Submit to the SPlog! +

The Art Theater ownership approves merger, will become charitable non-profit

After announcing that the Art Theater would attempt to merge with the Art Film Foundation, they've announced that it has been approved at a very high clip by ownership.

From the press release:

Champaign, IL – May 24, 2017 – After a twenty-day voting period, the cooperative owners of the Art Theater have approved a merger with the Art Film Foundation (AFF). Owners overwhelming approved the merger, with 97% of the voting ownership pool approving.

The merger will dissolve cooperative ownership, bringing the Art into the fold of the AFF and conferring onto the Theater tax-exempt charitable status. The Art’s programming, staff, membership program, and daily operations will remain unchanged, but it will now be legally capable of soliciting tax-deductible funding from individuals, businesses, local and state foundations, and national non-profit arts funding organizations.

“The Board and I are very excited for the merger,” says Austin McCann, the Theater’s General Manager. “The Art has always found innovative ways to remain vital the Champaign-Urbana community. I’m very thankful for the owner’s support for the merger and their dedication to the positive transformations that make the Art such a crucial cultural space.”

The Art Film Foundation (AFF) is a Champaign-based 501(c) 3) tax-exempt charity founded in 2015 whose mission is to promote culture and education through film and cinema. Post-merger, the current Art Theater Board of Directors will be appointed to the Board of the AFF. “Merging the two Board’s together ensures stable leadership during the transition and provides a continued focus on incorporating community voices into the leadership of the Theater” says Leigh Estabrook, the current President of the Art Theater Board of Directors.

“I’ve been involved with the Art Theater for six years, and one of the most notable things about the Art and its supporters is its willingness to embrace change for the better,” says Alicia Kozma, an Art Theater Board Member. “The most consistent response we’ve had from cooperative owners regarding the transition discussion is their willingness to put the collective interest of the Theater over individual ones. The Art is certainly what it is today due to the dedication of the community that supports it.”

While the Art has made initial inroads in raising donations—most notably through the Kickstarter project to repair the marquee, its membership program, and the Smart Kids summer programming series—the move to 501(c)(3) status opens many funding venues previously closed to the Theater. McCann notes, “The ability to fundraise tax-deductible donation and grants gives the Theater a whole new set of opportunities to move into the future in really new and exciting ways.”

The following individuals are available for interviews: Leigh Estabrook, Art Theater Board President (; Alicia Kozma, Art Theater Board Member ( 


Leigh Estabrook, President

The Art Theater Co-op

126 W. Church Street

Champaign, IL




PechaKucha Night C-U, Vol. 24 announces speaker lineup

Back in April, PechaKucha Night Champaign-Urbana announced their 24th volume, taking place on June 10th at Krannert Center. They have now provided info about the speakers that will be participating.

From the press release: 

Join us Saturday, June 10th at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts for another compelling evening of idea sharing and storytelling!

First devised by a pair of Tokyo architects in 2003, PechaKucha Nights have become international phenomena that use a simple concept to create big community exchanges. Presenters have 20 images and 20 seconds per image to share their ideas, works, and passions for a total of 6 minutes and 40 seconds flat.

Saturday, June 10, 2017
Krannert Center for the Performing Arts
Doors open at 7:45 pm, show at 8:20 pm
Admission: FREE!
Music by DJ Mertz
Possible Mature Content, 18+ recommended

Get ready for nine thought-provoking presentations:
Mandy Danowitz | Use as Directed
Jared Fritz | Wedding Toast for Dummies
Sanford Hess | The CU Hack Night Needs YOU
Dave Hensleigh | Walk Across Juarez
Meagan Glaser | Food History: Recreated and Reheated
Paul Min | You Cray Cray, Said My Dad.
Tim Montague | Why Solar Power is Going to Explode in Illinois
Mallory Morris | One People’s Summer Arts Camp!
Kristina Reese | This is Your Brain on Meditation

...and starring William Anthony Sebastian Rose II as our emcee for the night!

Let your friends know you are coming by RSVPing on Facebook!

For additional info, or if interested in presenting at a future PechaKucha Night Champaign-Urbana, visit

Check out the global website to get a sense of the magnitude of the event as well as our city page,

Follow us on Twitter: @pechakuchaCU
Become a fan on Facebook:
For more information about CUDO visit

Photo from their newsletter.


Tara Terra release new single and video

C-U natives Tara Terra have released a new single and a video to go with it. The video for “Feel Better” is the band’s very first. It features light and fun cartoon animation backed by a simple message of positivity. This is in theme with the band’s general disposition, which is manifested often by bubbly pop-rock music that functions as a response to darker, more serious themes. A lot of their music focuses on healing, so “Feel Better” sums up their attitude well.

Directed by Holiday Kirk, “Feel Better” is the second single to be released from the band’s upcoming LP, Where’s Your Light?, which is their second full-length release and comes out on May 31st. Stream the video below.


City of Champaign and SBDC win Roger Luman Program Excellence Award

It is no doubt that Champaign seeks to foster small businesses, from a personal standpoint and from a governmental standpoint, and today, they've won an award for just that.

The City of Champaign and the Illinois Small Business Development Center at the Champaign Count Economic Development Center have been awarded for their continued efforts to make small businesses viable for entrepreneurs.

For more information, check out the press release below:

SBDC and City of Champaign Win Program Excellence Award

CHAMPAIGN, IL, May 23, 2017 – At the end of the 2017 Illinois Entrepreneurship and Small Business Growth Association (IESBGA) Conference, held May 17-19 in Champaign, the Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Champaign County EDC was awarded the Roger Luman Program Excellence Award.

The award recognizes the City of Champaign’s Small Business Incentive Program, a collaborative effort by the City of Champaign and SBDC to target new and existing small businesses by offering financial assistance for legal, financial, marketing, and training expenses.

As of May 19, 2017, more than thirty SBDC clients have enrolled in the Small Business Incentive Program and the City of Champaign has committed up to $230,000 in matching and educational grant funding to these clients. These businesses provide important benefits to the community in such industries as retail, foodservice, healthcare, contracting, professional services, information technology, and agricultural technology, among others.

“We’re honored to receive this award,” said Don Elmore, Director of the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Champaign County EDC. “I want to thank Bruce Knight, T.J. Blakeman, and Tina Ansong in Champaign’s Planning and Development Department for their roles in developing this program, as well as the Champaign City Council for recognizing the value of providing key financial support to emerging and existing small businesses.”

Bruce Knight, the City’s Planning and Development Director thanked the awards committee, stating “the Champaign City Council has a goal to promote economic opportunity and provide support for small businesses, and it would not have been possible to achieve that without our collaboration with the SBDC at Champaign County EDC. We want our community to be one that is inviting for entrepreneurs and accommodating to new small businesses and we very much appreciate being recognized for our collective efforts to support small businesses starting on the right path.”

The greatest benefits of the Small Business Incentive Program are connecting new and existing businesses in Champaign to the services provided by the SBDC and providing financial assistance to allow these businesses to use critical professional services they may otherwise believe they cannot afford. While the program does not limit participation to underserved members of the community, the location- and income-based incentives provide even more benefits to this group. This is an important benefit to both the City of Champaign and the SBDC.

About the Roger Luman Program Excellence Awards:

The Roger Luman Program Excellence Awards were created to recognize outstanding, innovative and best practices in the programs and services offered by member centers. These awards recognize specific programs developed by centers to meet a particular identified need and not the overall program or services offered by a center. It is intended that this awards program will facilitate the sharing of information regarding these programs with other IESBGA members resulting in their replication, and will be used to promote the excellence of Illinois small business assistance programs to small businesses and to similar small business assistance programs administered in other states.

The award is named in honor of Roger Luman who was the Managing Director of the Turner Center for Entrepreneurship in the Foster College of Business Administration at Bradley University. As a founding member of IESBGA, he coordinated the Program Excellence Awards for many years. The award looks to recognize those organizations that embody Mr. Luman’s dedication to supporting small businesses in their communities. Learn more at

About the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Champaign County EDC:

The Illinois Small Business Development Center at Champaign County EDC is part of America’s Small Business Development Center Network, the most comprehensive small business assistance network in the United States, and provides information, confidential business guidance, training and other resources to start-up and existing small businesses.

The Illinois Small Business Development Center at Champaign County EDC is funded through a cooperative agreement between the U.S. Small Business Administration, Illinois Department of Commerce, and the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation; with additional support provided by EDC of Decatur and Macon County and the Midwest Inland Port. Learn more at


Common Ground to host monthly Wellness Wednesdays through the end of 2017

If you have an interest in personal care and wellness, Common Ground Food Co-op in Urbana has a new monthly event for you. Every month until the end of 2017, they will have one day (the final Wednesday of that month) where they will offer 10% off of all personal care and wellness items. 

The May edition kicks off next Wednesday, May 31st, and you can RSVP on Facebook here. To find the full schedule, check out Common Ground's Facebook Event section here.


Check out the curriculum for First Federal’s Sprouts at the Market 2017 season

First Federal Savings Bank is teaming up with Urbana's Market at the Square again this year for their annual Sprouts at the Market series, where they provide an opportunity for kids aged 3-8 to try a variety of fresh foods as they traverse through the Saturday market.

Sprouts at the Market will take place once a month for the duration of Urbana's Market at the Square. To find the full curriculum, check out the schedule and descriptions below, via Market at the Square's website:


May 20, 2017: From Seed to the Stem
Learn about a plant’s growing cycle, plant seeds to start your own garden, and sample parts of plants you may never have thought to eat!

June 17, 2017: Know your Farmers, Know your Food
Learn the benefits of local food versus food that has traveled a long distance and sample food grown right here in Illinois.

July 15, 2017: Sprouts Shop the Market
Kids will get to decorate a tote bag and get a $2 voucher to use that day to shop for their very own fruit/vegetable item at the farmers market.

August 19, 2017: Sprouts Explore the Senses
Learn about the five senses and take them on tour of the fresh produce available at the farmers market.

September 16, 2017: Great Sprouts Exploration?
What is round, red, and people think I’m a vegetable but I’m really a fruit? Explore the market to find all of the clues to help you solve various puzzles just like this one! Children will receive a prize for completing the Great Sprouts Exploration.

October 21, 2017: Sprouts Food Science Lab at the Market
There is a lot of science behind farming and our Sprouts are going to learn all about it as they take part in three experiments using food! This is one chance when we strongly encourage children to play with their food!

Sprouts at the Market was a program developed with the help of Jennifer Hewitt and former Market Director Lisa Bralts. The program curriculum is now developed by local registered dieticians Ginger Reeser and Alex Lundquist, in collaboration with current Market Director Natalie Kenny Marquez.

For more information please contact the Market Staff.


40 North releases newest Artist at Work feature on EKAH

40 North has released a series of videos highlighting local artists in the Champaign-Urbana area over the course of the last few years, and they've just released their most recent installment.

Read a little bit about EKAH, and watch the video below:

EKAH was born in Seoul, South Korea and grew up in New York City. She studied Communication Design at Parsons School of Design in New York City and Paris, with a background in fine arts foundation. After college, she worked as a graphic designer and art director for advertising agencies in New York City. Her interest in 3D/CG led to eventually working in broadcast animation and video games. She has worked with clients such as Jim Henson Productions and Mattel Interactive. EKAH has since lived in France, San Francisco Bay Area, Orlando, and Montreal, Canada. She currently lives in Mahomet, Illinois with the most supportive spouse and two cats.


Two-part event and fundraiser being held in memory of Matthew Farrell

On Saturday June 10th, the community will be gathering to celebrate the life and legacy of Matthew Farrell, a supporter of the Arts, Education, and C-U community. A two-part event and fundraiser will take place to continue to support the causes that meant so much to him, and to celebrate with those who were brought together through his passions.  

Read on for more information on the events, and how you can donate to the cause:

In memory of our dear friend, Matthew C. Farrell, who was a long time supporter of the Arts, Education, and the Champaign-Urbana community, a two part event has been organized to take place June 10th, 2017.

There will be a family-friendly gathering at Blair Park (1406 S. Broadway) in Urbana, from 2PM-4PM. with a 3PM unveiling of a permanent memorial within the park. Please join us to reunite, share memories, and celebrate Matt and the park he loved.

The evening event will take place at Sipyard (204 W. Main) from 6PM-10PM.  DJ Belly (Kevin Miller) will be spinning tunes throughout the night that pay tribute to all the music that Matt loved. At this time, we will be raising funds for The Matthew C. Farrell Memorial Fund via $1 proceeds from each drink purchased during the event and proceeds from a silent auction.  In addition, there will be an ipad setup for those who wish to donate any amount, large or small, to the the Memorial fund directly.

The Matthew C. Farrell Memorial Fund is a scholarship in Matt’s name that’s mission is to give a graduating UHS student who plans to study the Arts, a full ride to Parkland College. The scholarship will be further supported outside of this fundraiser and online donations by way of an annual 5k in Urbana set to take place the first weekend of June 2018.

The scholarship was inspired by Matt’s love for the Urbana-Champaign community and his experiences within the community, including his Art Education at Parkland, which proved to be a pivotal experience for him.  Moreover, he had a passion for running and strived daily to live a healthier lifestyle.  He brought people together through his interests and will continue to do so for years to come. 

A special thanks to the Urbana Park District for appreciating the importance of this memorial and taking special steps to ensure its timely placement. Also, thank you to Matt Cho of Sipyard and Sipyard Staff for contributing their time, space, and a generous donation from the evening’s bar earnings.

We hope to see as many people as possible at either or both of the day’s events.  Spread the word by mouth, email, social media, etc.

THANK YOU in advance to all who plan to attend and support the legacy of an amazing artist, brother, and friend to many.

Here are links to the Facebook event page as well as the Memorial Fund website.


Big Grove Tavern hosting Patio Bash this coming Monday

This coming Monday is Memorial Day, and to celebrate, Big Grove Tavern will be hosting a "Patio Bash," including typical Sunday brunch favorites (on a Monday!) and brats, grilled up outside on BGT's Downtown Champaign patio.

For more information, check out the flier and specials (via Big Grove themselves) below:

Kitchen Specials

- Breakfast Burrito with Carne Asada
- Arend Family Farms Brauts
- Our custom Burgers
- Our expanded Benedict menu

Bar Specials

- BGT mimosa bar
- Margarita specials
- Our House Local Light Beer

Doors open at 10am. We have expanded our patio for 2017 and look forward to a great summer!