Smile Politely

Five things in arts: June 2023

Collage of 12 artworks in a grid from the Around the Block III exhibition.
Art Around the Block

It’s officially almost summer: the pools are open, it’s way too hot and humid outside, and it’s generally believed that the arts community is quiet for the summer. While it’s true campus events are largely on hold until the fall, you can still find plenty to do to appreciate the arts. This month, there are a few exciting art shows opening — including the return of 40 North/Giertz Gallery’s Art Around the Block series — there are multiple plays happening, dance workshops…there is truly something for everyone. Check out my list below to see my recommendations for five things to do in the arts this month.

Art Around the Block

Art Around the Block, the summer art exhibition hosted at the Giertz Gallery at Parkland College in collaboration with 40 North, is back for its first in-person showing since 2017. This is the fourth installment of the exhibition. Sixty-three works will be on display, selected from the more than one hundred entries they received from artists in the area.

An opening reception will be held on June 8th with remarks by Kelly White, Executive Director of 40 North, and Lisa Costello, Director of Giertz Gallery. The show’s closing reception will take place on July 26th, and will feature a gallery talk by the guest juror for the show, Christopher Schneberger, Assistant Professor of Photography and Gallery Director at Vincennes University in Indiana.

Art Around the Block
Giertz Gallery at Parkland College
2400 W Bradley
June 5-July 26
M-Th 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

A side by side collage of two pieces by Robb Springfield. Stilt houses are painted on a large chunk of red on top of an Illinois map
Robb Springfield on Facebook

Robb Springfield: Home  

This month will see another new art exhibit at the Champaign County History Museum. For the month of June, you can check out artist Robb Springfield’s exhibit “Home.” Springfield developed this exhibit, which explores the theme of home, after his father’s death. A trained graphic designer, Springfield uses maps of Illinois in his art, and says of his creations that “the stilt houses place the connection of family and home out of close physical reach, but still easily visible to the viewer.”

Robb Springfield: Home
Champaign County History Museum
102 E University Ave
Closing Reception June 29th, 5 to 7 p.m.

The Station Theatre
The Station Theatre on Facebook

The Absentee

The Station Theatre is putting on The Absentee this month, directed by Christiana Molldrem Harkulich. The play, set in outer space, follows the Operator of a space ship who finds herself alone in space after an explosion, with only her ship’s A.I. as a companion. Things change when a persistent canvasser contacts her to vote absentee in the 2088 election. The play will run from June 15th to 25th.

The Absentee
The Station Theatre
223 N Broadway Ave
June 15-25
Th-Sa 7:30 p.m.
Su 3 p.m.

A group of dancers dance salsa at Urbana Dance Company. The room is dark with red and pink lighting
The Urbana Dance Company on Facebook

Salsa and Bachata Workshops at the Urbana Dance Company

The Urbana Dance Company is hosting a Salsa and Bachata workshop on June 24th and 25th. The workshops will be led by professional dancer Cinnamon Trammell, and are well suited for both beginners and more advanced dancers. Each day of the workshop will run three hours, with hour one focusing on basic instruction, hour two focusing on more advanced moves, and hour three for questions and answers. Salsa will be the focus on Saturday, with Bachata on Sunday. Registration is not required; you can show up if the mood strikes.

Salsa and Bachata Workshops
The Urbana Dance Company
122 W Main St
June 24-25
2 to 5 p.m.
$16 per hour, $40 per day, or $60 both days
Registration not required

A stack of books sitting on a porch next to two large flowers. The books are :Truth Truth Lie, Beach Read, Stone Blind, Period, and The Thursday Murder Club
Serenity Stanton Orengo

Grab a book and head outside

Summer is the perfect time to catch up on all that reading you’ve been neglecting all year. Relax by the pool or at the park, or like me: in the comfort of your air conditioning at home, and take a moment to finally enjoy that thriller (or romance, or fantasy, or biography) that’s been sitting on your shelf for months. Don’t have a stack of unread books already? Not a problem. Check some out from the library — you can even join their reading challenge which is open to adults as well as kids — or buy a new or old favorite from Jane Adams or The Literary.

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