Smile Politely

Untitled 2018: Invasion of the Arts this weekend

It’s that time of year again. Dust off your dancing shoes, try to remove the paint from under your nails, and get a babysitter. Untitled 2018 is this Friday! 40 North and Champaign County Art Council will be hosting their late-night fundraiser to support local art, events and artists.

All proceeds will benefit 40 North programs, such as MTD Moveable Art, Friday Night Live, and the Boneyard Art Festival (just to name a few). This night will bring local artists, art lovers and supporters and the C-U community together for a common goal: to share in the love of all things creative and expressive. And to rock with art!

I spoke with Kelly White, the executive director of 40 North, about this night of artful fun. Here’s what she had to say:

Smile Politely: So tell me about Untitled? What is it? What can attendees expect at this event?

Kelly White: This is the fifth year for our “Untitled” fundraiser. We completely re-invented the whole concept of our annual fundraiser 5 years ago after realizing that the traditional “gala” model that we had been using for the past several years just didn’t work as successfully for our arts community.

We drastically lowered the ticket price (from $88 to $45) which made it more accessible to a larger percentage of the community and created a whole new atmosphere that combined the spirit of fundraising with an overall celebration of the arts. We will have several interactive stations including live t-shirt screen-printing from Weiskamp where you choose your shirt and the design and take it home that night. There will also be an art sale where 6”x6” or 8”x8” panels transformed by local artists will be for sale, a whisky and wine wall, and a silent auction that includes Disney World passes, St. Louis and Chicago overnight packages, dinner for a year from Zybell House, Krannert Center flex package, local craft beer package, Virginia Theatre movie passes, and much much more! Guests can also participate in a large collaborative wall display or try the pop-up escape room from CU Adventures in Time and Space. Oh and don’t forget to indulge in retro snacks including fondue and a 50s diner slider bar, complimentary cocktail bar, and specialty coffee drinks, all from Michaels’ Catering.

SP: Is this a themed event?

White: We have worked with a different theme each year to help create a new experience every time. We have had an Andy Warhol theme, then comic book superheroes, followed by Punk, and then this year it is retro sci-fi! The theme influences the décor, marketing, and of course costumes are wholly encouraged!

SP: How does this event impact the community?

White: I can’t express how critical this fundraiser is to all of our programs. This is the only fundraiser we have all year, and it impacts every single aspect of the organization. Without the support from this event, we would not be able to have the staff and general operating income that it takes to administer all of our programs such as Friday Night Live, the Boneyard Arts Festival, the ACE Awards, the Eric Show, MTD ART, Sky Gallery, as well as our website and general arts advocacy initiatives for the local arts community. Buying tickets to the event, bidding on an auction item, purchasing a custom t-shirt, investing in a piece of local art, participating in the whiskey & wine raffle – every  bit helps and goes toward supporting the arts of this community!

SP: Do you feel art is important to the CU community?

White: Now more than ever the arts are critical to the health and quality of life in this community. The arts spark pride, create vibrancy, and showcase this area’s unique and exceptional personality. We created this event to be engaging, interactive, and accessible so the community as a whole can embrace and celebrate the importance of fostering creativity in Champaign County. It’s an ideal and impactful way for everyone to show their support while celebrating the art that lives here.

SP: Where can I find events, shows, things about local artists?

White: The best way to keep up on art-related info is via our website and E-blasts. We try to keep up on all the opportunities for local artists and artists and art-related organizations can also create their own profile on our website free of charge. Local art-related events are so numerous it can be tough to keep updated on them all but anyone can submit an event to our online listing. 

SP: What’s the attire for the night?

White: Anything and everything! You can be inspired by the theme and come in full costume, keep it casual, or use it as a chance to get dressed up to the nines! It’s an art event so anything goes. Can’t wait!


“Untitled 2018: Invasion of the Arts” will be taking place on February 23rd from 7:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. at the Orpheum theatre (352 N. Neil Champaign). Tickets can be purchased here or by contacting 40 North at 217-351-9841. Tickets in advance are $45 per person, $80 per couple, or can be purchased the night of the event, at the door for $50 per person.

Photos provided by Kelly White. 

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