A new year brings with it the potential for new arts experiences. And despite increased COVID precautions and a mixture of in-person and hybrid events, January arts programming does not disappoint. Ranging from Tango to Hood Feminism to the sacred and supernatural imagery in European printmaking, here are five ways to resolve to make your month artful and inspiring. 

The Art of the Short Story

Photo of inside the Champaign Public Library featuring shelves of books and seating areas. Photo from the CPL Facebook page.
Photo from the Champaign Public Library Facebook page.

When Smile Politely added the Champaign Public Library's 2021 writer's workshop series to its BEST in Arts list, I sent out a wish that the program would return. Well here we are, and I'm happy to report that the 2022 series is already underway. The next in the series of bi-weekly offerings focuses on the art of the short story form. It's been said that if a novel is a relationship, a short story is a date. Related, but completely different in scope and intensity. If last week's flash fiction session with John Milas (who studied with the Roxane Gay) is any indication, this mix of lessons in craft and inside tips from a published writer is a date you won't want to miss. 

The Art of the Short Story
Presented by John Milas
January 19th, 7-8 p.m.
Hosted by the Champaign Public Library via Zoom
Free, registrer here
Learn more about the entire 2022 writing workshop series here.

Author Reading: Mikki Kendall

Photo from the Literary's website.

Props to The Literary for booking Mikki Kendall, author of Hood Feminism, for their author reading series. A "writer, diversity consultant, and occasional feminist," Kendall is known for her explorations of "race, feminism, police violence, tech, and pop culture." A frequent visitor to universities, this recipient of the Chicago Review of Books Award is sure to deliver a powerful reading and inspire much needed conversations. Kendall is also She is also the author of Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists, a graphic novel illustrated by A. D’Amico and a contributing essaysist at Tiime, the New York Times, The Guardian, the Washington Post, Essence, Vogue, and The Boston Globe.

Be sure to check out the Literary's other upcoming readings on their events calendar.

Author Reading: Mikki Kendall
January 20th, 7-8 p.m.
The Literary
122 N Neil St, Champaign

Sacred/Supernatural (1/27)

Giovanni Beneditto Castiglione, Circe with the Companions of Odysseus Transformed into Animals, 1650-1651, Etching. Image from Krannert Art Museum website.
Giovanni Beneditto Castiglione, Circe with the Companions of Odysseus Transformed into Animals, 1650-1651, Etching. Image from  the Krannert Art Museum website.

Sacred/Supernatural offers a curated study of European prints dating from 1450 to 1900 showcasing "some of the methods European printmakers—including Rembrandt van Rijn and Albrecht Dürer—used to convey extraordinary events and individuals in intaglio and relief."  But it is also an exploration of Judeo-Christian theology, which asks "how and whether to portray God, Christ, the Passion, saints, prophets, the devil, witches, and demons." Prints during this time served as moral exemplars or warnings of the price to pay for sin. 

Printmakers and fans of the process will enjoy the deep dive into the meaning of gestural marks, which offer their own language of meaning-making, 

Sacred/Supernatural: Religion, Myth, and Magic in European Prints, 1450-1900
January 27th-May 15th
Krannert Art Museum
500 E Peabody, Champaign
Get visit information here.

To Know the Fire: Pueblo Women Potters and the Shaping of History

Juana Leno. Triple Canteen. 2020. Earthenware and pigment. Photo from the Krannert Art Museum website. 

To Know the Fire offers an exploration of "the history, sociality, and poetics of Pueblo vessels and their makers," featuring a variety of earthenware vessels from the Pueblo communities of New Mexico and Arizona while also  investigating "the history of the Pueblos that places the creativity and resilience of women artists front and center." Commercial pottery offered Pueblo women "a significant means of livelihood and self-determination that has sustained many families to this day."

To Know the Fire: Pueblo Women Potters and the Shaping of History
January 27th through September 3rd
Krannert Art Museum
500 E Peabody, Champaign
Get visit information here

Tango Argentina 

Photo from the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts website.

Nothing brings the heat to a cold winter's night like a performance from twelve of Argentina's greatest tango dancers and musicians. Tango Argentina is a collab between award-winning artistic director, dancer, and choreographer Marcos Ayala, featured dancers Ivana Ayaya and Pedro Sanchiz, who are said to "express tango’s elegance, sensuality, and charisma from its historic roots through the present day." Musical quartet Tango Bardo will add the extra magic of live music. 

Check out this video to see Tango Argentina in action.

Tango Argentina
January 27th, 7:30 p.m.
Krannert Center for Performing Arts
500 S Goodwin, Urbana
Get ticket information here.

Top photo from the Krannert Art Museum website.