Putting together this month's list has brought me back that same heart-pounding, wide-eyed, excited-but-anxious feeling I had my first week of graduate school at the University of Illinois. There was so much I wanted to see and do. And so many opportunities to explore emerging aspects of myself and expand my point of view. I eventually learned that I couldn't do it all, at least not all at once. Whatever I chose, there was no bad choice. Only experiences that would take me further on my path. This is how I want you to approach this month's arts calendar. Whether you listen to your gut, or follow the open blocks on your calendar, make a choice — maybe even a a bold one — and see where it takes you. Whether you step into a gallery or sit down across from a stage, these significant offerings are not to be missed.


Parkland College Art & Design Faculty Exhibition

Close up of color photo of hand reaching down into what appears to be water but is in fact sky. Photo from the Giertz Gallery Facebook page.

The annual Parkland College Art & Design Faculty Exhibition never disappoints. This yearly tradition reminds us that these inspiring and gifted instructors are also talented artists making significant work. Fans of Peg Shaw's photography and videography will be in for a treat. Among her work exhibited here you'll find "The Noisiest Years of Silence, which includes video, sound, photos, and mixed media."

In a recent news release from the Giertz Gallery, Shaw said this. 

"My project addresses the disconnect felt in 2020 as the world shut down and challenged us to live with isolation, worry, and fear. The work is the culmination of trying to distill the silence with the noise: being in the still woods when I heard George Floyd had been killed, looking over open fields when children were being kept in cages, the sadness when the tree saplings I planted and cared for grew stronger, while the west was on fire. Trying to stay safe and keep others safe during a time of so much danger, anger, and hatred was daunting. Be safe, stay home. Slices of noisy harsh news cut through my silence like a knife."


Parkland College Art & Design Faculty Exhibition
August 22nd-September 24th
Giertz Gallery
2400 W Bradley
Champaign
M-W 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Th 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sa 12 to 2 p.m.
Closed Labor Day

Fake News & Lying Pictures: Political Prints in the Dutch Republic

Black and white print of etching featuring upper class members of Dutch society outside a brick wall.
Claes Jansz Visscher, The Far-farmed House of Nassau or Orange, ca. 1628-1692. Engraving. Museum purchase through the John N. Chester Fund, 2019-7-9. Image from the Krannert Art Museum website.

I was lucky enough to get a preview of this groundbreaking exhibition and promise to give you a full preview soon. Until then, let me just say this: See it. Curator Maureen Warren has put together a feast for the eyes and the mind that radiates her deep passion and staggering knowledge for the subject. Fake News & Lying Pictures: Political Prints in the Dutch Republic "explores the myriad and complex visual strategies early modern printmakers in the United Provinces used to memorialize historical events, lionize and demonize domestic and international leaders, and form consensus for collective action." Among the 100 prints and illustrated books you'll find allegories, satires, cartoon strips, portraits, maps, and  news prints, including some of the rarest works in this field. We are so fortunate to have access to this experience. See it. Maybe more than once. 

Fake News & Lying Pictures: Political Prints in the Dutch Republic
September 1st-December 17th
Opening reception: September 1st, 5 p.m.
Krannert Art Museum
500 E Peabody
Champaign
T–Sa 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

A Darkling at Nightfall

Black and white noir-style photo of open ceiling grid with a view of brick wall in the background.
Photo from the Krannert Center for Performing Arts Facebook page.

A Darkling at Nightfall, written by Mallory Raven-Ellen Backstrom and directed by Lisa Gaye Dixon, comes to us that to the Inaugural Daniel J. Sullivan Playwright-in-Residence Program. Presented in workshop form, A Darkling at Nightfall tells the story of Evren Andraste. The Station Theatre's website describes Evren this way.

"Evren is an anomaly in the universe, a feral woman. Half human and darkling, raised alone in the wild by her father — a primordial forest spirit and mythic storyteller. As wildfires rage across the globe, she is thrust into the realms of man and Fae folk. To save herself, she must become familiar with the Nightfall, outsmart the Queen of the Shimmering, survive the Darkling, and find a way to appeal to the heart of mankind before it’s too late. A Darkling at Nightfall is a supernatural fairytale exploring the fecund feminine, the interconnection of Earth and Spirit, and the power of the stories we tell." 

Stay tuned for more about this fascinating project in an upcoming review. 

A Darkling at Nightfall
September 21-23, 7:30 p.m.
Krannert Center for the Performing Arts
Studio Theatre
500 Goodwin
Urbana
Get ticket information here.

Tick, Tick... Boom!

Three cast members at rehearsal at Station Theatre, on left white male is seated with his back to the camera, center is a white male keyboard player and too the right is a white female singer with sheet music.
Photo from the Celebration Company at the Station Theatre Facebook page.

You may have seen the recently Oscar-nomiated movie of the same name, or been fortunate to see the original musical at the Jane Theatre in NYC. This month, C-U theatre fans will be treated to the Celebration Company at the Station Theatre's production of Tick, Tick ... Boom!  Written by Jonathan Larson, the semi-autobiographical musical follows aspiring composer Jon as he worries that the career choice he made may not be the rigfht one. Directed by Benny Zielke, with musical direction by Aaron Ames, the cast includes Aaron Godwin, Kimmy Schofield, Cedric Jones, Anika Nims, and Kiah Johnson, and will feature a live band. Tickets go on sale today.

Tick, Tick ... Boom!
September 22-24, September 29-October 1, 7:30 p.m.
September 25th & October 2nd, 3 p.m.
The Celebration Company at the Station Theatre
223 N Broadway Ave
Urbana
Get ticket information here.

Black on Black on Black on Black

Black and white glicee print featuring a Black woman and man dancing the bump dressed in 70s style clothes are sporting afros.
Patrick Earl Hammie, D8.40.53 BUMP 1, 2021. Artist's giclee print. © Patrick Earl Hammie. Photo from the Krannert Art Museum website, courtesy of the artist and 33 Contemporary.

Black on Black on Black on Black is more than an exhibition. To quote the phrase, it's not a moment, it's a movement. According to the commentary on its Krannert Art Museum website page, this significant initiative marks a "re-visioning of the Faculty Exhibition recognizes the legacy of Black knowledge and production in ways that supports the ongoing efforts by the School of Art & Design, Krannert Art Museum, College of Fine and Applied Arts, and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign towards addressing and celebrating our unique diversity, equity, and inclusion."

Informed by the work of Philadelphia-based activists and theorists Rasheeda Phillips and Camae Ayewa, Black on Black on Black on Black features Black faculty the School of Art & Design, through the lens of the Black Quantum Future, and will explore "Black identity, collectivity, positionality, healing, innovation, and education as explored via a multi-leveled/multi-dimensional immersive, critical, and openly reflective space."

The art will sit at the center of a constellation of public engagement and collaborative opportunities including a lecture series, community conversations, a sound installation, and print catalog. If you're familiar with my strong opinions about bridging the town-gown arts divide, you'll know how excited I am too see Black on Black on Black on Black bringing Black art and artists to both the academy and the neighborhood. This dual path is the only way forward.

Black on Black on Black on Black has been co-curated by Patrick Earl Hammie, Stacey Robinson, Blair Ebony Smith, and Nekita Thomas.

Black on Black on Black on Black
September 24-December 10
Krannert Art Museum
500 E Peabody
Champaign
T–Sa 10 a.m.t o 4 p.m.

Top image, Claes Jansz Visscher, The Far-farmed House of Nassau or Orange, ca. 1628-1692. Engraving. Museum purchase through the John N. Chester Fund, 2019-7-9. Image from the Krannert Art Museum website.