Smile Politely

Five things in arts this month: July 2021

The heat and humidity are rising and so are the number of in-person outdoor arts experiences to enjoy. Invite your friends on a walk through the Urbana Amble garden and art tour. Catch a pop-up shop at the cool new Rec Club. Take another walk through the Great ARTdoors installations. Or stay in the A/C listen to an artists’ talk from the Giertz Gallery’s Around the Block III virtual exhibition, or watch a video recap of Boneyard Arts Festival 2021. Stay cool. Stay hydrated. And get inspired. 

Artist talk by Sarah Marjanovic and Catherine Wiesener

Photos of porcelain work by Catherine Wiesener and multi-media work by Sarah Marjanovic. Image from the Giertz Gallery Facebook page.

Image from the Giertz Gallery Facebook page.

The summer-long Around the Block III exhibition, sponsored by Parkland College’s Giertz Gallery, is a celebration of Champaign County artists. And though the exhibition and its scheduled artists talks remain online, it still serves to elevate the work of local artists by offering them a top-notch installation space and the opportunity to share their methods and messages with an audience of art students and community art fans alike.

This month’s artist talk features two artists you’ll definitely want to meet. Both are highly skilled, well-versed in their forms and unique in their methods, materials, and meaning making.    

Sarah Marjanovic, a “multifaceted visual artist,” who produces “evocative earthy abstractions through a unique process of drawing with thread, collaging, and allowing paint to flow unhindered upon paper.”  Marjanovic is inspired by her longtime experience “working in restoration of natural communities (prairies, forests, and wetlands).”  

You may know sculptor and ceramicist Catherine Wiesener as a member of the University of Illinois Fine and Applied Arts faculty, but this is a chance to explore Weisener’s latest work in porcelain. Inspired by “exploring what the material can do,” she is also motivated to find “creative collaborations between the community and her students.”  

Artist talk by Sarah Marjanovic and Catherine Wiesener
Sponsored by Giertz Gallery at Parkland College
July 14th, 6 p.m., online and free
Find out more or register now

Pop-up art show at the Recreation Club

Pastel colored poster for July 17th and 18th pop-up art market at the Recreation Club. Image from the Recreation Club Facebook page.

Image from the Recreation Club Facebook page.

If you missed their grand opening during June’s Boneyard Arts Festival weekend, now’s your chance to check it out. The brainchild of artists Carly Benjamin and Carli Upchurch, The Rec Club promises to be arts the destination downtown Champaign has desperately needs. This woman-owned, woman-operated collective is currently offering pop-up markets on a regular basis. So go, enjoy the space, meet the Carlies, and buy some art. And if you’re a maker, find out how you can get involved. 

Pop-up art show at the Recreation Club
117 N Market St, downtown Champaign (behind Fleurish)
July 16th & 17th, 4 to 8 p.m., free
Learn more about the Recreation Club here

Urbana Amble

Green and gold background with Urbana Amble details in white text. age from the Urbana Amble Facebook page.

Image from the Urbana Amble Facebook page.

When the power of art combines with the power of community engagement the result is far greater than the sum of its parts. The Urbana Amble is a fine example of this alchemy at work. Champaign-Urbana gardeners have offered their cultivated greenspaces as outdoor gallery spaces for participating artists. Just think of it as beauty squared. 

Stay tuned to the Facebook page linked below for the final tour map. And don’t skip the list of dos and don’ts. Be open. Be inspired. And be considerate of the work, the spaces, and those who created them. 

“An awareness-raising campaign and fundraiser for Solidarity Gardens C-U,” this collaborative community-wide project seeks to reduce “food insecurity by turning land into gardens one square foot at a time.”

Urbana Amble 
A garden and art tour
July 17th & 18th
Get more info here

Cinema & Sound  

Photo of downtown Urbana will text details of the July 28th Cinema & Sound event. Image from the Urbana Arts & Culture Program Facebook page,

Cinema & Sound, a new free outdoor event series presented by the Urbana Arts and Culture Program and The Urbana Free Library for Cinema & Sound, combines film screening sand live musical performances.  The series kicks off at the end of the month with the perfect paring of Marvel Studio’s Black Panther with music from Ibrahim Ouedraogo.

Musician and artist Ibrahim Ouedraogo “comes from a family of musicians in Burkina Faso, West Africa.”  Ouedraogo will perform original work including a guitar composition which premiered at Spurlock Museum’s 2021 WorldFest.

Come at 7 p.m. to enjoy artmaking and other activities.

Cinema & Sound
Busey Bank parking lot, corner of Race & Main Streets
Downtown Urbana
July 28th, 7 p.m. film screens at 8:30 p.m., free
Get more info here.

Revisit Boneyard Arts Festival and the Great ARTdoors

Portrait of woman with a red flower in her dark hair and a green bird on her hand. Image from the Urbana Arts & Culture Program Facebook page,

June 2021 brought us the return of the in-person Boneyard Arts Festival and the sculptural installations of the Great ARTdoors. Even in its shorter 3-day format, Boneyard had a lot to see. So if you missed seeing some of it, you can enjoy a recap viideo courtesy of 40 North. 

If you’re looking for a reason to hit our local parks and community gardens, the Great ARTdoors installations will be up through fall, so be sure to get some fresh air and taken in some sculpture. 

Revisit Boneyard Arts Festival and the Great ARTdoors
Boneyard Arts Festival 2021 recap available online, anytime 
The Great ARTdoors installations will remain up through fall, weather permitting. 

Top image from the Urbana Arts & Cultural Program Facebook page. 

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