Art for the Public Opens May 29...

  Art for the Public: Rediscovering WPA-era Artwork in Aurora, an exhibit featuring images and pieces of Works Progress Administration-funded art projects in the city, will open Friday, May 29, at the Aurora Public Arts Commission in the David L. Pierce Art and History building at 20 E. Downer Pl. in downtown Aurora.   Established by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the WPA is credited with helping to pull the nation out of the depths of the Depression by employing millions on public works projects, including thousands of artists, musicians, writers, actors and directors for fine arts projects.  Art for the Public highlights some of the ongoing research, recent discoveries, and mysteries yet to be solved surrounding the artwork created in Aurora by WPA artists.   Art for the Public features images of many WPA murals that were created for Aurora, with a special focus on schools in the East and West Aurora School Districts. On display will be a portion of a 1934 mural by WPA artist Paul Stoddard, painted in the former West Aurora High School that has since been demolished. The mural, which depicts the story of writing, is currently undergoing restoration.   Images of “Landing of the Pilgrims,” a ‘lost’ mural on canvas painted by Emmanuel Jacobson in 1937 in Freeman Elementary School, will also be on display. Curator Mary Ann Signorelli calls the mural “one of the most exciting discoveries” among Aurora’s WPA artworks, after searches by Signorelli and school staff, armed with just an old photo of the mural, came up short. Its whereabouts in the school were a mystery until fifth-grade teacher Faith Greising spotted some chipped paint and called Signorelli. Portions of the brightly colored mural were spotted above the drop ceiling, while everything below remains coated in...

First Fridays June 5: Outdoor Music; 15 Venues & More!...

On June 5, First Fridays in Downtown Aurora is adding musicians to the full roster of art openings. Jake Mack, JD Klatt, and Melissa Olson will perform outdoors as part of First Fridays’ free summer music and trolley offerings. Jake Mack and Melissa Olson will perform on Stolp Avenue at Millennium Plaza. Jake Mack is up first from 6 to 8 p.m., and Melissa Olson performs from 8 to 10 p.m. JD Klatt performs with his guitar at Downer Place and Stolp Avenue from 7 to 9 p.m. The free summer concerts will entertain patrons as they visit more than a dozen venues open with art, music, and more.   In June, the following venues are open for First Fridays.   Allen and Pepa Architects, 121 W. Benton St., shows “Explorations,” the work of Andy Christopolous. 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.   Paramount Theatre’s Grand Gallery, 23 E. Galena Blvd., hosts a free concert featuring blues musician John Primer at 7 p.m. Blues on the Fox poster artist Rex Bohn is the featured artist. 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.   The Künstlerhaus, 114 S. River St., features The Painter’s Painter Show, a duo exhibition with Martin Soto and Rafael Rocha Jr. 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.   Emergent, a pop-up gallery at 14 W. Downer Pl. Suite 16, shows the works of several guest artists. 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.   If These Walls Could Talk, 32 S. Stolp Ave., displays magical scenes from the world’s circuses and carnivals captured by photographers Mike Smith and Chuck Isdale. 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.   David L. Pierce Art and History Center, 20 E. Downer Pl., is open with three floors of exhibits. 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.   City Hall, 44 E. Downer Pl., opens...

A fond farewell to a librarian. Diane Christian retires....

Guest column by Amy Roth Library to bid farewell to beloved retiring children’s librarian Diane Christian   I was honored to be interviewed during a live broadcast by the Western DuPage Special Recreation Association Video Ventures team last week at the Comcast Cable Television Studio in Elmhurst.   Video Ventures is a weekly activity for people ages 16 and older with disabilities who are interested in gaining skills in videotaping, interviewing, and camera work.   One of the questions I was asked was how the new Richard and Gina Santori Library would be different from other libraries in the area.   I didn’t have to think about the answer for long. It’s not just the building that makes a difference in a community, though the Santori Library is an amazing, state-of-the-art edifice. It’s the people. The building is just a box until you put library staff and community members into it. Then it becomes alive.   No one knows this better than Diane Christian, who will end her career as the Children’s Department Coordinator on June 1 after working for 40-1/2 years in the Main Library.   Although she has worked in the same building all those years, it was the people who came in and out the doors – not the doors themselves – that had meaning.   Christian is retiring just a week after the Main Library closes its doors for good. She will work in the Richard and Gina Santori Public Library of Aurora for just five days.   Diane Christian is the ultimate professional. She has loved her job and done it well, and I have the feeling she doesn’t think there needs to be a lot of hoopla surrounding her retirement.   Well, we are going to have some...

Rex Bohn and John Primer at the Paramount for First Fridays...

The Paramount Theatre is pleased to announce the opening of its June Art Gallery Exhibit: THE BLUES ILLUSTRATIONS OF REX BOHN featuring a retrospective of blues posters and illustrations since the inception of the Blues on the Fox Festival 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 as part of First Fridays on June 5, 2015 from 6 – 10 p.m. The First Friday event is free and open to the public. Please join us to support the arts in Aurora, meet the artist and discuss his work. The exhibit will hang from June 1, 2015 through July 31, 2015 as part of the ever growing “Paint the Town Blue” movement in support of the popular Blues on the Fox Festival. In addition to the art gallery opening, the Fox Valley Music Foundation will be hosting a FREE concert in the Grand Gallery of the Paramount Theatre at 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora, IL featuring Legendary Blues musician John Primer.  The concert, which will start at 7 p.m., will be the official Kick off for numerous Blues festivities planned throughout  the month of June by the Fox Valley Music Foundation, and was made possible through a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. For more information visit:...

First Fridays featured artist: Andy Christopoulos...

Andy Christopoulos _________________________________________________________ Andy Christopoulos is opening “Explorations” at Allen + Pepa Architects on June 5 as part of First Fridays in Downtown Aurora. _________________________________________________________ “I’m an explorer and artist.” _ Q: Where did you grow up, and who was the first person to inspire you?   A: I grew up with my mother and twin sister in Chicago and Skokie, IL.   The first person to inspire me, in life and art, was my uncle Michael Henning. He introduced me to great music, art, and design. He continues to inspire everyday.   Q: What do you tell people when they ask you what you do?   A: When people ask me to define myself by what I do I tell them, “I’m an explorer and artist.”   Q: What are you most proud of creatively?   A: I am very proud, and honored, to have had the opportunity to design the Ashley White-Stumpf Memorial, at Fort Bragg. She was an amazing woman who gave her life in service to us and our country. There is a book about her story which will soon be a movie, I suggest reading her story. She’s a huge inspiration to me, I think about her and her story everyday.   Q: When did you first realize that you were an artist? Was it a conscious choice or did you have an “Aha!” moment?   A: I was about 5 years old, my uncle and I lived in the same apartment. During this time he was an architect student at UIC. Laying around the apartment were his books, drawings, models, and art. I remember I took one look at all this amazing stuff, and said to myself, “Oh, yeah! This is for me! I want to create!” I’ve...