Whether February makes you long for flowers and candy, or hot dogs and football, one thing we can all gree on is that match ups (or mash ups) are part art, part science, part magic, and part luck. 

So herewith, are my top five suggestions for local arts events guaranteed to bring the zing. 

1. The Sonic Illinois series at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts

This month-long celebration marries contemporary music and movement in a diverse range of collaborations. Among the Sonic Illinois series line-up, these three events, listed in order of occurence, promise major mash-up magic. 

Jupiter String Quartet with Chungliang Al Huang, Tai Ji master

Master Huang performs Tai Ji movements to Stravinsky's Three Pieces for String Quartet and Schafer's String Quartet No. 6, “Parting the Wild Horse’s Mane.” Enjoy the rare opportunity to hear Debussey's only string quartet performed live, and feel the sizzle of Astor Piazzolla's tangos brought to life by the choreography of Dance Illinois professor Rebecca Nettl-Fiol.

Jupiter String Quartet with Chungliang Al Huang, Tai Ji master
Krannert Center for the Performing Arts
500 S Goodwin Ave., Urbana
February 7th, 7:30 p.m.
Get ticket information here

The Rape of Lucretia

The Sonic Illinois series celebrates collaboration and innovation, but it also welcomes creative disrupters who challenge long-standing conventions. This production of Benjamin Britten’s 1946 chamber opera, led by Department of Theatre Head Kirsten Pullen and Lyric Theatre Co-Director Julie Gunn, employs an entirely female production team in this exploration of sexual violence across centuries. 

The Rape of Lucretia
Krannert Center for the Performing Arts
500 S Goodwin Ave., Urbana
February 21st to 24th, 7:30 p.m.
For mature audiences
Get ticket information here

A Thousand Thoughts — A Live Documentary with Kronos Quartet

You may have seen the Kronos Quartet during their previous visits to Chambana, but I guarantee you haven't seen them like this. Here Kronos Quartet revists pieces from their vast history in a richly layered, interactive, multi-media format. This interplay of live music and narration, archival footage and filmed interviews creates a deeper experience of Kronos Quartet and their importance place in contemporary music history. 

A Thousand Thoughts — A Live Documentary with Kronos Quartet
Krannert Center for the Performing Arts
500 S Goodwin Ave., Urbana
February 27th, 7:30 p.m.
Get ticket information here

2. The Art MA Show

If you like your art on the hot and spicy side, then this is the show you've been waiting for. Leave the kids at home, check your inhabitions at the door, and enjoy the saucier sides of local artists Cindy Sampson, Phil Strang, Laura Anne Welle, Marc-Anthony Macon, and Ralph Roether.

The Art MA Show
123 W Main St., Downtown Urbana
February 15th, 6 to 10 p.m.
February 16th, noon to 10 p.m.
For mature audiences only

3. February Dance: Dancing 50: Moving Forward/Looking Back

Dance at Illinois continues its 50th anniversary celebration with four new collaborative works which explore themes as diverse as masculinity and movement, Afrofuturism, and movement and virtual space. The program, featuring work by C. Kemal Nance, Cynthia Oliver, Endalyn Taylor and John Toenjes, will be danced by Dance at Illinois alumni, as well as current undergraduate and graduate students. 

February Dance: Dancing 50: Moving Forward/Looking Back
Krannert Center for the Performing Arts
500 S Goodwin Ave., Urbana
February 7th to 9th, 7:30 p.m. 
For mature audiences only
Get ticket information here

4. The Art of Timing: Paintings by Patricia Monigold

Patricia Monigold's portraits may seem deceptively simple at first. But they have an almost alchemical ability to refine their subjects down to their essential natures. A masterful painter, Monigold uses light and shadow to frame her subjects within space and within moments of time. This collection of portraits invites us into a deep sense of intimacy where we unexpectedly catch each other in moments of meaning and truth.

The Art of Timing: Paintings by Patricia Monigold
Springer Cultural Center
301 N Randolph St, Champaign
February 16 to March 9
Artist reception: February 21st, 5:30 to 7 p.m. 
Free and open to the public 

Exhibit hours:

M-Th 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
F 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Sa 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

5. Spring 2019 opening night at Krannert Art Museum

If you're a gotta-get-there-first kind of art fan, don't miss Krannert Art Museum's opening night reception and be among the first to check out these new exhibits:

  • From Hand to Hand: Painting and the Animation of History in Northern India, Curated by Allyson Purpura, Senior Curator and Curator of Global African Art
  • Emphatic: American Painting from the Collection, Curated by Amy L. Powell, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art
  • Renaissance to Modern Remix: Highlights from the European & American Art Collection, Curated by Maureen Warren, Curator of European and American Art

Be there by 6 p.m. to hear museum director Jon Sedyl's welcome.

Spring 2019 Opening night at Krannert Art Museum
500 East Peabody Dr., Champaign
February 28th, 6 to 7 p.m.
Museum hours:
M-Sa 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Thursdays, open til 9 p.m. when classes are in session

Admission free

All photos from Facebook event pages, except for #5, which was taken from the Krannert Art Museum website, featuring Krishna Leaves Radu. India, Guler Kangra.