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Storytime & Craft at Culture Stock

February 17 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am

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Date:
February 17
Time:
10:00 am - 11:00 am
Event Categories:
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Culture Stock

Venue

Culture Stock
43 E. Galena Blvd.
Aurora, IL 60505 United States
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First Fridays features handful of concerts on March 2 in downtown Aurora

Posted by on Feb 16, 2018 in Featured News | Comments Off on First Fridays features handful of concerts on March 2 in downtown Aurora

First Fridays features handful of concerts on March 2 in downtown Aurora

First Fridays features a night of live music on March 2. Along with half a dozen art openings, the month’s themed “Music Hop” highlights a handful of concerts in downtown Aurora. Aurora Public Art Commission hosts The Ready Freddies, a (mostly) female Queen tribute band. They perform from 8 to 9:30 p.m. on the third floor at the David L. Pierce Art and History Center, 20 E. Downer Pl. “Nevertheless: Women Depicting Women, an invitational show curated by new public art director Jen Evans, continues. Fox Valley Orchestra Bassist Jeremy Beyer brings his quintet, Chicago Hot Fives, from 7:30 to 9 p.m. to Gallery 1904, 1 E. Benton St., for an evening of jazz music. The gallery also opens “All About Water,” an exhibit of watercolor artists and other interpretive pieces pertaining to water. 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. M.U.S.I.C. Mondays comes to First Fridays as Culture Stock, 43 E. Galena Blvd., invites popular regulars to the stage to perform favorite tunes. 6 to 9 p.m. Live music is also featured at Endiro Coffee, 29 W. New York St. from 6 to 9 p.m. A DJ visits Leland Legends starting at 8 p.m., and Gremlen Recording Studios, 130 W. Downer Pl., offers karaoke from 6 to 9 p.m. Also at First Fridays, visit pop up shops at Aurora Regional Fire Museum, Zen Loft Wellness Center and All Spoked Up, and ride the free trolley from 6 to 10 p.m. Art openings, live music, and more are featured at First Fridays on March 2 at several locations throughout downtown including: Waubonsee Community College Aurora Downtown campus library, 18 S. River St., hosts “In/Visibility: Hmong America and the Art of Storytelling.” 6 to 8:30 p.m. Aurora Historical Society, 20 E. Downer Pl., hosts Alderman Sherman Jenkins for a book signing of “Ted Strong, Jr.: the Untold Story.” 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Aurora Public Library, 101 S. River St., hosts “Drinking the Whole Tree,” tastings and demos by Endiro Coffee. 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd. hosts the Grand Gallery’s opening artist reception. 7 to 9 p.m. If These Walls Could Talk, 32 S. Stolp Ave., opens “Whimsicology,” a solo show featuring the colorful and whimsical mixed media work of Laura Lynne. 7 to 10 p.m. The ArtBar, 205 N. Broadway, hosts “The Dog Show” in the tavern at Two Brothers Roundhouse. Jeffrey Brooks photography in the lounge. 6 p.m. to midnight Fox Art Studio, 9 S. Stolp Ave., continues “Jim Zimmer: Recent Collage Work” and “Dada Soul Face.” 6 to 9 p.m. The Web, 134 W. Downer Pl., hosts “The Coven,”featuring artists including Lucky Eye Ink, Sandra Law, Teresa Fiehn, Roz Anomaly, and Desiree Franklin. 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. Gillerson’s Grubbery, 33 W. New York St., welcomes Goose Island starting at 6 p.m. Enjoy samples and swag. AKA Dance, 14 W. Downer Pl., invites patrons to a live rehearsal for their next dance competition. 6 to 7 p.m. Culture Stock, 43 E. Galena Blvd., is open with Respect the Mic, a spoken word open mic. 9 to 10:30 p.m. SciTech, 18 W. Benton St., hosts the traveling exhibit “Climate Change Oceans: Acid vs. Life.” 6 to 8 p.m. Indie Studio Space, 105 E. Galena Blvd., hosts a grand opening for member Chicago Fun. 5 to 8 p.m....

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Soon-to-open downtown Aurora candy shop offers online ordering in time for Valentine’s Day

Posted by on Feb 6, 2018 in Featured News | Comments Off on Soon-to-open downtown Aurora candy shop offers online ordering in time for Valentine’s Day

Soon-to-open downtown Aurora candy shop offers online ordering in time for Valentine’s Day

Aurora Botanicals, Gourmets and Sweets might not be open yet, but they have an online store that will make any candy fan happy. Owner Kristin Ludwig posted on the store’s Facebook page that they are now selling sugar paint cans starting at $7. The website directs customers to “Pick your favorite color, and let us mix you up a sugary can of our exquisite candies. Each can includes a decorative and delicious blend of whipped taffy, melt-in-your-mouth fruity cubes, super-shiny gum balls, and funky striped candy balls! Every size includes a daisy flower-pop, and larger sizes also include a swirled and twisted lollypop. Every paint can is topped with sugar straws and a sheer golden ribbon, and come packed in a gift box with matching tissue, making our cans a ready-to-go gift!” Ludwig said she has already had some orders come in since the post. She suggests that orders are placed soon in order to arrive in time for Valentine’s Day. If local, she added that pick up could be arranged. Order...

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Paramount announces historic 2018-2019 season ending with brand new musical

Posted by on Feb 5, 2018 in Featured News | Comments Off on Paramount announces historic 2018-2019 season ending with brand new musical

Paramount announces historic 2018-2019 season ending with brand new musical

For the first time in its history, Aurora’s Paramount Theatre will present a brand new musical. August Rush, a world premiere co-production with Arlington Virginia’s Signature Theatre, was announced today as the thrilling finale of Paramount’s 2018-19 Broadway series. Internationally acclaimed director John Doyle, who earned a Tony Award for Sweeney Todd and also staged the Broadway revival of The Color Purple starring Jennifer Hudson, will direct this new live stage adaption of the Oscar-nominated Warner Brothers film about a musically gifted orphan and his search for his birth parents. The movie August Rushstarred Robin Williams, Keri Russell and Freddie Highmore and earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song. August Rush, debuting April 24-June 2, 2019 at the Paramount, press opening Saturday, April 27 at 8 p.m., will be preceded in the theater’s 2018-19 Broadway series by three more blockbuster productions: Legally Blonde (September 5-October 21, 2018), The Wizard of Oz (November 14, 2018-January 6, 2019) and The Producers (February 6-March 17, 2019). Just as it has since it launched its first Broadway Musical Series in 2011, Paramount will offer the same “Buy Two Shows, Get Two Shows Free” subscription offer, with 2018-19 four-play packages starting as low as $72. Renewals begin today, Monday, February 5 at 10 a.m., with current subscribers given first chance to secure their seats for all four shows. During the renewal process, new subscribers can pre-order before the general public to get in line for seats. Pre-order reservations can be made online only at ParamountAurora.com for the first week. Starting Monday, February 12 at 10 a.m., new subscribers can pre-order over the phone or in person as well. Single tickets go on sale in June. For information, visit ParamountAurora.com, call (630) 896-6666, or visit theParamount Theatre box office, 23 E. Galena Blvd. in downtown...

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$2.5 million kicks off Paramount’s Act2 campaign to launch series of projects in downtown Aurora

Posted by on Jan 25, 2018 in Featured News | Comments Off on $2.5 million kicks off Paramount’s Act2 campaign to launch series of projects in downtown Aurora

$2.5 million kicks off Paramount’s Act2 campaign to launch series of projects in downtown Aurora

Aurora’s Paramount Theatre announced it has been awarded its largest grant ever – a $2.5 million donation from the Dunham Fund. The Dunham Fund’s lead grant toward the $4.5 million goal of the Act 2 Capital Campaign will support three major areas of expansion and improvement: ⦁ Creation of the new Paramount School of Performing Arts in downtown Aurora in the new John C. Dunham Aurora Arts Center, currently under construction at the intersection of Galena Boulevard and Stolp Avenue, directly adjacent to the Paramount. Slated to open in January 2019, the Paramount School of Performing Arts will encourage and train young actors, dancers and musicians for a culture-filled life, nurture the arts in Chicago’s western suburbs and add to the excitement, cultural and economic activity in Aurora’s downtown business district. ⦁ The replacement of every Paramount Theatre seat through a dollar-for-dollar matching grant. All 1,888 original seats have served more than eight million visitors since the Paramount Theatre opened in 1931. Already through this important campaign, Paramount patrons have donated funds for the replacement of more than 400 seats. Installation of the seats will begin this summer, and audiences can look forward to all new, larger and more comfortable seats thanks to the Dunham Fund’s matching grant. ⦁ Modernization of the Paramount’s 173-seat sister stage, the Copley Theatre, located in North Island Center directly across the street from the Paramount. Act 2 Capital Campaign funds will support much-needed upgrades and improvements in the Copley, built in 1981, including replacement of carpeting and seats, updating technical equipment, expanded restrooms, new heating and air conditioning systems and remodeled backstage and dressing areas. These improvements will boost cultural and economic activity even further in downtown Aurora, making the space suitable for smaller shows, as well as a debut venue for a new works program at the Paramount. Civic leaders, Paramount supporters and members of the press gathered inside Aurora’s North Island Center at a press conference today for the official kick-off of the Act 2 capital fundraising campaign and the announcement of the Dunham Fund’s unprecedented lead grant. Former Aurora Mayor Thomas J. Weisner, an original advocate of the Paramount’s bold move in 2010 to transform itself from a touring house to a producer of its own award-winning Broadway musical series, is Chair of the Paramount’s Act 2 Capital Campaign. Weisner began by announcing that Bruce Goldsmith and Ed Schmitt, Jr. will serve as honorary co-chairs for the Act 2 Capital Campaign. “In appointing Bruce and Ed as honorary co-chairs – each of them deserving in his own right – we wish to honor the memory of their respective parents, Anne Goldsmith and Ed Schmitt, Sr., both of whom were unmatched in their love and support of the Paramount,” said Weisner. Weisner also recognized other Act 2 committee members including Christina DeGustino, Bruce Grider, Hon. R. Peter Grometer, Jonathan Hylton, Brian Konen, Terence Kothe, Gary McMann, Matt Miller, Donald Pilmer, Esther Saltijeral, John Savage, William Small, Jr. and Scott Voris. “We are also here to celebrate the Dunham Fund’s magnificent boost to our capital campaign’s launch with its generous $2.5 million donation,” said Weisner. “Dunham’s incredible support has been a key to the revitalization of the Paramount Theater, helping spur its growth in just six years to capture the third largest...

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First Fridays hosts gallery night featuring downtown photography, all-woman art show on Feb. 2

Posted by on Jan 25, 2018 in Featured News | Comments Off on First Fridays hosts gallery night featuring downtown photography, all-woman art show on Feb. 2

First Fridays hosts gallery night featuring downtown photography, all-woman art show on Feb. 2

  First Fridays is a monthly offering of arts and culture in downtown Aurora. Visit participating venues and explore downtown on the first Friday of the month. First Fridays is art, music and more! Free trolley rides from 6 to 10 p.m. Join us for FIRST FRIDAYS * GALLERY NIGHT on Feb. 2. See you at First Fridays! Pick up a map at any venue. A R T 1 If These Walls Could Talk, 32 S. Stolp Ave. “Essence: Amanda Meyer” Conceptual Photography from artist Amanda Meyer* 7 to 10 p.m. 2 Aurora Regional Fire Museum, 53 N. Broadway Images of the Aurora Fire Department: Photographs by Jim DeSomer Pop Up Shops 5 to 8 p.m. 3 The ArtBar @ Two Brothers Roundhouse Euphoria Show^ Josh Schultz^ 6 to midnight 4 Fox Art Studio, 9 S. Stolp Ave. Jim Zimmer: Recent Collage Work* Dada Soul Face* 6 to 9 p.m. 5 Aurora Public Art Commission, 20 E. Downer Pl. NEVERTHELESS: Women Depicting Women* 6 to 8 p.m. 6 Gallery 1904, 1 E. Benton St. Identity/PEOPLE^ 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. 7 Metropolitan Coworking, 14 W. Downer Ste. 16 Documenting Downtown: A Photo Show* East Aurora Jazz Ensemble 6 to 9 p.m. 8 Santori Public Library, 101 S. River St. Storytelling: Hmong American Voices* 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. 9 The Web, 134 W. Downer Pl. Josue Paiz^ 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. *Opening night ^One night only M U S I C 10 Endiro Coffee, 29 W. New York St. Live music: Olivia Ports Art by Marisa Muro 6 to 9 p.m. 11 River’s Edge Cafe, 14 W. Downer Blvd. Ste. 18 Ben & Jecelyn Shankin Open until 9 p.m. 12 Gremlen Recording Studios, 130 W. Downer Pl. Karaoke and Open House 6 to 9 p.m. M O R E 13 Gillerson’s Grubbery, 33 W. New York St. Sweetwater Brewery Free glassware with draft purchase 6 p.m. until gone! 14 AKA Dance, 14 W. Downer Pl. Family Game Night 6 to 7:30 p.m. 15 Culture Stock 43 E. Galena Blvd. Respect the Mic 9 to 10:30 p.m. 16 SciTech, 18 W. Benton St. Frozen Fractals Student Art Show “Climate Change Oceans: Acid vs. Life” 6 to 8 p.m. 17 Oddlots Gallery @ Holbrook Mill, 121 W. Benton St. 1000 Words by Jean Hess Misty River Music Makers at 7 p.m. 6 to 9 p.m 18 Indie Studio Space, 105 E. Galena Blvd. Showcase: Bruce Jones 5 to 8 p.m. 19 Zen Loft Wellness Center, 6 W. Downer Pl. $5 Mini Classes, Demos, Massage 6 to 9 p.m. 20 All Spoked Up, 14 W. Downer Pl. Ste. 12 Pop Ups: Wheatley Design/Studio88 5 to 9 p.m. 21 Christian Science Reading Room, 34 S. Stolp Ave. Free kids crafts 6 to 9 p.m. T R O L L E Y 1) GAR Museum, 23 E. Downer Pl. 2) Fire Museum, 53 N. Broadway (rear lot) 3) Restaurant Row on New York St. @ River St. 4) Santori Public Library, 101 S. River St. 5) SciTech Museum, 18 W. Benton St. Visit the Facebook invite...

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Who’s downtown? This week: Elizabeth Sturm

Posted by on Jan 24, 2018 in Featured News | Comments Off on Who’s downtown? This week: Elizabeth Sturm

Who’s downtown? This week: Elizabeth Sturm

Meet the people who make downtown tick. Learn who works in some of our architectural treasures, discover who keeps downtown looking beautiful, and see who you might pass on the street when you’re in the neighborhood. Join us in learning about those who are downtown Aurora. Who’s Downtown Q&A with Elizabeth Sturm Q: What are you involved with in downtown? A: I am vice president of the Aurora Regional Fire Museum (ARFM) board of directors. In addition to serving on the board, I also help with exhibits, educational programs, and the Harry Potter Festival. I also help my daughter with Aurora, IL Rocks. We paint positive and/or funny messages and pictures on rocks and leave them in downtown public areas to spread positivity. We recently had a painting night downtown and had approximately 40 people attend. I can’t wait to place all of the rocks around that were painted that night. Q: What’s your day job?  A: I am an Assistant Professor of Special Education at Lewis University in Romeoville. I have the privilege of teaching future teachers! Q: How did you get involved downtown? A: I moved to Aurora about four years ago. When visiting the museum, I became involved at the urging of the former curator, David Lewis. He then made it his mission to introduce my husband and me around and helped us to fall in love with our new hometown. Q: What is your background? A: My background is in gemology and teaching, but I also had a lot of former experience in theatrical design. Q: What keeps you active in downtown? A: The energy generated by so many people working to improve Aurora. I love that so much happens at the grassroots level and how passionate people are about making Aurora a cultural destination. Q: What are you working on now? A: We have started planning for the museum’s participation in the Harry Potter Festival. Last year we had 2,000 visitors during the festival, and we’re planning on making it bigger and better. We’re also going to have more rock painting parties. Q: Any hobbies or favorite things to do when you’re not working or volunteering? A: I am a genealogy buff and spend a lot of time researching in that field. I also love the beach, so I spend as much time there as possible. Q: What are you hoping to accomplish in 2018? A: I need to work on achieving more balance in my life, and by that, I mean a balance between work and fun. I tend to be work oriented so I’m trying to build in more fun opportunities that are not work-related. Even though I’ve been a ARFM board member for several years I still haven’t gotten a ride on one of our vehicles so I’m angling for one this year. I’d also like to attend more of Bob Lockwood’s Friday morning Creative Angle meetups. I have learned so many interesting things from those morning seminars and they fill my soul with energy to go out and create. Q: What is your favorite thing about downtown? A: We have so many diverse events downtown. We’re Paramount season ticket holders and have attended quite a few RiverEdge Park shows also. I’ve attended the various festivals on Water Street Mall and at RiverEdge Park,...

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First rooftop solar system in downtown Aurora generates renewable energy, other benefits

Posted by on Jan 4, 2018 in Featured News | Comments Off on First rooftop solar system in downtown Aurora generates renewable energy, other benefits

First rooftop solar system in downtown Aurora generates renewable energy, other benefits

Local collaborators are celebrating the power of the sun in the “City of Lights” with the completion of a state-of-the-art solar energy generation project in downtown Aurora. In December, a new 56.7 kilowatt (kW) solar power system was installed on the rooftop of the 113-year-old Carnegie library building at 1 E. Benton St., the former home of Aurora’s Main Public Library and now home to Support Techs. This renewable energy system is the first of its kind in Aurora’s historic downtown business district on Stolp Island.After acquiring the former Aurora Public Library building in December 2015, owners of The Support Companies researched ways to reduce operating costs while “going green.” This solar solution was selected to reduce CO2 emissions, reduce dependency on utility companies, and reduce costs over the long term. The new solar photovoltaic (PV) system is projected to reduce 58.72 tons of carbon emissions per year by generating 71,615 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity in 2018.  The entire project took less than two months to complete. Michelle Knox, owner of WindSolarUSA designed the rooftop system to feature American-made products. Installation teams from local solar professionals at Rethink Electric in Geneva completed the project ahead of schedule.“The city of Aurora’s Building and Permits department was instrumental in making this project a reality. Their advice and efficient processes helped us meet our tight December deadline,” Knox said. “This was a collaborative effort,” she added.Economic advantages of the rooftop system include positive cash flow of $98,285 generated over the life of the system, a 30% federal tax credit, State of Illinois Renewable Energy Credits, and the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS). Solar project developers like WindSolarUSA are responsible for understanding current incentives and educating owners throughout the design and installation process. American-made products chosen for the installation include 189 SolarWorld 300 watt photovoltaic modules and a Unirac ballasted system. A plus was that no penetrations were required to the building’s roof. An expansion to increase the system size by another 25% is in the planning phase.  “With new products available today, installations occur faster and more reliably,” said Rethink Electric owner Mike Nicolosi. “Cutting installation costs reduces reliance on purchased power and increases return on investment,” Nicolosi said. Rethink Electric installs alternative energy systems of every scale.“The price of solar has dropped over 60% in the last ten years,” said Rebekah Axtell, a local grassroots community organizer. “This project proves it’s definitely worth the time to stay updated as renewable energy and technology markets evolve,” she added.Axtell invited Knox and Illinois Solar Energy Association educators to speak at Eco-Week events, which she co-hosted June 2015 in conjunction with Aurora Greenfest. “Transitioning to renewable energy technologies while preserving meaningful community architecture is a two-fold investment in the quality of life for future generations,” Axtell said.The system went live on Dec. 21, Winter Solstice, the shortest day and longest night of the year. Now as the days grow longer, the sun is helping to power bright new initiatives in this historic building. In the lower level once known as the library’s “Young People’s Department,“ a community arts and culture space, Gallery 1904, opened recently.  It is aptly named after the year the Carnegie library first opened. Gallery 1904 is open monthly to the public for downtown Aurora’s First Fridays events. Opportunities for group...

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Who’s downtown? This week: Dan Barreiro

Posted by on Jan 3, 2018 in Featured News | Comments Off on Who’s downtown? This week: Dan Barreiro

Who’s downtown? This week: Dan Barreiro

Meet the people who make downtown tick. Learn who works in some of our architectural treasures, discover who keeps downtown looking beautiful, and see who you might pass on the street when you’re in the neighborhood. Join us in learning about those who are downtown Aurora. Who’s Downtown Q&A with Dan Barreiro Q: What is your title? A: Chief Community Services Officer, City of Aurora   Q: How do you spend your day in that role? A:  As the Chief Community Services Officer, I have day-to-day oversight of the Community Services Division with a budget of 6.5 million. My team includes Customer Service, Special Events, Neighborhood Redevelopment, Public Art, and Youth and Senior Services. Our division is small (10 full-time and nine part-time), but we have a large impact on the community.  I have the opportunity to help the community in a wide range of areas.  I spend some of my time on administrative tasks but most of my time is spent working with community organizations on partnership initiatives. For example, we will be planning a Mass Care Shelter Drill in 2018, and we will need partners to test our capacity. I am a behind-the-scenes person, but I have a hand in many initiatives supporting my staff as needed. On occasion, I wear different hats due to staff turnover. During those times, I have been more hands on and I appreciate my staff even more.        Q: How long have you worked for the city? A: I have been in this position since 2006 and with the city since 1988.     Q: What is your background? A:   I received a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science (Local Government) and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from NIU.  My career at the city includes working in the Mayor’s Office, Human Resources, the Finance Department, and Community Services.   Q: What downtown projects have you worked on? A:  My first downtown project was the Pinney Street SSA which funded the deck on the rear side of the buildings on West New York Street. The project also provided screening of the garbage containers which improved the aesthetics of the businesses. My most recent projects were the Heart of America Mural and the Downtown Public Art Mural Request for Proposal (RFP). The RFP was awarded to the GreenLife Media group for a mural on LaSalle and Benton. The Heart of America Mural is located on the 2nd floor of the Santori Public Library.   I was also part of the team that saw substantial completion of the Grand Army of the Republic Museum (GAR) that resulted in its opening in 2016. I attended the 2017 Illinois Association of Museums to receive an award on behalf of the city for the GAR’s recognition as small institution of the year.     Q: What are you working on now? A:  Implementation of city goals for 2018. As a division we will be working on youth program evaluation, develop a capacity building program for Neighborhood Groups, Implementation of the Section 108 Revolving Loan Fund to support small businesses, promote grass roots organization events that bring visitors to Aurora, Improve the Customer Relations Management System resolution time, and amend the Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Area Plan.   Another exciting event is our annual Experience Aurora Homeownership Expo. This...

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2018 Events List for Downtown Aurora

Posted by on Dec 31, 2017 in Featured News | Comments Off on 2018 Events List for Downtown Aurora

2018 Events List for Downtown Aurora

2017 was a year full of festive events in downtown Aurora, and 2018 looks to be continuing the trend of an ongoing community party in the heart of the state’s second largest city. Aurora Downtown, a nonprofit group of business and property owners within downtown Aurora’s Special Service Area (SSA) #One, will continue to sponsor and host several events in downtown including First Fridays, a night of art and culture, and Second Saturdays, a summertime event with family-friendly activities. The group is also teaming with Aurora’s Harry Potter Festival for a two-day festival, and will partner with Family Focus for Roots Aurora, as well as the City of Aurora for Winter Lights. Take a look at the full list of exciting events in the New Year brought to you by Aurora Downtown, City of Aurora, and other local groups. Please note that there is no First Fridays in January or July. First Fridays returns on Feb. 2 with art, music, and more plus free trolley rides. Second Saturdays runs from May through September with the exception of June.  February 2. First Fridays March 2. First Fridays 24. Egg Hunt on the Island 29. Museums After Dark April 6. First Fridays 21. Fox River Arts Ramble May 4. First Fridays/Food Truck Festival 12. Second Saturdays 19. Aurora Kite Festival 28. Memorial Day Parade June 1. First Fridays “Illinois Bicentennial” 9 & 10. Aurora’s Harry Potter Festival 20. Wednesdays at the Plaza 21. Museums After Dark July *No First Fridays* 4. 4th of July Parade 14. Second Saturdays 15. On the Wall Hip Hop Festival 18. Wednesdays at the Plaza August 3. First Fridays/Stolp Island Block Party/Roots Aurora 11. Second Saturdays 15. Wednesdays at the Plaza 25. Alley Art Festival TBA. LaSalle Street Auto Row Car Show September 7. First Fridays “Happy 30th Birthday SciTech!” 8. Second Saturdays 20. Museums After Dark October 5. First Fridays “Happy 50th Birthday Fire Museum!” 6. Cock-A-Doodle Brew Fest 13. Octo Street Fest 27. Trick-or-Treat in Downtown Aurora November 2. First Fridays/Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) Celebrations 16. Winter Lights Festival December 7. First Fridays “Cocoa Crawl” To find out more about events as they happen, like and follow events at “Aurora Downtown” on Facebook here. Also, sign up for our newsletter on the home...

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New public art director puts focus on community-led experiences

Posted by on Dec 26, 2017 in Featured News | Comments Off on New public art director puts focus on community-led experiences

New public art director puts focus on community-led experiences

The city of Aurora welcomed Jen Evans this fall as the Aurora Public Art Commission’s new director after former director Rena Church retired in June. Evans first worked with Church and the commission in 2006 as a teacher for ArtWorks, a dual credit program for area high school students. In her new role as director, Evans wants “to provide residents with community-led experiences, education and leadership opportunities in the arts, contribute to the vibrancy of the city through public artwork, and oversee an alliance of cultural stakeholders in the city.” Evans is excited to add more public art within the city: “Something that is interactive with the community, and not just a static sculpture. Something that kids can climb on or in or through; something that’s just dying for a selfie, something that’s really engaging.” The “Swimming Stones,” the moving fountain sculpture located on Benton Street is a prime example of this sort of interactive public art, Evans added. It is this sort of engaging style that Evans is inspired by, and is the direction she hopes to follow for future installations downtown. Evans is also focused on education and engagement. She is looking to create opportunities for local artists and community members to give them space to lead and teach their own art classes and curate shows. Evans plans to utilize the space on the first floor of the David L. Pierce Art and History Center at 20 E. Downer Pl. for these informal art classes led by the community. “You can come organize a poetry slam, or you can come make a mess,” she said. She added that the focus does not even have to be on visual art. Evans is interested in promoting a sense of community cohesion and wants to use the space as a creative incubator, whether it’s open mic night, an artist lecture, or a story from a refugee, there will be untold spectacles and unique opportunities for public engagement and education, she said. Evans is the former Interim Executive Director of Water Street Studios in Batavia where she worked to professionalize and redesign the trajectory of the agency while overseeing its gallery, gift shop, and art school.  A former adjunct professor of art at Waubonsee Community College and the Art Institute of Illinois, Evans is a seasoned artist whose artwork has been on exhibit at the Paramount Theatre in Aurora, Fermi Lab in Batavia, the Ishikawa International Salon in Japan and at more than 30 other exhibitions over the past 13 years.  A city press release said that Evans brings a global perspective of art and culture to Aurora, having lived and worked in both America and Japan. Evans is among the small group of artists and community members who started Aurora’s Alley Art Festival in 2010. The third floor of the Pierce Center will continue to be a white-wall gallery space that will highlight artists from all over the country as well as local students for the annual Winter Garden of Youth show, celebrating its 20th year. Winter Garden of Youth can be visited from noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday until January 20. Aurora University interns Brendon Kolodziej and Victoria Alexander interviewed Jen Evans for this story. Editor’s note: The David L. Pierce Art and History Center at 20 E. Downer...

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