$3 Million and a New Name for Downtown Library...

“It’s a really exciting day for the library and the community,” said John Savage, president of the Aurora Public Library Board of Directors. Savage announced today that the Richard and Gina Santori Charitable Foundation is making a donation of $3 million to the Aurora Public Library Foundation to establish a technology endowment. Savage said the donation goes along with the library’s two main commitments for the new library: providing an amazing, flexible space that can adapt and change, and offering state-of-the-art technology. He added that the endowment will “ensure that our residents today and in the future have the most cutting edge technology.” Gina Santori, of Lisle, listened as Savage spoke about the Santori’s many accomplishments. Her late husband, Richard, owned several auto dealerships in and around Aurora. Gina is a physician and surgeon on staff at Rush-Copley Medical Center in Aurora; she practices only on a pro bono basis caring for diabetic and renal patients. Due to the large nature of the donation, the library is being renamed to the Richard and Gina Santori Public Library of Aurora. The new name was depicted on a rendering projected on an antiquated screen propped behind the speakers on a plastic folding table. “It’s an amazing thing to see this community grow and evolve and become better,” said Mayor Tom Weisner. He added that the gift will “enable our young people to be at the forefront and to succeed in life.” “It’s a gift to the future. It will pay dividends for generations to come. It’s a wonderful, wonderful thing. Christmas came a little early,” Weisner said. On behalf of the teen advisory board, T’Prinn Ingram, a student at West Aurora High School, spoke about once being homeless and seeking refuge in the library. “We came...

First Fridays is Jan. 3 Dec22

First Fridays is Jan. 3...

Celebrate the New Year downtown Aurora style! Visit our First Friday venues on Friday, Jan. 3 and bring in 2014. This month, two venues open their doors for a night of art, music, food, drink and community. The following venues will host art openings for January’s First Friday: The ArtBar at Two Brothers Roundhouse, Tattoo Show, 6 to midnight, 205 N. Broadway If These Walls Could Talk, Photography Show, 7 to 10 p.m., 32 S. Stolp Ave. Take the opportunity this month to relax at our two First Friday venues, and you won’t want to miss Sidewalk Chalk at Two Brothers Roundhouse – an exciting, eclectic group out of Chicago. They are a fan favorite. No...

Best of Downtown Aurora 2013...

Seeing a giant Don Picton head at The Yetee or getting an onion from the mean old Grinch might have made one of your days this year. If you think back about all of the smiles that you had in downtown Aurora over the last year, it’ll make your day again. A lot of pretty terrific things happened at Stolp Island and beyond in 2013. Here is a list of the top ten things that made downtown shine this year. 10. New Library Breaks Ground. The new Aurora Public Library broke ground this year and is slowly forming into a skeleton of concrete and steel that will soon hold books, media, and unparalleled resources. Knowledge is power, and a new library is more than it’s bones – it’s what it can hold inside. 9. Gravity Building. Jimi Allen and Chris Rud are working hard to sell their idea of a 3-story coworking space on LaSalle Street. Once Aurora catches on to the genius of shared work space, entrepreneurs will flock to the renovated building. It’s innovation at its most formidable, and it’s right in your own backyard. 8. RiverEdge Park. For its first year as an outdoor entertainment venue, RiverEdge Park had few glitches and lots of positive reviews. The 30-acre park and pavilion that accommodates 8,500 spectators are things that Aurorans can utilize and brag about for years to come. 7. Three Galleries and a Cake School. Downtown was lucky to land some great businesses this year, including VARA Design, If These Walls Could Talk and The Yetee t-shirt company. All three included art galleries in their build outs proving that downtown is a welcoming arts district. PME School of Cake Decorating also opened and brings experienced teachers and accessible classes to its...

Christmas on Stage Dec12

Christmas on Stage

Celebrate this festive season by taking in some great, live theater. Downtown Aurora is lucky to have three fantastic theater venues that are all giving the gift of Christmas spirit this season. Riverfront Playhouse: For the 20th consecutive year, The Riverfront Playhouse at 11-13 South Water Street Mall in downtown Aurora will present their own original version of A CHRISTMAS CAROL. This year’s performances will begin on Friday, December 13 at 8pm, with added shows on Saturday, December 14 at 8, Sunday, December 15 at 3pm, Friday December 20 at 8pm, Saturday December 21 at 8pm, and Sunday December 22 at 3pm. Adapted from the classic Charles Dickens story by Riverfront veteran Jack Schultz, this production of A CHRISTMAS CAROL features nine songs also written by Schultz. Under the direction of Sherry Winchester Schultz, the Riverfront’s version of A CHRISTMAS CAROL has become a tradition for not only the playhouse, but for many of the actors who frequently revive their portrayals from year to year, as well as many area families who return time and again to relive the unique and sometimes heart-warming but always hilarious retelling of the Dickens’ classic. Playwright Jack Schultz has taken the Dickens story and tells it in the traditional way, but with an non-traditional spin: imagine that a travelling band of itinerant actors have come into town on a circus wagon to tell the story. This seemingly bizarre twist blends seamlessly into the action of the story, providing the audience with a frame of reference to explain the phenomenon experienced by Ebeneezer Scrooge in the other-worldly visits he receives from his long deceased partner, Jacob Marley, and the three spirits of Christmas, representing the past, the present, and the dreaded future. Jack Schultz had been a Riverfront regular since 1983, performing, directing and writing plays until his...

M.U.S.I.C. Mondays Bring Sound Downtown...

  Free, live music every Monday night at Culture Stock bookstore is advertised in the new window display in the Conservatory Building on Stolp Avenue. The night of music is holding its own after starting up last January. For the last year, talented local musicians have been performing intimate sets for a growing fan base at the downtown used bookstore. M.U.S.I.C. Mondays started with faithful local musicians such as Kevin Trudo and Lisa Green performing and has grown to include groups like FUE out of DeKalb and experimental cellist Chris Bell. Appearances from Francis Laity, David Glynn, and others in the local music scene have helped to create a name for the free Monday night concerts. M.U.S.I.C. stands for Musicians Unite to Serve Instrumentally in the Community. M.U.S.I.C. Mondays are from 6 to 7 p.m. at Culture Stock bookstore, 43 E. Galena Blvd. in downtown Aurora. To perform in 2014, email...