April. The month when we truly begin to awaken from our Midwestern winter funk, and remember outside again. Could we have a snowstorm this month? Sure. But we can be fairly confident that by its conclusion, we can confidently proclaim that it is ACTUALLY spring, and rest in the knowledge that we will soon be complaining about the heat and humidity. Possibly because of this awakening, April is full – full I tell you – of a variety of experiences worth having in the outside world. I humbly offer up six suggestions for your consideration.
The Champaign-Urbana Design Organization (CUDO) has been around for more than a decade, and while it began as a professional organization for graphic designers, it’s now become inclusive of anyone who loves art and design. President Justin Klett describes their current mission as “bringing together artists, designers, and enthusiasts in a unifying network in the Champaign-Urbana area, and building a stronger community through the sharing of resources and information.” One arm of CUDO which embodies this mission is CUDO Plays, an annual board game design competition. The competition is a six month process, which culminates in a Grand Exhibition where the public is invited to try out all of the submitted games.
This year’s exhibition is happening April 9th from 12 to 7 p.m. at Broadway Food Hall. You’ll find games appropriate for all ages, skill levels, and interests, and it’s free. Open gaming will occur from 12 to 5 p.m., there will be a raffle at 3 p.m., and an awards ceremony at 6 p.m. Plus, all of the delicious food options at BFH will be there for your dining needs.
Maybe you’ll be inspired to join in the game design fun next season!
Celebrate the arrival of spring with the Indian festival of Holi on April 10th from 12 to 5 p.m. at the Arboretum. There will be food, music, and performances, in addition to the most important part of the celebration: throwing colored powder on the people around you. The colors are meant to “reflect and represent this vibrant season.”
Every year, this event is hosted by the UIUC chapter of Asha for Education, an international organization that promotes basic education for underprivileged children in India. The event is open to all ages; children 6 and under are free, and general tickets are $15 online and $18 at the event. Wear a white shirt (that you don’t need to be white anymore), maybe some sunglasses or protective eyewear, and let your colors fly.
Keep an eye on the Japan House Facebook and Instagram feeds, because it’s Sakura Watch time. The trees are budding, and once they bloom there is a short window to experience their magic. It’s a truly must-not-miss spring event.
There are very few opportunities for grown up people to be able to relive treasured childhood experiences, but without actual children there. This is your chance! On April 15th at 8:10 p.m. sharp, you’ll be released into the egg hunting landscape at Hessel Park armed with only a flashlight, your cunning, and your speed. It might not hurt to pop those elbows out while you’re freeing yourself from the crowd (I’m not actually condoning violence, just – you know- offering some body positioning advice.
I have never attended this event, so I don’t know what sorts of prizes await you in each egg. If you want a shot at some bigger prize packages, you need to get your hands on the bronze, silver, or gold eggs. Register on site from 7:15 to 8 p.m. It’s $10 to participate, and you must be 18 years or older.
Spurlock Museum is hosting a dialogue on the film United in Anger: A History of ACT UP — The Grassroots Movement to End the AIDS Crisis on April 14th at 7 p.m. in the Knight Auditorium. The documentary details the various actions taken by AIDS activists to make the U.S. government, and the media, pay attention to the epidemic that was claiming lives of so many. The discussion will be led by Mike Benner, Executive Director of the Greater Community AIDS Project of East Central Illinois (GCAP); Jerry Carden, founder of the Gay Community AIDS Project; Susan Johnson, Care Coordinator for the Champaign Urbana Public Health District (CUPHD); and Julie A. Pryde, Administrator for the CUPHD. There will be a preview of the film shown at the event, but you should watch it beforehand. It’s available on Kanopy, and can be accessed with your Champaign or Urbana library card, or if you are affiliated with the U of I.
Also if you haven’t seen in yet, please make time to visit “Sewn in Memory”, an exhibit featuring AIDS quilt pieces made for Central Illinois men who lost their lives to AIDS-related illness.
Celebrate Earth Day in one of C-U’s beloved natural spaces, Meadowbrook Park. From 1 to 4 p.m., on April 23rd, there will be a plethora of ways to recognize the day. There will be live music, the Piato food truck, kite flying, nature art, milkweed planting, insect finding, and much more. Find all of the details at the Urbana Park District website.