They say that March comes in like lion and leaves like a lamb. Well our local arts calendar is coming in fierce this month, and from what I can tell, it will be roaring all the way through the month. And with March being Women's History Month, I'm proud include so many fantastic women-created or women-centric events. You'll find a good amount of visual arts events in a variety of media, the latest offering from the Year of Creative Writers series, as well a peforming arts homage to the stories of Tennessee Williams. The following list of must-see arts events are sure to get you off your couch and into the first hint of spring in Champaign-Urbana. Go and get inspired. 

Women Who Painted

Image: Compilation of five portraits of women painters from @Paula McCarty's Women Who Painted exhibit. Image from Facebook event page.
Image: Compilation of five portraits of women painters from @Paula McCarty's Women Who Painted exhibit. Image from Facebook event page.

This past August, I first wrote about how these portraits by Paula McCarty literally stopped me in tracks iwth their rivetting and intimate compositions. I was over to moon when I learned that those three pieces were part of a series of portraits of women artists. And now, right in time for Women's History Month, we get to enjoy McCarty's love letter to the painters who inspired her and who literally paved the way for the artists who came after. I've always regarded McCarty as both a talented painted and teacher, but I think this may be some of best work yet. It's vibrant and fierce, and best of all, it is will be exhibited simultaneously in two sites and supported by a well-created website dedicated to telling these women's stories. Stay tuned to learn more about the series and the artist in my preview interview with her tomorrow.

Women Who Painted
Urbana City Building
400 S Vine St,
Urbana
Urbana Freee Library
210 W Green St,
Urbana
Opening reception: March 5th, 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Urbana City Building
Dual-site exhibit runs through the month

 

Amor Perdido/Lost Love: Stories by Tennessee Williams


Image: Black and white photo of building with open windows with event details in white text. Image from Facebook event page.

This event has everything. A fab collab between The Celebration Company at the Station Theatre and the University of Illinois Theatre Department, previously unproduced work by the great Tennessee Williams, live, original music, all in the kind of intimate setting that lets you get right up in the magic. Plus, the list of performers is a veritable who's who of local theatre rock stars. Stay tuned to the arts section for more about this production.


Amor Perdido/Lost Love: Stories by Tennessee Williams
The Celebration Company at the Station Theatre
223 N Broadway
Urbana
March 5th through 7th at 7:30 p.m., March 8th at 3:00 p.m.
Get ticket information here

 


 

Illinois Authors Exchange


Image: Photo of writer Luis Alberto Urrea on left and photo of writer Meagan Cass on the right. Photo from Facebook event page.

This event marks the second in the Year of the Creative Writers series and I'm here for it. A chance to hear two unique voices together in a public space, for free, is one of the blessings of living in Chambana that we should not take for granted. Luis Alberto Urea, pictured left iwas a 2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist for nonfiction and member of the Latino Literature Hall of Fame. He is the author of 17 books, winning numerous awards for his poetry, fiction and essays. Meagan Cass, pictured right, is the author of ActivAmerica, her first full-length collection, which won the Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Short Fiction and was published by UNT Press in 2017.  She teaches creative writing and publishing at University of Illinois Springfield. Let's show up for this event and for the incredible literary series. 

Ilinois Authors Exchange
Urbana Free Library Auditorium
210 W Green St
Urbana
March 10th, 7 to 8 p.m., free

 

Magic Lantern II

Image: Photo of artist EKAH's Magic Lantern homage to the earliest form of slide projection with event details listed in white text. Photo from Facebook event page
Image: Photo of artist EKAH's Magic Lantern homage to the earliest form of slide projection with event details listed in white text. Photo from Facebook event page.

Covering the initial unveiling of EKAH's Magic Lantern was one of my earliest initiatives as Smile Politely's arts editor and one of the most transformational. I fell in love with EKAH's work and her kind, down-to-earth lecture style. I also fell in love with the process of tracking an artist's thought process, inspirations, struggles etc. It made me think hard and, I hope, made me a better reporter. The Magic Lantern, one of the many amazing arts projects supported by the Urbana Arts Grants Program, stands as evidence of the power of arts funding. It allows arts to take the time to create meaningful work that can be used to inspire and teach artists and art fans of all ages. Don't miss this chance to see how this work has evolved since its first public viewing. 

Magic Lantern II
Urbana Free Library Auditorium
210 W Green St
Urbana
March 18th, 6 to 7 p.m., free
 

8 to Create
 

Image: Abstract painting in blues, purples, and pinks with event information written in white text. Image from Facebook event page.
Image: Abstract painting in blues, purples, and pinks with event information written in white text. Image from Facebook event page.

At the close of 2019, the editors of Smile Politely named 8 to Create the best all-day art event of the decade. 8 to Create has it all. A wide variety of styles and mediums, drama, interactive art, and the experience to peel away the curtain and see how artists create. And yes, you heard it here: wood cut illustrator and print maker extraordinaire Lisa Kesler has been added to the list of participating artists. You definitely won't want to miss this. 
 

8 to Create
Link Gallery
408 E Peabody Dr
Champaign
10 a.m. to 6 p.m., free