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UPDATED: The Art Theater launches Kickstarter to save their marquee

The historic Art Theater in Downtown Champaign is facing a serious challenge with their marquee, and they could use your help. The co-op has announced the launch of a Kickstarter campaign to help save the marquee, and the City of Champaign will be matching. Check out the press release:


The Art Theater Co-op Launches the SAVE OUR MARQUEE Campaign 

Champaign, IL – March 6, 2016 – For 104 years the Art Theater has been a fixture in the cultural life of Champaign-Urbana. But 104 years can really take a toll on a building! Over the past two years the Art has been making improvements to our space to provide our community with the best possible theater experience and to ensure our building truly reflects the the vital role the theater plays in the cultural life of Champaign-Urbana.

One of the Art’s biggest challenges has been our damaged and failing marquee. The literal face of the theater, our marquee should be a beacon for downtown Champaign, its growth, and the role the Art plays in all of our lives. But right now, it’s a sad shell of its former self. Damage from being hit by a semi-truck (!), failing electrical sockets, and broken neon lines put the cost of fixing it at $20,000, making the marquee project impossible—UNTIL NOW! 

The City of Champaign’s downtown improvement project has pledged $10,000 to fix the theater’s marquee. The catch is: we can only access that money if we can match it. That is where the Champaign-Urbana community comes in!

Pledge to support the Art’s SAVE OUR MARQUEE challenge campaign today and the City of Champaign will match every pledge, dollar for dollar, up to $10,000!

If the marquee isn't fixed, it will continue to deteriorate until it becomes unusable. Please, make your pledge today! We must reach our goal of $10,000 by March 8th. If we don’t, we can’t access ANY of the matching funds.

Any pledge today is just that, a pledge; until we reach our goal of $10,000 by March 8th no charges will be applied. You can pledge today at our Kickstarter page here:

The much-needed repairs to the Art’s marquee will go a long way in matching the Art’s aesthetic with its neighbors and contributing greatly to the economic and artistic improvement of downtown Champaign. Please help us spread the word about the unique and time-sensitive campaign by sharing it with your networks!


Alicia Kozma

The Art Theater Co-op

126 W. Church Street

Champaign, IL

Top photo from the Art Theater's Kickstarter page.

UPDATE: The campaign was funded in pretty much no time at all — check out the message from the Art Theater (PS):

We are beyond thrilled to announce that the our campaign has reached its goal in just 2 days!

The response from the community has been overwhelming. We can't tell you how touched we are by you committement to, and love for, the Art. The theater will always be here for the Champaign-Urbana community, and we know you will always be here for us. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.

Based on the response we have decided to keep the campaign open for the remainder of its 30-day life. Any funds raised above our goal will be put into a theater improvement fund. Our historic building never stops giving us things to fix, replace, or renovate! This can range from replacing the carpet in our lobby, fixing the broken curtains in the theater, updating our bathrooms, and making sure we have the necessary funds to make repairs when they pop up (you'd probably be unsurprised to know how often our toilets, installed in the 1940s, need some TLC).
For those of you who have already pledged your support, your donation will not be charged to your credit card until the end of the campaign. And, of course, we will continue to keep you updated on the project's progress.

With deepest gratitude,

Your friends at the Art Theater Co-op


12th annual Edible Book Festival date announced

The 12th Annual Edible Book Festival will take place Saturday, April 1st at 11:30 a.m. at Common Ground Food Co-op. This whimsical, fun, and endearing event features edible illustrations of popular books. These often take the form of a cake, but in years past I've seen chili, cornbread, cookies, veggies, and pies. 

You can check out the last two events here and here.

Interested in participating? Get in touch with organizers through Facebook

"Tequila Mockingbird" from 2015; photo by Jessica Hammie. 


Human Library seeking volunteers as “books” for April 9th event

Human Library is a fairly new event taking place in Champaign-Urbana — launched for the first time here back in September at the Pygmalion Festival. They have put together another rendition, which takes place Sunday, April 2nd 9th at Champaign Public Library. You can participate as a "book" — and here's how:

Volunteer books are individuals from all walks of life who have experienced discrimination/marginalization based upon race, religion, sexual preference, class, gender identity, sex, age, lifestyle choices, disability and other aspects of their life and who want to share their experiences to promote knowledge and challenge stigma surrounding their identity.

The Human Library provides the opportunity for the community to share and understand the experiences of others in their community. During a Human Library event, a ‘reader’ (any member of the community) browses our catalog and decides to have a conversation with a book. Our books and readers consistently have a great time participating in Human Library events. Volunteers have said that they gain insight into their own stories and experiences by listening to the questions of readers. They also find connections in unexpected places- through readers that enjoy sharing their stories as much as our books, through finding that there is more acceptance after the interaction, and through the mutual understanding of being human beyond a single identity. Furthermore, our volunteers meet other volunteers from all different backgrounds and forge friendships.

Please fill out this application, and we will be in touch with you about next steps! If you have any questions, please email us at

Photo from Human Library's Facebook page.

An earlier version of this SPlog was posted with the incorrect date, which has been updated.


Market at the Square accepting applications for 2017 season

It's not quite warm enough yet to enjoy yourself outside, but Market at the Square is coming soon, which means that the warm weather must at least be on the horizon, right? Too soon?

Today, Urbana's farmers' market has announced that they are now accepting applications for the 2017 iteration of their Market at the Square. For more information, check out the press release below:

Urbana’s Market at the Square Accepting Applications for 2017 Season

Urbana’s Market at the Square is now accepting applications to participate as a vendor or community group during the 2017 season.  The season will run every Saturday, May 6 through November 4, and is located at the corner of Illinois and Vine Streets near downtown Urbana.  The Market will be open 7 a.m. – noon, rain or shine. Urbana’s Market has been a mainstay of Saturday morning activities since 1979 and is home to an average of 80 vendors and over 3,500 visitors every week.

Applications and rules and regulations for prospective vendors as well as community groups are handled online at

For more information on Urbana’s Market at the Square, visit the Market’s website at, call 217/384-2319, or email


The Virginia Theatre to show Spike Lee films February 13th through 18th

To start off 2017 right, the good people over at The Virginia Theatre and the Champaign Park District will be showing The Films of Spike Lee from February 13th through the 18th. 

Tickets are only $5 each, or $10 for all three films - a steal by 2017 standards.

For tickets, click over The Virginia's website, and for more information, check out what they had to say here:

Spike Lee’s visit to the Virginia Theatre – celebrating the 25th anniversary of Do the Right Thing – was a highlight of the 2014 Ebertfest, and we wanted to shine a light on some of his other films. Three of Spike Lee’s most critically acclaimed films are presented this February in a week-long series. Lee has received two Academy Award nominations, a Student Academy Award and an Academy Honorary Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and won numerous other awards.

February 13-14 - School Daze (1988)

Rated R (121 min)

Much of School Daze is based on director Spike Lee’s experiences while a student at Morehouse College in Atlanta. Laurence Fishburne plays what amounts to Lee’s alter ego: a serious, self-involved student who tilts at such windmills as an insensitive administration and a deeply entrenched, social-climbing fraternity/sorority system.

February 15-16 - Clockers (1995)

Rated R (128 min)

Set in New York City, Clockers tells the story of Strike (Phifer), a street-level drug dealer who becomes entangled in a murder investigation.  The film stars Harvey Keitel, John Turturro, Delroy Lindo, and Mekhi Phifer in his debut film role.

February 17-18 - Malcolm X (1992)

Rated PG-13 (202 min)

Biographical epic of the controversial and influential Black Nationalist leader, from his early life and career as a small-time gangster, to his ministry as a member of the Nation of Islam.  Starring: Denzel Washington (as Malcolm X) and Angela Bassett.


EdCampCU happening this Saturday

This Saturday from 10:30 AM to 4:00 PM, EdCampCU, an event catered around community engagement with education and educational innovation, will be coming to the University of Illinois. All community members, not just the educational wonks among us, are invited.

The event will be held at the University of Illinois' College of Education and is free for all. All you have to do is register here. 

For more information on EdCampCU, check out this, from their website, and read their general info here:

Who should come to EdCampCU?

EdCampCU is a place for anyone who is interested in talking about education and ed innovation in Champaign Urbana. We welcome teachers, pre-service teachers, administrators, community members, university students and faculty, and middle/high school students. ​EdCampCU is free professional development for you, by you.