the UDC Facebook page.

Photos from the Urbana Dance Company Facebook page.

After months of quarantining, our bodies are itching to move. Thanks to the folks at Urbana Dance Company, there are several new class offerings, and a “pay-what-you-can” fee scale model available from May through July. UDC owner and artistic director Kate Insolia is determined to “infuse the local community with high-quality dance instruction at prices everyone can afford.  Community members will have access to participate, learn, and develop their dancing skills and talents at a price that fits their budget.”  So if you’ve ever considered dancing with the talented and inspiring dancers at UDC, this is the time to do it. Dust off your dance shoes and choose from Hip-Hop, House, Contemporary, Dance Making and more.

New Classes + New Fee Structure
Urbana Dance Company
Starting May 4th
122 W Main Street, Urbana
Get more information here.

KAM Council Featured Speaker: John E. Bannon, inaugural artist-in-residence at Allerton

Photo of John E. Bannon's Live & Breathe light installation. Courtesy of the artist and Allerton Park and Retreat Center.

Last winter, many of you braved the cold to explore Allerton Park and Retreat Center’s Wellness Walk and a peak at Illinois alumnus John E. Bannon’s light installations. This month, warmer weather brings a chance to hear the artist speak courtesy of the KAM Council. Bannon will present “Further Explorations of Perception,” in which he will “[connect] his work as a student at the U of I to his current artist residency at Allerton Park and Retreat Center.” The inauguration of the very first Allerton artist-in-residence is definitely something to celebrate and support. So get your first your first look the artist and his plan for this exciting new in-situ art experience this week. 

KAM Council Featured Speaker: John E. Bannon, inaugural artist-in-residence at Allerton
May 7th, 12 noon
Free and online. Registration required.

Theatre Studies New Work Festival

Photo of desk with writing implements and information about the Illinois Theatre Studies New Work Festival. Image from the Illinois Theatre Facebook page.

Image from the Illinois Theatre Facebook page

Illinois Theatre doesn’t just train talented actors and techinicans. They also nurture emerging playwrights, directors, and dramaturgs. This month’s Theatre Studies New Work Festival offers the chance to watch “three teams of Illinois Theatre students serving as playwright, director, and dramaturg to collaborate in the development and production of a substantial piece of theatre. ” All staged readings will be streamed from the Colwell Playhouse stage. This program contains adult content and is recommended for ages 16 and up. Each of the following offerings will last approximately two hours. Between Us by Dan Kipp; Caitlin Chrastka, dramaturg; Rebecca Goodman, director, Fugitives in America by Jordan Ratliff; Alexis Webb, dramaturg; Jacqueline Moreno, director, and, We’re All Gonna Die Here by Rachael Fox; Gina Maggio, dramaturg; Mariana Seda, director. Closed captioning will be available. Check out all three and you’ll be able to say you saw them before they made it big. 

Theatre Studies New Work Festival
Presented by Illinois Theatre
May 7th through 9th
Streaming for free

Illinois School of Art + Design BFA Student Exhibition

Photo of Krannert Art Museum exterior at night. Photo from the KAM website.

Photo from the Krannert Art Museum website.

The ability to celebrate the work of graduating Art + Design students in person at Krannert Art Museum brings a welcome sense of “things getter better.” Walk around, enjoy being back at KAM, if you haven’t already, and explore the vision and talent of these emerging visual artists working in a wide range of media and creating important conversations about the future of art. Stay tuned to the arts section for interviews with several BFA candidates. 

Illinois School of Art + Design BFA Student Exhibition
Krannert Art Museum
500 E Peabody Drive, Champaign
May 8th through 15th
Reserve your visit time here

Design a Mural with For Downtown Urbana with Langston Allston

Image of BIPOC young people with the title

Image by Langston Allston. Taken from the Urbana Free Library Facebook page.

Beloved CU-born muralist Langston Allston is coming home to start something really cool and he wants you to join him.  With the support of the City of Urbana Arts and Culture Grant and The Urbana Free Library Foundation, Allston will be co-creating a downtown Urbana mural inspired by books and reading. The project kicks off this month with a virtual designing workshop open to to middle and high schoolers and adults. Right now, you can still join the wait list. But even if you miss the chance to participate in the co-design phase, fear not. There will be lots of opportunties to participate in the later stages of the process. 

Design a Mural with For Downtown Urbana with Langston Allston
Hosted by the Urbana Free Library
May 8th, 2 to 2:45 p.m.
Free and online. Learn more here

Top image by Langston Allston. Taken from the Urbana Free Library Facebook page.

Arts Editor

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