Arts and Culture | WGLT

Arts and Culture

Laura Kennedy / WGLT

The McLean County Museum of History invites you to make yourself at home in their new permanent exhibition, Making a Home.

*The exhibit is the first new exhibit at the museum in 24 years, and serves as the foundation for its interactive and student programs and public education.

*Making a Home explores the lives and experiences of those who settled in McLean County over several centuries, including Irish, German, Asian and Mexican immigrants, plus Native American tribes.

WGLT

The Bloomington Public Library faces a number of challenges and opportunities, most of which will wait until a new director is found.

University of Illinois Press

In 1939, the 12th Academy Awards honored a talented young songwriter with an award for Best Original Song. It was Over the Rainbow from The Wizard of Oz.  While history has made that song immortal, the composer's name is hardly known today.  Writer Walter Rimler hopes his new biography  will bring the spotlight back on the deserving and neglected  Harold Arlen.

*Biographer Walter Rimler said that it was because Arlen worked in Hollywood, rather than on Broadway that he's not as well known today as his contemporaries.

Sound of Illinois

The Sound of Illinois Chorus is hosting a concert this weekend at the BCPA.  For 74 years, the barbershop chorus has maintained strong harmony.  On the eve of their diamond anniversary, members of the group say the current popularity of a cappella  singing is helping to bring barbershop back into the musical mainstream.

Judith Valente

Several surprises await those who visit The Legacy Project exhibit  on view at Illinois State University's Milner Library until next Friday. The project pays tribute to the contributions of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender individuals throughout history.

Charlie Schlenker

There are a couple major interpretive strains of thought regarding the famed Violin Concerto of Samuel Barber, an austere spare one, and a lush romantic sound.

New Route Theater

The mission of New Route Theater, is to produce professional quality productions using artists who represent the community in all of its diversity. The company's new offering is a festival of three works "Black Voices Matter."

Mark Gray / Flickr via Creative Commons

The 88th Academy Awards is coming up next week. There'll be celebrities in designer duds, splashy production numbers...and, once again this year, there'll be controversy.  ISU's Shari Zeck analyzes the Academy's issues with race, and speculates on who might take home an Oscar this year.

* Shari Zeck says The Academy is just a big club and that its demographics stack the odds against minorities getting nominated for the Oscar.

*The Oscar telecast is the granddaddy of all award shows and has a higher measure of glamor than any other award show.

Gov Mansion Repairs Continue

Feb 12, 2016
Teemu08 / Flickr via Creative Commons

The organization leading efforts to renovation the Illinois governor's mansion says it received $1 million in donations last year. The mansion has fallen into disrepair in recent years with a flooded basement, leaky roof and peeling paint. The Illinois Executive Mansion Association says it also received $280,000 in free services last year and completed the first phase of work on the mansion roof. The association estimates renovating the 160-year-old home will cost between $8 million and $12 million and take two years. It's the third-oldest state governor's residence in the U.S.

A Genius Divided

Feb 12, 2016
Walter Rimler / Ira and Leonore Gershwin Trusts

A new biography of George Gershwin highlights the life of one the most important figures in American music.  Author Walter Rimler's book reveals a man torn between two worlds of music.

Jeff Golden / Flickr via Creative Commons

Love is in the air as Valentine's Day approaches. The Illinois State University School of Theater is getting into the spirit of things with a new production of  Shakespeare's  Romeo and Juliet.  Not only is it one of The Bard's most popular plays, it's also delightfully quotable, as director Kevin Rich explains.

Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts

The Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts is staging a production of the award-winning Broadway musical, "Ragtime" on Thursday evening. Based on the popular novel by E.L. Doctorow, "Ragtime" blends fictional characters with historic figures and actual events.

Tina Salamone, executive director of the BCPA, says "Ragtime" deals with subject matter that could have been ripped from today's headlines and presidential debates.

Staff / WGLT

Editors note: this interview is part of a special edition of Sound Ideas celebrating WGLT's 50th anniversary.

Sandberg Auditorium For Sale

Feb 4, 2016
Loco Steve / Flickr via Creative Commons

An auditorium with $3 million in renovations is for sale for $100. The Carthage City Council has approved buying the structure from Carl Sandberg College in Galesburg. The college board will vote on the matter this month. The school received the Charger Auditorium in 2008 as a donation from Pairieland Investment Group. It wanted to create a multi-building partnership that fizzled in large part because of the recession. Sandburg president Lori Sundberg says after $3 million in renovations, the school spends up to $35,000 a year to maintain it.

Laura Kennedy / WGLT

You know that old chair or rusty lawnmower by the side of the road that you  passed by?  Well, you may have missed the potential that artist Doug DeWitt thrives on.  DeWitt uses found objects to create original sculptural compositions, and his work is currently on display at the McLean County Arts Center.

Ron Frazier / Creative Commons

Attendance at the David Davis Mansion in Bloomington fell by nearly 3,000 people last year. The State Historic Preservation Agency has released figures showing the site drew 56,631 visitors in 2015. That's a decline of nearly 5%.

Wikimedia Commons

The Illinois Symphony Orchestra has narrowed the field for its new Music Director search to four. Executive Director Trevor Orthman says those people will conduct the Symphony in Bloomington and Springfield in the coming fall and winter. Orthman says it was a strong field with accomplished musicians from four continents and a variety of established musical groups.

State Historic Site Attendance Falls

Feb 2, 2016
Rogerd / Flickr via Creative Commons

Trips to Illinois' state-administered historic sites, including the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, fell 7 percent last year. That's despite commemorations of the 150th anniversaries of the end of the Civil War and the 16th president's death. Illinois Historic Preservation Agency figures show numbers fell just below 2 million at the Springfield museum and 29 other sites operated by the agency _ one-third of which have direct ties to Lincoln. Some sites have shorter hours because of state spending cuts.

pixabay.com

The close of  the year has resulted in a number of restaurant closings. Larry Carius joins Charlie Schlenker for a periodic update on the Bloomington Normal Restaurant Scene.

Laura Kennedy / WGLT

Time, light and nature figure prominently in Melanie Scott-Dockery's work.  The artist is showing an exhibition entitled "Then and Now" at the Joe McCauley Art Gallery at Heartland Community College.  Though her work is continually evolving, Scott-Dockery relies on one constant:   the ever-changing landscape in her own yard.

Jim Browne / WGLT

The asbestos that was discovered in Bloomington's Lincoln Leisure Center a week ago has been taken out of the building. The city says Ideal Environmental took the material from near the building's furnace. A full evaluation of the building will also be presented to the city. Last week the center, which houses activities ranging from dance, music therapy, and art, was closed when staff discovered the potentially cancer causing asbestos. No date has been set to re-open the facility on South Lee Street, and most of the programs centered there have been moved elsewhere.

Niece of Angela Davis Bringing Memories To ISU

Jan 21, 2016
ISU School of Theatre and Dance

An Illinois State University audience will be able to get an idea of what it's like to grow up in the shadow of a 1960's activist. Eisa Davis is bring portions of her piece, "Angela's Mixtape," to the ISU Center for the Performing Arts Theater Friday at 1pm. The performance piece uses sets and music to put the audience into a particular time. Davis says having Angela Davis as an aunt in Berkley California as she was growing up provided her with a unique perspective.

Joel Gillman / Flickr via Creative Commons

Admit it.  You like to do it.  Probably more than you should. And why not?  Increasingly, viewers are taking greater control of their entertainment consumption and indulging in binge watching.

JERushton / Wikipedia via Creative Commons

A national trapshooting event is returning to a shuttered state-owned shooting range in southern Illinois with an uncertain future. The American Trapshooting Association and Illinois Department of Natural Resources have agreed to host the Grand American World Trapshooting Championship in August at the World Shooting and Recreation Complex in Sparta. The complex was temporarily shut down in October because of the ongoing state budget impasse.

Expanded Library Opens In DeKalb

Jan 19, 2016
Jenna Dooley / IPR

DeKalb’s library has finally re-opened after months of construction. Workers last week put the finishing touches on an expansion more than doubling the DeKalb Library. The original building was dedicated in 1931 and financed by a bequest from barbed-wire millionaire Jacob Haish. This century’s addition was possible due to a grant from the state of Illinois. In fact, the 11.6 million dollar boost is the state’s largest library grant to date. The total cost of the project is around 25 million which includes borrowing and private contributions. Library Director Dee Coover.

Adam Bielawski

Tributes to David Bowie flooded social media when the world woke up Monday to news the ground breaking musician and film actor had died. He was 69 and had been battling cancer for a year and a half. One of the most retweeted tributes is this one from twitter user Dan Podesta, who wrote "If you're ever sad, just remember the world is 4.543 billion years old and you somehow managed to exist at the same time as David Bowie." Bill McBride, an Associate English Professor at Illinois State is not surprised by such reaction.

Laura Kennedy / WGLT

The McLean County Museum of History is peering through the years of central Illinois history to spotlight the stories of the wide variety of people who came to call McLean County home.  This new exhibit is the first in a series of five that will eventually make up the permanent exhibit called "Challenges, Choices and Change:  The People of McLean County."

Laura Kennedy / WGLT

The Merwin Gallery at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington has been transformed into a space that invites exploration.  As the artist describes, it's an installation that truly comes to life when gallery visitors immerse themselves in the 'Den.'

Illinois Wesleyan University

You might think there is not a lot in common with being a high level university administrator and a classical music artist. That's not necessarily the case as a concert tomorrow evening at Illinois Wesleyan University demonstrates.

Looking Ahead to Illinois Shakespeare Festival

Jan 8, 2016

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