Smile Politely

Five ways you can still enjoy our local arts scene: April 2020

Life during shelter-in-place has me sorely missing the energy fixes I regularly received from live performances and visual art exhibitions.  I miss the shared intake of breath before the curtain rises. I miss the slap of a dancer’s feet on the stage. I miss the privilege of standing inches away from a powerful work of art, close enough to feel the laying of the brush strokes. I miss seeing artists and arts lovers in their elements. And I know you do too.

Yet in this strange time, we here in Chambana are fortunate to benefit from both a robust arts scene and a cutting-edge technology technology. And within that Venn Diagram sweet spot exists the new normal for experiencing art during a pandemic. No, they are not ideal. But we are lucky to them, if only to remember what we have to look forward to. But as you prepare to click on these various links, perhaps take a moment and consider how you can enjoy them wtih others. Schedule a hangout or chat or, yes, even a phone call, to take share these journeys with friends. We need to do what we can to keep each other connected to the things that fuel us and to each other. 

So, without further ado, welcome to my first ever list of five ways to virtually enjoy our local arts scene while staying safe at home.

 

Watch Art Now!

 

This award-winning mini-documentary series is a love-letter to our local arts scene. With over a hundred interviews, Art Now! offers hours of inspiration and connection. The playlist is a veritable who’s who of beloved local artists and performers. If you’ve been following the arts section you are bound to see some familiar names including Kelly Hieronymus, Stacey Gross, Paula McCarty, Joan Stoltz, Will Reger, and Latrelle Bright. You’ll also be able to listen to the CU Jazz Festival, the Writers of Oya, the Urbana Pops Orchestra, and many more. This is the motherlode of local arts binge-watching. And it’s all free. 

View all 103 videos on the Art Now! YouTube channel.

 

Take a virtual dance class from Urbana Dance Company via Zoom 

Image: Illustrated logo for Urbana Dance Company with name in various shades of purple against a large black sphere with dots and brush strokes at its edges. Image from Urbana Dance Company website,

Image: Illustrated logo for Urbana Dance Company with name in various shades of purple against a large black sphere with dots and brush strokes at its edges. Image from Urbana Dance Company website,

The folks at Urbana Dance Company are committed to providing top-notch teaching while honoring the emotional connection and release that often happens on the dance studio floor. And fortunately for our community, they have responded to the COVID-19 crisis nimbly, and are now offering online lessons via Zoom. Now more than ever its important to keep moving and lean into some endorphin-building moves. When you hear people talk about how art heals, this is exactly the kind of thing they’re talking about. Right now beginner and intermediate/advanced level courses are available, with more offerings coming soon. Get more information on the Urbana Dance Company website
 

Join the weekly CUDO Isolation Inspiration drawing and design prompt challenge

Image: Champaign-Urbana Design Organization logo, lettters CU on the first line, letters DO, on the second line, white text on black background. Image from CUDO Instagram

Image: Champaign-Urbana Design Organization logo, lettters CU on the first line, letters DO, on the second line, white text on black background. Image from CUDO Instagram
 

The Champaign-Urbana Design Organization is doing its part to keep our creative community connected, inspired, and engaged amidst social-distancing guidelines. As a follow up to its recent virtual happy hour, CUDO has launched an “isolation inspiration” series featuring a weekly design prompt to be found and shared on social media. Start by following CUDO on Instagram, create your own response to the weekly prompt (this week’s is “PSA Poster”) and then tag CUDO and add the hashtags #thecudo and #isolationinspiration to your post so they can share your work. Designers are born to solve problems and thanks to the designers at CUDO, we have a new creative goal to add to our unstructured days and weeks. 

Catch up on those Krannert Art Museum artists talks on YouTube

Image: Exterior photo of Krannert Art Museum in spring surrounded by blooming trees. Photo from Krannert Art Museum's website

Image: Exterior photo of Krannert Art Museum in spring surrounded by blooming trees. Photo from Krannert Art Museum’s website

Back when we were all so busy with work deadlines, errands, and social commitments, we may have missed the chance to take advantage of the inspiring and illuminating artist talks offered by Krannert Art Museum. Well now’s your chance to catch up. Artist talks are intimate, surprising, and guaranteed to transform your understanding of the process and the work. Whether you are a fan looking for a deeper understanding of KAM artists, or an artist seeking words of wisdom, you’re bound to find something transformative on KAM’s YouTube channel.


Binge-watch Pens to Lens festival films

Image: Photo of audience at past Pens to Lens festival at the Virginia Theatre. Photo from Pens to Lens website

Image: Photo of audience at past Pens to Lens festival at the Virginia Theatre. Photo from Pens to Lens website

The Pens to Lens film festival represents all the amazing things our town is capable of. A collaboration between educators, K-12 students, local filmmakers, actors, technical staff, and graphic designers and illustrators. And though P2L is planning to shift its focus towards student filmmaking, with the screenplay writing competition taking a break for the foresable future, the P2L website is a veritable treasure trove of content. The site currently archives six years of short films and the gorgeous posters created for their premieres. So, pop some popcorn, pour a beverage of your choice and get ready to binge watch these locally produced films based on the creative visions of our very own Chambana kiddos. Now how’s that for finding a healthy dose of feel good. 

Top image: The word “art” in black text on a clear background” followed by the word “now” in white text on a black background on top of a still image of a printer maker at work. Image grab from Art Now! YouTube channel

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