Wowza! This just might be the year’s most happening weekend (so far) in the Central Illinois arts and entertainment scene. Props to Bloomington-Normal for a fast-growing event that’s drawing visitors from across the country:
Cogs & Corsets: A Central Illinois Steampunk Happening
This collaboration between the McLean County Museum of History, the Bloomington Center for the performing arts and other local institutions is already on the radar of the tightly knit U.S. steampunk community. Featuring everything from a Tesla Coil presentation to teapot racing, plus vendors from five states and several steampunk novel authors in attendance, this weekend-long event is too sprawling to even summarize. Click here (pdf) to download the full schedule.
But there are several other annual events worthy of your attention this weekend:
Peoria Riverfront Jazz Festival
Enjoy outstanding local jazz musicians and visiting performers from New York and Los Angeles on Peoria’s beautiful riverfront on Saturday, June 8! Here’s the entertainment schedule:
- 3 pm – Learn to Play By Ear Clinic with Dr. Todd Kelly Of bradley University and Pekin High School Combo
- 4 pm -5 pm – Pekin High School Combo
- 5:30 pm – 6:30pm – Stuart Mack Quartet (from New York)
- 7 pm – 8 pm – Brianna Thomas Quartet (from New York)
- 8:30 pm – 10 pm – Tom “Bones” Malone (of Blues Brothers and Saturday Night Live Orchestra fame) with The Central Illinois Jazz Orchestra
Lawn d’Arts (Champaign)
This pop-up art show is now in its third annual edition, featuring a variety of artists from Central Illinois and beyond.
- Cory McCory (pottery – Sandwich, IL)
- Jill Miller (hand-baticked clothing – Urbana)
- Melissa Mitchell (creative-reuse assemblage and photography – Champaign)
- Joan Jach ( graphic arts – Champaign)
- Pat Enstrom (pottery – Carbondale, IL)
- Cindy Sampson (jewelry, mixed media, acrylic and resin art – Champaign)
- Kayla E. Johnson (plant jewelry and art – Urbana)
- Erinn Dady (glass and art – Urbana)
- Eli Brown (acrylic and mixed media paintings – Springfield)
- Fraya Replinger (photography – Monticello)
- Jim O’Brien (poetry – Saint Joseph)
Uncork Urbana Wine Festival
Uncork Urbana Wine Festival invites wine-lovers to come together and enjoy an afternoon/evening of wine, music and food celebrating the diverse wines the state of Illinois has to offer at Meadowbrook Park. Admission for those 21 and over in includes seven tasting tickets and a souvenir wine glass when purchased in admission at the link below, or five tasting tickets if purchased on-site.
The Champaign Park District presents a free night of local music in the streets of Downtown Champaign.
- 7 pm – 8 pm – The Merry Travelers (psychedelia/folk rock)
- 8:45 pm – 9:45 pm – Last Call (rock/R&B)
- 10:30 pm – 11:30 pm – Kilborn Alley (blues)
Queering ‘UP’ the Park: First Annual Pride Picnic (Champaign)
The UP Center of Champaign County is observing the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and LGBTQ+ Pride month with an evening of friends, family, food & fun at Champaign’s Hessel Park! BYO picnic and/or food to share, chairs, blankets, games, etc.
Art lovers rejoice!
With so many art walks and exhibitions going on, you’d have to clone yourself to be able to take them all in.
Illinois Prairie Pastel Society Juried Member Exhibition – Artist Reception (Bloomington)
Works from members of the Illinois Prairie Pastel Society will be juried and hung in half of the McLean County Arts Center’s Brandt Gallery, with a coordinating duo of oil paintings and pencil drawings in the other half of the gallery by Deana Moore Schoolcraft and David Stratton. Artist reception on Friday from 5 pm – 7 pm; the exhibit is on through July 12.
First Friday Art Walk (Decatur)
The First Friday Gallery Walk for June is highlighted by “Eastern Europe: Kindred Cultures,” the Decatur Area Arts Council 2019 International Arts Experience is an Eastern European event centered around the exhibit of art and artifacts in the Anne Lloyd Gallery at the Madden Arts Center.
Blue Connection (also at the Madden Arts Center) features mixed media landscape sketches by Millikin University Robert Crowder Artist-in-Residence, Stephen Gardner.
Illinois Art Gallery at 160 E. Main St. features the art work of Dan Modzelewski. The ArtFarm at 252 N. Park St. features “Death Show!” with work by Lydia Puddicombe, Eli Brown and Kim Caisse and music by Harrison Riddle.
Artist talks will take place at 6 pm at the Madden Arts Center and 6:30 pm at Illinois Art Gallery. The exhibit and the Gallery Walk are open free to the public.
Peoria 1st Friday Studio Tour
Come to the Contemporary Art Center of Peoria (CAC) and enjoy an Acoustic Demo on the 3rd floor by Elizabeth Davis, CAC resident artist. Elizabeth is also the featured Artist in the 3rd Floor Gallery “Dances and Conversations” exhibition until June 21.
Also on the 3rd floor, visit the studios of resident artists Jack Ryan, Joy Johannes Miller, Richard Kirchgessner, Darlene Jones, Julie K.W. Harkless, Elizabeth Davis, Donald Mason, Kagan Masters and William Butler and in the Side View Gallery on the 2nd floor, Natalie Jackson O’Neal.
Looking for family activities?
Miller Park Zoo’s Birthday (Bloomington)
Miller Park’s staff will hold activities throughout the zoo to celebrate the zoo’s Birthday on Saturday from noon – 3 pm! Attractions will include crafts, the ZooLady, vendors and food to purchase.
Carden Circus (Peoria)
The Peoria Children’s Circus and Missouri-based Carden International Circus are teaming up for an evening of three-ring fun! Featuring awesome aerial stunts, music, comedy, magic and the Carden Circus animals at the Peoria Civic Center on Saturday at 7 pm.