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Krannert Center awarded $20,000 in NEA grants for youth series

Krannert Center for the Performing Arts' Youth Series will see a boost in the form of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. This grant, which totals $20,000, is allocated for sustaining diverse artistry, and for exploring and expanding the impact of arts programs for youth.

For more information, check out the press release below:



Urbana, IL—National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $82 million to fund local arts projects across the country in the NEA’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2017. Included in this announcement is an Art Works award of $20,000 to Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, to sustain and expand its presentation of high-quality, diverse artistry; create residencies and engagement opportunities; and explore the impact of the arts for preK-12 students, families, artists, and partners. The NEA received 1,728 Art Works applications and will make 1,029 grants ranging from $10,000 to $100,000.

“The arts reflect the vision, energy, and talent of America’s artists and arts organizations,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support organizations such as Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in serving their communities by providing excellent and accessible arts experiences.”

Krannert Center’s Youth Series: The IMPACT of the Arts for Youth grant work will be revealed through interviews, workshops, storytelling, stage tours, masterclasses, demonstrations, interactions, and other activities exploring early arts education experiences; connectivity around cultural, academic, and societal moments through the arts; methods of art-making; and the professional development of artists. Year one residencies will range from day-long interactions alongside performances to week-long residencies; this will build in year two to longer residencies such as a two-week continuous residency or multiple shorter visits from the same artist. During these visits, the artist/company/creative teams and students will engage in explorations about various art forms and their impact. Students and teachers will be collaborators in designing the interactions to promote conversations among our local community, university learning community, and national/international performing arts community.

Krannert Center director Mike Ross noted the critical nature of NEA funding throughout the arts community and its ability to propel long-standing, mission-centric projects like the Krannert Center Youth Series to new levels of excellence and impact. As Krannert Center prepares for the 35th anniversary of the Youth Series program in the 2017-18 season, Ross expressed the Center’s gratitude to the NEA and Chairman Chu for fueling the advancement of innovative education, creative research, and inclusive excellence in presenting and engagement through the performing arts.

To join the Twitter conversation about this announcement, please use #NEASpring17 and #KrannertCenter. For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, go to


Illinois Football just offered a scholarship to a 10 year old

We can't make this one up, folks - word on the street (and on is that Illinois Football has just offered a scholarship to 10 year old Bunchie Young.

Yes, you read that right: 10 years old.

I'm not so sure about this recruiting thing anymore, folks, but apparently he's the fastest 10 year old in the country, for what that's worth.

Watch his full highlight video here, and see the tweet confirming the signing below:



Public Art League unveiling newest sculpture next Tuesday, June 27th

The Public Art League is unveiling their newest sculpture next week — Tuesday, June 27th at 5:30-7 p.m. at Art Mart in Champaign. Here's the info from their email blast:

Join us on Tuesday, June 27 from 5:30p-7:00p at Art Mart as we unveil the sculptures that could make their way to the Champaign-Urbana area this year! Artists from all over the country have submitted their entries and you will get a chance to see the wonderful pieces that have been selected for installation. Hors d’oeuvres Provided. Beer & Wine Available (Cash Bar).

Please RSVP by Friday, June 23 to


Champaign Public Library hosts a teen support program for youth with Type 1 Diabetes

Part support group, part information session, part “how the heck do you find that?!” session, the Teen Support & Information Program seeks to help teens with type 1 diabetes bridge the divide between managing and living with a chronic illness through support and common sense research skills.

The program takes place Monday evenings from 7-8:30 in the Robeson Pavilion Meeting Room A at the Champaign Public Library. While the program has been designed for youth with type 1 diabetes, ALL teens entering in, enrolled in, or leaving high school are welcome! Many of the topics covered are universal and not specific to type 1 diabetes or other chronic illnesses.

Session topics include self-care and social relationships alongside more obvious topics like insurance. Dori Puracchio of Carle Endocrinology has helped advise on the presentation of medical information to make sure any information we provide is factual. You can read more about our team and sessions on the TSIP website.


Habitat for Humanity announces new ReStore hours; free pickup

From the press release: 

Habitat for Humanity ReStore to offer free pickups and new hours

CHAMPAIGN, IL June 23, 2017 —


Habitat for Humanity of Champaign County ReStore will be changing its store hours in July to offer a higher level of customer service to its local shoppers and donors.  Beginning Wednesday, July 5th, the Restore will be open for customer shopping, donation drop-offs & pickups on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 10 – 6 pm and Saturdays from 10 – 4 pm. The ReStore will be closed on Sundays, Mondays, and open to receive donations on Tuesdays from 10-6.  “We are receiving more donations than ever before, and closing the store on Mondays and Tuesdays will give us more time to process donations and provide a better overall shopping experience,” said ReStore Director, Adam Morrisette.  A full staff will still be available on Tuesdays to accept and process community donations at the back door, but the store will not be open for shopping.  Tuesdays, staff and volunteers will be cleaning, organizing, and preparing the store to feature new donations.

The ReStore will also begin FREE pre-scheduled donation pickups; available Tuesday through Saturday by calling the ReStore at 217-359-0507.  “We want to make it easy for the community to donate to Habitat, and want to provide the best possible customer service to our shoppers.  These changes will make it easy to donate and allow our staff opportunities to prepare the ReStore for a great customer shopping experience.” said Morrisette.

Top Drawer, Habitat’s boutique store, will be closing on June 30th.  Items previously featured in Top Drawer will still be available for purchase in the ReStore.

All donations to, and proceeds from the Habitat ReStore are used to support Habitat home building projects in Champaign County.  For more information on the new store hours go to

About Habitat for Humanity of Champaign County

Habitat for Humanity of Champaign County and ReStore is a nonprofit, Christian housing ministry that works both to eliminate poverty housing around the world and to make adequate housing a matter of conscience and action.  Habitat welcomes partners from any faith—or not faith tradition–which are willing to help improve the lives of families needing safe, decent, and affordable housing. To learn more, donate or volunteer to our local efforts, visit


Chester Street Bar has closed

In what is undoubtedly a setback for Champaign-Urbana's cultural landscape, multiple posts on Facebook, and a mention on Mix 94.5 make it official: Chester Street Bar has closed. This is the latest in a string of closures in Champaign that has decimated the local venue scene, leaving fewer and fewer places for live entertainment.

The Midtown establishment, which has been open since 1984, was just announced as the host of some of the events at C-U's Pride Festival for this year, and questions as to why the closure occurred, or what it means for the future of the building, remain unclear.

For more information, check out some Facebook posts below, names redacted: 

Why C-Street remains closed is still a mystery, with some commenters saying it is just for renovations, and others saying that it is permanent. We will update this post as we get more information.


Triptych Brewing announces new, Matrix-inspired beer

Nowadays it's becoming more and more apparent that we're living in a computer simulation. Even Elon Musk thinks that we might.

Point being, Triptych Brewing has unveiled the perfect beer to match these trying times. "Wake Up, Neo..." is a new, double IPA that has some of the best packaging I've ever seen in a beer, clearly inspired by The Matrix. Here's to hoping it tastes just as good.

For more information on how you can get yours, and to see a picture, check out Triptych's Facebook post below:


Help the butterflies at Champaign Park District’s Summer Kick Off this Saturday

This Saturday at Spalding Skate Park in Champaign, the Champaign Park District's horticultural booth will be giving away free butterfly milkweed plants, which are crucial to the continued existence of Illinois' Monarch Butterfly population (which is currently endangered).

Outside of the free plants, the Summer Kick Off will feature live art, popsicles, and much more. For more information, check out the description from the Facebook Event below:

Summer Kick Off at Spalding Skate Park
Saturday, June 24, 12-2pm

Let’s kick off the summer with an art explosion! Bring the whole family and a picnic lunch to watch local artists paint murals on the skate park. Also, enjoy free face painting and inflatables, pollinator plant giveaways, cold treats from The Pop Stop, Inc , and more. Don’t miss this free event at Spalding Park, located by Franklin Middle School on Harris Ave.

Call to artists! We’re looking for people interested in painting murals during this event! If interested, please email Zoe Stinson with a brief summary of your experience:

Seeking Volunteers! Sign up here:


Is the U of I getting a NCAA hockey team?

Now, I'm not one for rampant speculation, but when it comes to University of Illinois athletics, I'm always down for a good fantasy, because more times than not, it's better than reality.

Anyway, word on the street is that Illini AD Josh Whitman is headed to an NHL (National Hockey League) conference in Chicago tomorrow "in support of college hockey."

It sure would be odd for an AD of a Big Ten school that does not field an NCAA hockey team to go to a meeting of the most powerful league in the hockey world and advocate for college hockey, which could lead one to believe that we may see some changes soon at the University of Illinois.

Here's an interesting take on the topic from The Champaign Room, which goes extremely in-depth on the idea of fielding a varsity hockey team at the U of I.