Meet New Library Sculpture Artist at February’s First Fridays...

Through the generosity of the Dunham Fund, the new Richard and Gina Santori Public Library will become the home of an original installation of public art. Following a selection process among four submissions, Jim Jenkins’ sculpture entry, Deus Ex Machina, was awarded the “Art for Technology” commission.   In addition to Jenkins, of Jenkins Arts, Batavia, local sculptors who responded to the Request for Proposal for Public Art included Guy Bellaver, Bellaver Studios of St. Charles; Kai Schulte, Schulte Studios of Sugar Grove; and Martin Soto of Aurora.   “The Aurora Public Library Foundation acknowledges and appreciates the efforts each of the four artists invested in conceptualizing a design and fabrication plan for a sculpture with the theme ‘Art for Technology’ for the plaza outside the Santori Public Library’s west entrance,” said Laura Stoney, development officer for the Foundation.   All of the entries will be displayed at Allen + Pepa Architects, 121 W. Benton St., as part of the City of Aurora’s First Friday activities on February 6. Jenkins will be available from 6:30 to 8 p.m. to meet members of the public. First Friday events typically run from 5 to 9...

Art @ Paramount

The Paramount Theatre is pleased to announce the opening of its February Art Gallery Exhibit: People, Places and Things featuring the work of Nick Freeman, Scott Harding and Aspiring  Artists from North Central College in its visual Art Gallery, located on the 2nd floor of the Grand Gallery of the Paramount Theatre. The opening reception Meet & Greet  will take place on Friday, February 6, 2015 from 6 – 9 p.m. The First Friday event is free and open to the public. Please join us to support the arts in Aurora, meet the artists and discuss their work. Enjoy complimentary appetizers and a cash bar. The exhibit will hang from February 6, 2015 through March 30,2015. The Paramount is one of more than 10 First Friday venues on Feb. 6. Hop on the trolley and visit them all! About Nick Freeman Nick Freeman has been painting for most of his 58 years. He attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and, despite their best efforts, managed to retain his commitment to representational art and traditional painting methods. Thirty years ago he moved from Chicago’s north suburbs to the Fox Valley and has been consistently inspired by the beauty of the Fox River and surrounding area. Freeman enjoys capturing the local scenery as well as scenes of everyday life; a modern take on genre paintings. He has exhibited his work in local and regional shows. More of his work can be seen atgalleryfreeman.com     About Scott Harding Scott Harding was born in 1965 in San Antonio, Texas. His passion for art began at an early age when he spent much of his time drawing. Studying both here and abroad, Harding received his Bachelor of...

New Library Director Hosts Open House...

An open house for the public to meet Aurora Public Library Executive Director Daisy Porter-Reynolds is set for 3:30 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 28, in the Multipurpose Room on the lower level of the Main Library, 1 E. Benton St.   Porter-Reynolds previously served as deputy director of Arlington Heights Memorial Library. She began her tenure with Aurora Public Library in September, 2014, replacing Eva Luckinbill, who retired in the fall but will continue to work in a consulting role through the completion of the new Richard and Gina Santori Public Library of Aurora.   Light refreshments will be served during the open house, which also will feature displays showing progress on the Santori Library.   Porter-Reynolds worked in leadership positions at the San Jose (California) Public Library (2006 to 2012) and in the New Orleans (Louisiana) Public Library (2003 to 2005).   Aurora Public Library Board President John Savage said Porter-Reynolds’ track record in the areas of customer service, technology and programming made her the perfect pick for the position.   “She has a strong focus on building partnerships with schools, the business community and various ethnic groups, which are important traits as we go into the next phase of what the Aurora Public Library system will provide to this community going forward,” Savage said.   Porter-Reynolds obtained her Master of Library Science Degree in 2003 from the University of Illinois, Champaign. Her undergraduate degree, from Northwestern University in Evanston, is in linguistics and women’s studies.   She has presented at library association conferences in Illinois, California, Pennsylvania and Tennessee. Porter-Reynolds’ book, “Streamlined Library Programming: How to Improve Services and Cut Costs,” came out in 2014.   Since 1881, Aurora Public Library has been served by eight directors: Mrs. Thomas H. Clark,...

Trolley Stops at First Fridays on Feb. 6...

Ding ding. It’s trolley time. Hop aboard an old-time trolley and enjoy an art and cocktail cruise through downtown as part of First Fridays in Downtown Aurora.   The trolley will circle around downtown and make stops serving a dozen First Fridays venues.   It’s time to get your pinball wizard out and head down to the Yetee Gallery at 110 Cross St. The Yetee fortress is throwing a party with a pinball tournament, Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros, and lots of new shirt designs. First Friday canvas bags are available for $10 with all proceeds benefiting Fox Valley El Sistema’s strings in schools program.   If These Walls Could Talk, 32 S. Stolp Ave., is open with a solo art opening from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. The show continues throughout the month of February.   It’s a birthday party at the David L. Pierce Art and History Center, 20 E. Downer Pl. Aurora Historical Society is opening a new exhibit, “The Life and Times of William A. Tanner, 1815-1892,”  with a reception celebrating Mr. Tanner’s 200th birthday. The society is also unveiling a new fund, “The Birthday Fund,” that will support various printing expenses for biographical and tour materials at the Tanner House.   Paramount’s Grand Gallery on the theater’s second floor is hosting a new exhibit from 6 to 9  p.m. featuring the work of Nick Freeman, Scott Harding, and aspiring artists from North Central College.   It’s the Sin Show at the ArtBar this month. The ArtBar, in the tavern at Two Brothers Roundhouse, features more than two dozen local artists for one night only. Visit the ArtBar from 6 p.m. to midnight.   Allen and Pepa Architects, 121 W. Benton St., is hosting an event for the 3D sculpture artists and...

3 New Businesses Open Downtown Aurora...

When Tony Hunsberger was in the market for a storefront for his health insurance business, downtown Aurora became the perfect fit.   “It is so convenient,” Hunsberger said of his new downtown location at 40 W. Downer Pl.   Hunsberger, of Oswego, started searching for places close to his home after his previous office relocated to Oak Brook. He landed in downtown Aurora this summer. He said the zip code is just right for Health Markets, a health insurance office that assists clients who are largely served by the Affordable Care Act.   Aurora Downtown, a group of downtown business and property owners, was able to lend Hunsberger a hand in opening his new office with the rental subsidy program they launched this year.   “It worked out great,” said Hunsberger, who worked with Harriet Parker at the Small Business Development Center at Waubonsee Community College to develop a business plan.   The plan appealed to Aurora Downtown’s Business and Retention Committee (BAR), and Hunsberger’s Health Markets is one of three businesses that the committee picked to assist with a year’s worth of rental assistance, up to $10,000.   “It all just kind of came together,” Hunsberger said.   Matt Knowles, owner of All Spoked Up in Batavia, is also using Aurora Downtown’s rental assistance program to open up a second location in downtown Aurora.   Knowles is preparing to open the bicycle shop’s second location soon at 14 W. Downer Pl. in the old Metropolitan Business College building owned by Dan Hites.   All Spoked Up is opening in the suite formerly occupied by World Relief (who have since moved to LaSalle Street in downtown Aurora). Knowles is excited about the new downtown Aurora location, and said he hopes to open any day....