Smile Politely

Five things in arts this month: September 2019

If you woke up with a case of the post-Labor Day blues, convinced that all the fun was done, fear not.  Our local arts scene is bringing it this month.  From poetry marathons to homages to unsung musical heroes and beloved teachers and artists, these must-see September picks are as full of color and inspiration as a perfect fall day. Enjoy. 

Water + Color Exhibition Opening: An Exhibition of Works in Watercolor and Gauche

One of the most interesting aspects of any group show is discovering what drew these artists together. Here, over a dozen local artists share their work as a tribute and testament to beloved artist and art instructor Jamie Stewart Kruidenier, who died last year after a long battle with Alzheimers. Artists who are both powerful creators and inspiring teachers and mentors are a rare breed. And the loss of one such person is deeply felt. But so is the power of Kruidenier’s legacy, which will be seen in each piece here. Featured artists include Ann McDowell, Ann Rund, Anu Murphy, Barbara England, Birute Simaitis, Bonnie Switzer, Jenny Barrett, Jim Gallagher, Margaret Decardy, Martha Seif, Rebecca Renwick, Sandra Hynds, and Sarah Wisseman

Water + Color” Exhibition Opening
Artists Alley
405 E John St
September 4th through October 20th
Opening reception: September 4th, 4:30 to 6 p.m.
Open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily
Photo from Facebook event page

Art Since 1948

William Baziotes, Moon Animal, 1950, oil on canvas

Many of us have been waiting for this exhibit and having it here now takes some of the sting out of the end of summer. This exhibition marks a fascinating and extensive range of political, social, and art history and illustrates the important roles of art and artists in navigating and documenting times of significant transition and change. “With strengths in American and European surrealism, abstract painting, mid-century kinetic and light works, and art addressing powerful themes of history, land use, and identity.” This collection invites us to draw connections between the past and future over the course of six decades. This is something you don’t want to miss. 

Art Since 1948
Krannert Art Museum
500 E Peabody Dr, Champaign
August 29th to December 23rd
Photo of William Baziotes, Moon Animal, 1950, courtesy of KAM website

Gallery Opening: An Analogy

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a big fan of this space, and its consistent commitment to creating a permanent and inviting space for local art. I’m extremely intrigued by this show’s title, particularly in relation to the invitation’s signature images. Featured artists Cinda Womble Pettigrew and Judith Baker-Barrow of White Heath’s Broken Oak Gallery work in a warm yet evocative representational style that is easily accessible, yet capable of hidden depths. I’m looking forward to learning more about them and seeing their work installed at Analog.  Meet the artists at the September 13th opening reception. 

Gallery Opening: An Analogy
129 N Race St, Urbana
Showing throughout the month
Opening reception: September 13th, 5 to 9 p.m.
Photo from Facebook event page

David Roussève / Reality: Halfway to Dawn

I can’t tell you how excited I am about this one. An evening of Billy Strayhorn’s music and legacy presented as a multimedia performance is a one you won’t want to miss. You may recognize Strayhorn as Duke Ellington’s writing partner and arranger. But there’s so much more to his story.  Choreographer David Roussève explores “the legendary music and complicated emotional truths of Billy Strayhorn, the gay, African-American jazz composer and civil rights activist,” using “physical theatricality, video-projected text, historical footage, and abstract images to complement Strayhorn’s timeless music and to craft a breathtaking performance that excavates identity, social politics, and artistic brilliance.” This work seeks to inspire empathy through an art experience that “goes beyond boundaries of difference.”  Big thanks to Krannert Center for the Performing Arts for co-comissioning this timely and powerful experience and bringing it to our town.   

David Roussève / Reality: Halfway to Dawn
Krannert Center for the Performing Arts
500 S Goodwin Ave, Urbana
September 13th, 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Photo from Facebook event page

Poetry Marathon!

For us word nerds, Pygmalion isn’t just about music, it’s about poetry—and lots of it. If you’ve ever wanted to check out our local poetry scene, this is the time and place to do it. Whether you make one or both of these marathon sessions, you’ll enjoy a wide range of styles and voices. Come support these vibrant poets whose passion and hard word have created the kind of scene that has helped put Chambana on the literary map. Plus, it’s at The Bread Company, where coffee (or wine) and freshly baked goodies will sustain you through the evenings. Check out the line-up for each night here.  It’s a veritable who’s who list of local wordsmiths. 

Poetry Marathon!
The Bread Company on Goodwin
706 S Goodwin Ave, Urbana
September 27th, 6:30 p.m. to midnight
September 28th, 6:30 p.m. to midnight
Image from Facebook event page

Arts Editor

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