First Fridays is Sept. 4: Downer Block Party & More...

First Fridays celebrates the last of summer with a party along Downer Place, and more throughout downtown Aurora on September 4.   Downer Place businesses will be open with art, dancing, music, and a grand opening. A variety of food vendors will join them outside along the sidewalk and street.   Gobble Doggs, a food truck serving turkey hot dogs, and Keya’s Mini Donuts will be among the food vendors parked along Downer Place just west of Stolp Avenue.   Live, outdoor concerts complete the summer music series at Millennium Plaza on Stolp Avenue and feature musicians Jake Mack from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Melissa Olson from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. J.D. Klatt performs at the Sculpture Garden outside of the David L. Pierce Art and History Center from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.   Pick up a free First Fridays passport at any of the 15 venues. Return the punched passport at the last venue visited for a chance to win a First Fridays goody bag.   In September, the following venues are open for First Fridays.   Santori Aurora Public Library, 101 S. River St., hosts an artist reception for the 57th Annual Aurora Art League Members Show. 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.   Mission Possible, 61 – 63 S. Broadway, is open with a variety of activities. From 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at 63 S. Broadway, graffiti artist, Milton Coronado, will return with a new display of aerosol paintings. Joining Coronado will be an international representation of the Gospel Graffiti Crew.   Visit Gospel Graffiti Crew across the street on Broadway for an outdoor, live painting demonstration. Wall murals and other works will be displayed in a slideshow format with discussion to follow.   Pastor Steve VanDenend...

ARTS-A-PALOOZA: A Day of Learning the Arts in Downtown Aurora this September...

Teach and learn the arts in downtown Aurora on Sept. 12. Join in on the art-filled fun of Arts-a-palooza. Several venues will host classes. Sign up here to teach or attend one of the classes. Some of the events: Dance performances Art classes Clown class Batik for kids & more! Sign up for Arts-a-palooza today!...

Oklahoma! at the Paramount this September...

Oklahoma!, directed by Artistic Director Jim Corti, promises to be the musical everyone will be talking about this fall. Wower of Chicagoland audiences and critics alike since launching its own, self-produced Broadway series four years ago, the Paramount’s fifth consecutive Broadway Series kicks off with the epic, much-loved debut collaboration between Rodgers and Hammerstein about turn of the century American pioneers. Previews start September 16. Press opening is Saturday, September 19 at 8 p.m. Regular performances continue through October 18. Show times are Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Thursday at 7 p.m.;Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sunday at 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $41 to $56. The Paramount Theatre is located at 23 E. Galena Blvd., in the heart of downtown Aurora. For tickets and information, go toParamountAurora.com, call (630) 896-6666, or visit the Paramount box office Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and two hours prior to evening performances. Oklahoma! is rated...

New Art Exhibit Opens at the DLP Art and History Center...

The Aurora Public Art Commission has opened its exciting new fall show, “Faces Among Found Objects.” The show features the work of nine artists: Bill Austin, Gary Brown, Joe Eddy Brown, Charles Heinrich, Tom Mahady, Kip Pasta, Greg Halvorsen Schreck in collaboration with Mark Woodworth and Anton Witek. The title, “Faces Among Found Objects,” suggests a unifying factor for the art andartists. Each piece either features a face or was made out of found objects, and in some cases both criteria apply. “I chose this outwardly descriptive title so that it would include these nineartists in an obvious way, but the underlying factor in my selection is that each of these creative people continues to influence me through their art and their friendships,” Guest Curator Bill Austin said. “They are multidimensional individuals who take the creation of art seriously but never cease to find the humor and adventure of life.” “Faces Among Found Objects” runs through October 31, and can be viewed during gallery hours of Wednesdays through Saturdays, 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., at the David L. Pierce Art & History Center, 20 E. Downer Place.  Admission is...

Santori Library Opens Up Outdoors to Children and More...

Two gardens on the west side of the Richard and Gina Santori Public Library of Aurora will be dedicated at 11:15 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 15. The ceremony is open to the public.   The Parker Garden, which will be open to all but was designed especially for those affected by memory loss, is being donated to the Aurora Public Library through the library’s foundation by the family of Dr. M. Jack and Elaine Parker, formerly of Aurora.   Elaine Parker was a noted Aurora educator who was suffering from dementia when she died in June, 2012. Jack Parker, who died in March, 2012, was her husband for 60 years and took on the role of providing 24-hour care for Elaine in her later years so they could remain living independently in their home.   The garden will have a single gated entry/exit (on the exterior of the library) with a pleasant signal when the gate is opened. Other features of the garden will include thorn-free, nontoxic and easily replanted greenery and areas for caregivers to relax.   The Juvenile Protective Association Children’s Nature Garden will be a magical place for the children of Aurora to play, read, learn and discover nature. It will be accessible only through the interior of the library through the Kiwanis Children’s Center. Features of the garden are nature art tables, waterfalls with slate art walls, reading gazebos, a fairy garden, jumping stones, a “prairie” path, flower “beds,” and a gathering tree for storytimes, playing and much more.   Lane and Rebecca Allen of Allen + Pepa Architects donated the design of the space. Lane Allen serves on the Aurora Public Library Foundation Board.   The Juvenile Protective Association made a donation of $50,000 to the Aurora Public Library Foundation...