Smile Politely

Five things in arts: June 2024

A colorful acrylic and colored pencil abstract painting includes shapes in red, orange, blue on textured canvas
© Lisa Kesler, Untitled, acrylic and colored pencil on canvas, 2024; Photo provided by Lisa Kesler

Ahhh. June. If you’re a student, a teacher, or in the family circle of most school-aged students, early June feels a bit like one big month-long Friday afternoon. Time to relax. Take a breath. Take time for sitting on your porch or patio to read a book and sip some lemonade. Whether you’re at the beginning of summer break or busy closing out a fiscal year, June offers a plethora of opportunities in the area to enjoy live theatre, readings, art exhibits, and so much more. As always, keep an eye open for all of the happenings at Downtown Champaign’s The Literary; and in Urbana, Gallery Art Bar offers open mics and workshops weekly. Below is a partial list of events I’m hoping to catch this month. Stay tuned for more happenings in SPlogs and weekenders.

Textures, a group art show at Urbana’s Art Coop

Artists Carol Alison, Lisa Kesler, and Cindy Sampson will be on hand to celebrate the opening of their show, Textures, at the Art Coop. The reception is Saturday, June 8th, but the show runs through June 25th. While you’re at our beloved Art Coop, you can pick up some cool fountain pens, ink, paints, gifts, drawing supplies, canvas, fun paper…oh wait. My bad. That’s me talking to my craft-supply-addicted-self. The Art Coop has a cool gallery inside the store in Lincoln Square Mall. And it’s on a Saturday so, obviously, this would be a great day to spend all day in lovely downtown Urbana.

Textures, Opening Reception 
Art Coop at Lincoln Square Mall
Sa June 8th, 2 to 5 p.m.
Free [but you know you’re going to buy cool stuff]

Harvey at the Virginia Theatre

One of my favorite films at the Virginia in June? Yes, please. Jimmy Stewart stars as a middle-aged man whose invisible friend, one six foot-tall rabbit named Harvey, may just be more real than his concerned circle of friends and family. Stewart shines in this 1950 film adaptation of Mary Chase’s Pulitzer Prize winning play. But it’s Josephine Hull’s Oscar-winning (supporting actress) performance as Stewart’s older sister Veta that gives the film its incomparable charm.

Harvey (1950)
Virginia Theatre
203 W Park Ave
Sa June 15th
Two shows: 1 p.m. + 7 p.m.

A white woman with glasses smiles at the camera; she is backstage with a ladder and stage equipment around her.
Director Chandra Galloway; Photo by Amy Penne

Twin City presents: The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon

Champaign-Urbana is swimming in theatrical talent. This month, Twin City Theatre Company presents The Stars of Tomorrow in Don Zolidis’ rollicking play about fairy tale characters and the stories they inhabit. Directed by the mega-talented Chandra Galloway, this show is sure to be a fun ride. Recommended for ages 10+.

The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon
Second Stage, Parkland College
2400 W Bradley Ave
Fri & Sa June 21st, 22nd, 28th + 29th, 7 p.m.
Su June 23rd & 30th, 2 p.m.

A Black woman in a white blouse looks at the camera.
Jessica Lynne; Krannert Art Museum website

Krannert Art Museum hosts writer Jessica Lynne

I am over-the-moon excited that Jessica Lynne (pictured in featured photo) is coming to town this month to read from her essay collection in progress. Art critic, podcaster, and associate editor at Momus, Lynne will be reading from her work which blends art criticism and memoir as she considers how “love—in all its forms—has shaped her life as a Black Southerner.” Her reading will be followed by a conversation with Jen Everett and Blair Ebony Smith.

That Which We Are Still Learning To Name: A Reading with Jessica Lynne
Krannert Art Museum
500 E Peabody
Sa June 22nd, 1 to 2 p.m.
Also virtual on Zoom

Four young women rehearse a play in a classroom setting with chairs and a whiteboard in the background.
This Girl Laughs in rehearsal; Photo provided by Jacki Loewenstein

The Station Theatre presents: This Girl Laughs, This Girl Cries, This Girl Says Nothing

Playwright Finegan Kruckemeyer was born in Ireland, but has lived most of his life in Australia (between Adelaide and the island state of Tasmania) and is committed to telling stories for and about children because he “acknowledges children as astute audience members outside the play, and worthy subjects within.” The Station Theatre presents this delightful fairy tale journey of three girls left in the forest by their woodcutter father and the paths they take to meet again. The play is recommended for ages 5+. 

This Girl Laughs, This Girl Cries, This Girl Says Nothing
The Station Theatre
223 N Broadway Ave
June 20-30

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