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Happy National Dessert Day

In honor of this sweet holiday, make sure you treat yourself to some dessert today. Not sure what to get? Take a look at this list of five sweets to eat in C-U.

If you want more inspiration for where you should get a cake, sugary drinks, and other desserts, I rounded up our recent dessert content and what we recommend in Champaign-Urbana.

Here are some lists about desserts:

Plus, check out some recent reviews about places where you can find desserts:

On a white plate, there is an Art Mart pumpkin cookie: a soft orange, brown cookie with bright white icing on top. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Lastly, here are are some desserts worth indulging in if you haven't tried it yet:

If you want, you can drop your favorite dessert in the comments or email me.

Top image by Alyssa Buckley.

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October 17th exhibit at Marm Studio features work of Lorraine Graham

The artists of the Marm Studio Gallery will be hosting an exhibit on Sunday, October 17th featuring the work of Lorraine Graham. Graham's work has recently been showcased in The Best of Acrylic magazine and Bridging the Art Divide.

Midwest Interpretations
Sunday, October 17th, 1 to 4 p.m.
917 W White St, Champaign

Follow Marm Studio Gallery and Lorraine Paula Graham on Facebook


Apply for an Urbana Arts Grant

Interested in applying for an Urbana Arts Grant? The application is now available, and due by January 16th. There are different tiers (starting with grants of $500), so no matter the size of your Urbana-based-public-arts project, there is a grant that might be appropriate. Details are below, and you can apply online

The City of Urbana supports opportunities for all residents to engage with the arts in its many forms. The arts are essential to the vitality for the development of the city and enhance the quality of life while encouraging economic development, improving academic performance, and celebrating diversity. The Urbana Arts and Culture Commission, through the Urbana Arts Grants Program, supports projects in the arts that are accessible to the public. This program fosters an environment for established and emerging artists to thrive in Urbana, promotes life-long participation and learning in the arts, and integrates art into the urban environment.

Up to $90,000 will be awarded to artists, arts organizations, and festival presenters for creative projects that enrich the lives of Urbana residents and visitors.

 “For over a decade, the Urbana Arts Grants Program has supported a wide range of arts-related programs and services that make Urbana a more vibrant place to live and work," says Rachel Lauren Storm, Arts and Culture Coordinator at the City of Urbana. "Through selective funding, we aim to foster a city that values creative innovation and collaboration. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, proposed projects may include adapted and virtual engagement efforts that build community and foster creativity through partnerships with Urbana venues and organizations."

This grant program is open to all disciplines in the arts on public display within spaces open to the public, including but not limited to creative writing, dance, film, video, music, theatre, visual arts, crafts, performing arts, spoken word, environmental arts, multimedia arts, architectural arts, landscape architecture, and emerging media. Grants will be available in five categories listed below:

  • Tier I Grants ranging between $500-$1,500 for individual artists and initiatives
  • Tier II Grants ranging between $2,000-$4,500 for mid-sized initiatives
  • Tier III Grants ranging between $5,000-$10,000 for large-scale special events
  • Arts in the Schools Grants for arts education initiatives in USD #116 schools (now built into the Tier I application)

Top image EKAH, Convergent Evolution, from the Urbana Arts and Culture Program Facebook page.


Check out the 2021 Small Press Fest line-up

If you're a fan (or maker) of zines and small indie publishes, you'll be glad to know that Small Press 2021 will be in-person and better than ever. The list of exhibits and events was recently announced and it promises to be an amazing weeks-long event. 

Small Press Fest
October 15th through November 6th
Multiple locations, free
Get the full schedule of events and exhibits.

Top image from the Small Press Fest website.


Learn to make pasta with Common Ground Food Co-op later this month

Common Ground Food Co-op’s next virtual cooking class is 4-6 p.m. on Sunday, October 24th. The menu is fresh pasta made from local flour in a roasted tomato sauce served with an autumn mixed greens salad. The class is $30 and you can reserve your meal kit online; each kit feeds two people. There’s also an option to add on a bottle (or two) of wine. 

Learn more about the menu here.

Top image from Common Ground Food Co-op’s email newsletter.

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City of Urbana awarded AARP Community Challenge Grant

The City of Urbana Arts and Culture Program has been awarded a 2021 AARP Community Challenge Grant. According to the recent announcement, the funds will be used to launch "the Growing Community Public Arts Initiative, which will install artworks and functional amenities to six Urbana-area community gardens." 

Find out more about the program here. And stay tuned to the Urbana Arts and Culture Program Facebook page for updates. 

Top image from the Lierman Neighborhood Community Garden Facebook page.

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Experience The 48 with Illinois Theatre October 2nd and 3rd

For Illinois Theatre, the first weekend in October means a 48-hour playwriting festival. According to a recent social media post, faculty, student, staff, and alumni of Illinois Theatre "will collaborate from start to finish across the course of two days." And you are invited to see how it all comes together. 

Learn more or order tickets here.

Top image from the Krannert Center for Performing Arts Facebook page.


The strawberry cloud drink at Tasty Tart is delicious

It’s basically an un-frozen milkshake. For $5, it was a very yummy sweet treat, especially on a beautiful warm day. If you like strawberry milkshakes, then this is the drink for you. (There are other drinks that look great, too.)

A to-go beverage held up by a white person’s hand in front of Tasty Tart in Champaign, IL. The beverage is white with pink drizzles inside of the plastic cup. Photo by Jessica Hammie.

If milky beverages aren’t your thing, consider the true-to-name tasty tarts. I sampled the fruit, cookies and cream, white chocolate blueberry, and pumpkin tarts last weekend, and they did not disappoint. There are also October/Halloween special flavors, only available through pre-orders.

You can order online

Top photo by Jessica Hammie.

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Poet Crystal Valentine is bringing Black joy to Pygmalion Lit

Internationally acclaimed poet and former NYC Poet Laureate Crystal Valentine is coming to Pygmalion on Saturday, September 25th. A self-proclaimed "generator and fierce protector of Black joy, " Valentine "strongly believes that intersectionality is a key factor in liberation. "In her website bio, Valentine shares that "as a queer, black, woman, a lot of her work revolves around bridging the ever present gap between her identities. Her goal is to provide a sanctuary within her poems that can be accessible to all black people: queer, trans, women, gender non conforming, disabled, poor, loud, angry, ghetto, for it is when all of these voices are present and accounted for that we can really begin the gruesome work of understanding and breaking down systematic oppression."

Find out more about Crystal Valentine on her website

Get tickets to see Crystal Valentine at Pygmalion here

Top photo from Crystal Valentine's website.