Smile Politely

Five things in arts: July 2023

Wide view of the Illini Art Gallery featuring Jenny Chi's exhibition
Serenity Stanton Orengo

We may already be fully into the month of July, but there is still plenty to do in the remaining weeks when it comes to the arts. Whether you want to embrace the heat in the great outdoors, or spend some time taking in art with the benefit of AC, I have plenty of options for you. Check out the list below for five things to do in arts this month.

Heloise and Abelard by Jenny Chi. A collection of four paintings. On the left and right are tall vertical paintings. In the center top is a square painting, center bottom is a short rectangular painting. All are classical paintings. Left painting is a close up of a table covered in a red decorative cloth. Sitting atop is a leather book, inkwell, and varius other objects. The right painting features the other side of the same table with a skull. The top painting features two people, each visible depending which way you approach the work. The bottom is a still life of lemons.
Jenny Chi, Heloise and Abelard, oil on wood; photograph by Serenity Stanton Orengo

Ars Longa, Vita Brevis: Exhibition of Works by Jenny Chi

There is a new art exhibit at the Illini Union Art Gallery. Ars Longa, Vita Brevis (Latin for “art is long, life is short”) is a show by Eastern Illinois Professor and Urbana resident Jenny Chi. Chi’s paintings are classical and absolutely stunning; she describes her style as “reminiscent of the old masters, conducting a personal, sometimes rather sly dialogue with the Italian Renaissance in particular.” You can read my interview with Chi and a review of the show later this week.

Ars Longa, Vita Brevis: Exhibition of Works by Jenny Chi
Illini Union Art Gallery
1401 W Green St
Through July 28th
Open daily, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Art Around the Block gallery shot. On the far wall are six paintings. A duo of face sculptures sit on a large square white pedestal in the foreground.
Serenity Stanton Orengo

Art Around the Block Lectures  

I recently reviewed the Art Around the Block exhibition, which is still going on through July 26th. You now have the opportunity to hear some of the artists discuss their work at two lectures taking place this month. On Wednesday July 12th, Natalie Troyer, Robert Chapman, Christopher Reme, and Lynn Hawkinson Smith will be discussing their work. The second lecture will take place on Wednesday July 19th and feature artists Sandra Hynds, Sara Jahn, Billie Theide, and Nathan Westerman. The artists speaking represent a variety of art forms: Chapman works with handmade paper to create portraits; Reme is a digital artist focusing on heroes and villains; Hawkinson Smith works with graphite and colored pencils; and Troyer works with printmaking. Each artist will speak for approximately ten minutes, and there will be time for Q+A. Light refreshments will be served. The lectures are free and open to the public.

Art Around the Block Lectures
Giertz Gallery at Parkland College, room C118
2400 W Bradley
June 12 + 19
12 p.m.

an abstract poster; the background features vertical intertwining lines in yellow and pastels; an outline of Caesar is in the foreground. Text reads Shakespeare on Tour
Starling Shakespeare Company on Facebook

Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar + Stage Combat Workshop

The Urbana Arts and Culture Program is hosting an outdoor production of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. The performance will be staged by the Starling Shakespeare Company, a traveling group of five performers. This performance of Shakespeare’s political-intrigue play based on the infamous ancient Roman ruler will be “a fast-paced, playful, and nimble interpretation of the Bard’s classic play.” The performance will last 90 minutes, with a stage combat workshop taking place beforehand. In the event of rain, the play will be moved to the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center.

Julius Caesar
The Boneyard Creek
(next to 208 W Griggs St)
July 21st
Combat workshop 5 p.m., Show 6:30 p.m.
Free, but reserve your tickets online

A close up shot of pair of swing dancers, a white man in a white dress shirt and tie dances on the left with his hand holding the hand of a white woman in a black dress. More dancers are visible in the background.
Illini Swing Society on Facebook

Lindy Hoppers at Hamilton Walker’s

The Summer series of Lindy Hoppers at Hamilton Walker’s is continuing this month. The events are hosted by the Illini Swing Society, a group of social swing dancers. Lindy Hop originally developed in Harlem in the 1920s, and is a partner dance based on jazz, tap, breakaway, and Charleston. If you have been thinking of trying something new, this is a great date night activity or way to meet new people. The event is free, but attendees are encouraged to purchase food or drinks to help support the event.

Lindy Hop at Hamilton Walker’s
Hamilton Walker’s
201 N Neil St
July 23rd
7 to 9 p.m.

A mural at Champaign Urbana Public Health District by Jose Vazquez. It features 11 different people, all painted among and the colors of monarch butterflies.
Experience Champaign-Urbana on Facebook

Check out some public art

We are fortunate to have so much great public art in Champaign-Urbana. July is the perfect time to head outside and check out some of the new additions. There’s a stunning new mural at the Champaign Urbana Public Health District. (Be on the lookout for my interview with artist Jose Vazquez!). There’s another new mural going up on the U of I campus by artist Joe Miller. Wandell Sculpture Garden at Meadowbrook Park has added more new sculptures in commemoration of its 25th anniversary. As you explore, let us know what you find. What’s your favorite mural or public art in C-U?

More Articles