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Smile Politely now seeking Arts Editor

We're looking for a new Arts Editor here at Smile Politely. While being an Editor involves actual editing of content — this position requires much more of a producer mindset than straight-forward copy editing. 

Some components of being an Editor at Smile Politely include, but aren't limited to:

  • Curating the section each week and producing content of your own as well as writers
  • Interested and in-tune with theater, musicals, fine arts, literature, galleries, community arts organizations, and everything in between in C-U
  • Recruiting writers to contribute to the section, as well as the magazine on the whole
  • Contributing to the SPlog each week, posting about a variety of subjects relevant to Champaign-Urbana
  • Contributing to the Weekender each week
  • Participating in Editor's meetings each month

There's a little bit of money on the table as an Editor, but the best candidates are ones that are engaged with the local arts community, interested in perpetutating this component of C-U's culture within the magazine, recruiting writers, and one generally excited to be involved with the magazine as a community journalism project.

If you're interested, please email us at with the subject "Arts Editor Applicant", as well as any relevant information about yourself, a resume, and any writing samples you might have. If you don't have writing samples, that's totally OK too.

Thanks for taking the time!


Curtis Orchard opens tomorrow, July 20th

Curtis Orchard and Pumpkin Patch will open for the season tomorrow, July 20th. In season right now are apples, apple cider, and perhaps most importantly, apple cider doughnuts. You should also be able to pick up some honey from their hives, as well as anything else they sell in their store (pies, popcorn, etc., etc.).

The Flying Monkey Cafe does not open until August.

Curtis Orchard is located at 3902 South Duncan Road, Champaign, and open Monday through Saturday,  9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Photo from Facebook. 


Urbana Park District looking for area artists for Meadowbrook Park project

The Urbana Park District is looking for a local artist to create a painted barn quilt on the Meadowbrook Interpretive Center. Such a cool opportunity! See below for details:


To: Illinois Artists
From: Urbana Park District
Re: Call for Proposals: Meadowbrook Park Painted Barn Quilt

The Urbana Park District is calling for proposals from local area artists to create a painted barn quilt on the Meadowbrook Interpretive Center at 2808 South Race Street in Urbana.

This project seeks to celebrate the cultural importance of this historical art form, to provide an opportunity for a local artist to create artwork and display it in a public location, and to offer a free public event to provide the opportunity to learn about and experience art. This project was awarded an Urbana Public Arts Grant and is separate from the operating budget of the district.

Email Janet Soesbe at for the call document or pick one up in person at the Phillips Recreation Center, 505 W. Stoughton. The deadline is July 31, so act quickly!

Photos from Facebook.


The Iron Post hosts jazz benefit for WEFT

On Sunday, August 6th at 6 p.m. there will be a jazz benefit show for WEFT Community Radio at The Iron Post. The show will include many local, talented jazz musicians such as José Gobbo, Kavi Naidu and the Poblano Project, and The Jazz Friends Quintet. 

The event is most likely to be sold out, according to Bob Selby, one of the organizers as well as a radio host at WEFT who specifically work jazz shifts. WEFT's jazz programs take place from 9-11:30 a.m. every week day at 90.1 FM or streamed online at

There will be a cover charge at the door of $10 that goes directly towards WEFT Community Radio. 

WEFT 90.1 FM is a listener-supported, volunteer-operated community radio station located at 113 N. Market Street in Champaign.  WEFT is a non-commercial radio station locally owned by Prairie Air, Incorporated, a not-for-profit corporation.  WEFT mission is to serve the diverse communities of radio listeners in East Central Illinois.


Hopscotch: Bakery + Market soft opening tomorrow, July 19th

We've just gotten word from official sources (aka Hopscotch themselves) that Hopscotch: Bakery + Marketthe brick-and-mortar expansion of Hopscotch — will have a soft opening on Wednesday, July 19th beginnging "around 10 a.m." The new storefront is located at 802 W. John Street in Champaign.

Check out some photos from their private opening last week, courtesy of Justine Bursoni.



Krannert Art Museum’s opening night reception is August 31st

On August 31st, the Krannert Art Museum will be hosting it's Opening Night Public Reception to celebrate the new Fall 2017 exhibits and season. All new fall exhibits will be on display during the open house, some of which are: Propositions on Revolution (Slogans for a Future), Provenance: A Forensic History of Art, and School of Art + Design Faculty Exhibition. 

The reception will kick off at 6pm with a welcoming by Allyson Purpura, senior curator and curator of Global African Arts, and Prita Meier, assistant professor of Art History at New York University.

The event will go until 9 p.m. and is free and open to the public. 


Inaugural Ride for Ray in support of ALS happening August 5th

In honor of Ray Spooner, who passed away a year ago on August 8th, the first ever Ride for Ray will take place on August 5th. Throughout his life Ray was a local friend, and delivered over 2,000 babies at Carle Hospital. After his diagnosis, Ray completed his dream of biking across the U.S. to raise awareness and funds for ALS. Through his love of cycling, Ray helped local organizations such as Planned Parenthood, Habitat for Humanity, CUJF, and MDA. 

To continue Ray's mission to help those effected by ALS, the Ride for Ray was created. 

The ride will take place on August 5th, Ray's 58th birthday. The course will include 5 different distances, and registration will begin day of at 7 a.m. 

To learn more about Ray and his legacy check out the image below:

To register for the ride, or to simply learn more about the cause, check out their webpage here.

Check out justine Bursoni's work with the Spooner family hereTop photo by Justine Bursoni Photography.


Uncork with some showtunes and local favorites

Krannert's Uncorked series makes Thursdays extra-special by pairing new wines with local talent. 

This week, Ranae Wilson, who both works for the Krannert Center in the Development department and appears in local productions, has curated a list of timeless Broadway showtunes to accompany wine samples selected by Orange and Blue Distributing. 

The all-star lineup of performers includes: 

Tafadzwa Diener
Arianne Cohen
Abby Gailey
Chelsea Zych
Kieryn Williams
Quinton Ohlsson
Trey Ball
and Ranae Wilson herself. 
Musical accompaniment by Justin Brauer

The free event begins at 5 p.m. in the Stage 5 area, tomorrow, Thursday, July 13th.


Oktstonerfest returns to the Loose Cobra

Oktstonerfest has become an annual tradition at the Loose Cobra, sporting heavier styles of music, mostly metal. The festival includes a full day of music, sour kraut, and tons headbanging, Bavarian themed. Last years lineup consisted of Earthholder, Hemisaurus, RedLeg, Gonzo Diablo, Dibiase, and Wrist, expect nothing less from this year. 

Oktstonerfest takes place on October 7th, starting at 2 p.m. at the Loose Cobra in Tolono, Illinois. There's no actual cover or entry fee, but there is a $5 suggested donation. 


BrewLab Coffee is open

BrewLab Coffee is the newest coffee shop to open on campus. Located at 630 South Fifth Street, Champaign (Fifth and Green), BrewLab is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

The cafe is bright and well lit, and promises delicious coffee beverages. 

Photo from Facebook.