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  • November 13, 2017 8:53 AM | Kelsey Deters (Administrator)

    Quincy Public Library encourages parents to read with their children on Family Reading Night, Thursday, November 16, 2017.

    QPL has a wealth of books to engage readers through a wide selection of material to meet any interest.  In addition to print material, digital resources, including interactive storybooks, eBooks, audiobooks, graphic novels, and magazines for all ages are available to anyone with a valid QPL card.

    “Reading with your children, not just on Family Reading Night, but every night, is a great way to show your kids the importance of reading in their daily lives,” explained QPL Children’s Librarian Bill Waters. 

    Study after study has shown that family engagement in reading has a positive impact on children’s reading skills and on their readiness for school. Children who are read to learn to read and write more easily; understand instructions better; and listen to their teachers more often.

    There are lots of ways to engage your child with books and reading.

    • 1.       Make reading a daily habit, family time to enjoy sharing together
    • 2.       Ask your child to point to pictures in the book.
    • 3.       Ask your child to re-tell the story in their own words
    • 4.       Ask your child to act out characters from the story.

    It’s never too early to start reading with your child.  Babies from birth enjoy the comfort of hearing their parent’s voices and learn to engage with printed material at their own pace.  Place your baby or toddler in your lap to look at the book together.

    For ideas on fun, child-appropriate books, visit the children’s department at Quincy Public Library.

  • November 08, 2017 8:37 AM | Marketing (Administrator)

    All Wars Museum Open House

    Saturday, Nov. 11

    Noon to 4 pm

    It’s Quincy’s best kept secret.

    That’s how All Wars Museum Curator and Marine Corps Veteran, Bob Craig explained it to us as we toured the expansive collection spanning all major conflicts in American history.

    “There are so many places that the military and the arts world intersect,” Craig continued as he pointed toward a display of Revolutionary War-era heraldry and military insignia. “I think it would surprise people who have never visited our museum to see the great art and music made by or inspired by men and women who have served.”

    The All Wars Museum at the Illinois Soldiers and Sailors Home at 12th and Locust is not just a collection of military memorabilia, but is a treasure trove of stories about the men and women from the area who have served. The heart of the collection is made up of art created by local vets.

    Dan Waggoner, a Marine Corps Veteran who served during the Vietnam War, was among the artists we met with to learn more about the museum. Waggoner is a quiet and thoughtful man and is clearly passionate about what the museum adds to Quincy.

    “I hope that this community understands that this museum isn’t a monument to war, but it’s really about representing people and their stories,” Waggoner explained. “Everything here is a part of the fabric of freedom.”

    Waggoner has loved art his entire life, but had no idea that he had a real talent for oil painting until recently. In just over 2 years, he has completed over 60 portraits, including a set of 23 Adams County KIA (Killed in Action) veterans of the Vietnam War which are on display at the museum. He’s also begun painting the 23 KIA area soldiers who served in the Korean War. As Waggoner showed us his paintings, he pointed to each one with warmth and familiarity. Several of these men were his friends and classmates, and it’s clear what a personally meaningful project this has become for him.

    “When you get back from war, you wonder what you’re going to do. You bring back baggage. Art gives soldiers healing opportunities. I struggled for years and years to find a positive outlet, but creating this art feels like I’m giving something back,” he explained.

    “When I paint, I try to capture a bit of what each man was like in there. I want people to know a little about who they were. There is nothing that makes me feel better than when a family recognizes the personality of the soldier they lost in one of my paintings.”

    Joe Laratta, an Army Veteran who also served in Vietnam, has a big personality and equally big grin. He specializes in replicas and dioramas at the museum which he completes to exacting detail.

    “I’ll call a paint manufacturer to blend the right colors for a tank or I’ll research the sand color for a model of Normandy Beach,” said Laratta. “If you’re going to do something like this, you have to do it right. It respects the history to be accurate.”

    Laratta also cited the healing power of the arts for himself. “There’s nothing normal about war. Nothing normal about carrying around an M16 and looking for bad guys. This is a way to work through this stuff. Vets are basically a society within a society and sometimes we need this connection to feel normal.”

    Visitors will be surprised by the detail of even the enemy side of Laratta’s dioramas. For instance in one display, he vividly depicts the city-like life inside of the tunnels of the Vietcong.

    “I think students who tour the museum especially benefit from seeing both sides and thinking about what life was like,” Laratta told us. “A soldier is a soldier, and even across enemy lines, there is a certain respect there and things we have in common. That’s why I go to this level of detail on both sides of the conflict.”

    Laratta is one of they many volunteers who donate their time to the museum, which has no paid staff except for Craig. Craig wants museum visitors to know that every piece in the museum and every resident at the Veterans’ Home has a story. Those stories are what drive him to create his art projects, which include two seemingly disparate mediums: painting enormous murals and scratch crafting tiny miniature replicas of armament, soldiers and military vehicles.

    “I do this because sacrifice is meaningless without remembrance,” said Craig. “Every soldier has paid an awesome price to preserve our way of life, and this is my way of making sure we remember.”

    He said that the veteran-created art inspires conversations within the All Wars Museum that are a treasure all their own.

    “Veterans seem to relax here and tell their stories. A POW (Prisoner of War) that had been held in the Philippines was in here telling us about his experience,” said Craig. “It was good for him to tell his story and good for us to hear it. We’ve had German and Japanese ex-soldiers tour the museum and have commented on how thorough and fair the collection is. We often have Veteran’s Home residents sharing important historical moments- like [current resident] Bob Erickson who was the man that played Taps on his bugle at the final flag ceremony at the cease fire as the US was leaving Korea. I’m proud to be able to tell these stories.”

    Visitors can tour the All Wars Museum Tuesday–Saturday, from 9 am to 4 pm, and Sunday from 1 to 4 pm. The museum will also be holding a special Open House during Veteran’s Day weekend on Saturday, November 12 from noon to 4 pm with assistance from Arts Quincy. To make a donation to support the All Wars Museum’s art programs for veterans, send your check with notation that your donation is for the museum to: Illinois Veteran’s Home, 1702 N. 12th Street, Quincy IL 62305.

  • November 06, 2017 11:06 AM | Marketing (Administrator)

    In September, Culver-Stockton College’s Professor Deb Myers and seven students entered the 53rd Originale Art Show sponsored by the Hannibal Art Club—and all entries received recognition. This competition features original artwork from area artists.

    In the nonprofessional division, Linda Gower won the Brent Jacobson Memorial Achievement Award while Sherry Taylor and Amanda Brown won Excellence Awards. Merit Awards were won by Keelie O'Brien, Mary Phillips and Sherry Taylor. Nick Sorrill ’17 and Professor Deb Myers both won Merit Awards. Finally, Rachel Loyd Roundtree was the recipient of an Excellence Award in the professional division. 

    All are welcome to attend C-SC’s upcoming art events. On Thursday, Nov. 9, a reception will be held for the opening of the Joe Conover, Nick Kosciuk and Lisa Wiese art exhibit at 6 pm in the Mabee Art Gallery; the exhibit will be open weekdays, 9 am to 4 pm, until Wednesday, Dec. 13.

    On Saturday, Jan. 20, the College will be having its Senior Art Show Opening and Reception at 6 pm in the Mabee Art Gallery. This show will feature seniors like David Quach of Keokuk, Iowa. Quach will be displaying his art work that incorporates augmented reality; this will create an interactive experience for visitors.

  • November 02, 2017 8:39 AM | Marketing (Administrator)

    On December 3, 1818, with only 34,620 residents, Illinois became the nation's 21st state! The Historical Society of Quincy and Adams County is planning a year of activities to commemorate Illinois' 200th birthday!

    The kick off celebration will begin on Sunday, Nov. 5 at the History Museum when three local historians will examine the early history of Illinois. The afternoon will begin with a reception with the speakers at 1:15 pm. The presentations will begin at 2 pm with a program entitled "Visions and Decisions: Early Statehood of Illinois." The event is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the Historical Society of Quincy and Adams County and the Lincoln-Douglas Debate Interpretive Center.

    Historians will also discuss the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, which brought many settlers to what is now Illinois, and how the new state came to prohibit slavery. Speakers include Warren Speckhart, Dr. Neil Wright and Reg Ankrom.

    Descended from one of Adams County’s first pioneer families in far Western Illinois, Speckhart will discuss some of the traditional history passed down through the generations of his first family. Speckhart is a well known Adams County farmer and retired school teacher, and has been active in sharing the history of “old Adams.”

    Dr. Wright, assistant professor of political science at Quincy University, will examine the tensions—both personal and political—with which Thomas Jefferson struggled to envision a free republic in a land in which all but one state had legalized slavery. His topic will be, “Illinois, the Northwest Ordinance, and Thomas Jefferson’s Republican Vision.”

    Ankrom, local historian, will discuss the issue that nearly derailed Illinois’ attempt to become a state and the controversy it caused after statehood. The title of Ankrom’s talk will be, “Illinois: Slave State.”

    For more information about the program call 217-222-1835. For more information on local and statewide events visit

  • October 27, 2017 9:05 AM | Marketing (Administrator)

    This month’s Arts Quincy magazine features Susan Scholz (photo by Ryan Stark) who portrays Minerva Merrick. Minerva was an especially unique Quincyian whose earthly remains are interred at Woodland Cemetary. The following article, reprinted with permission from Beth Lane, recounts her curious tale.


    About 100 years ago in Quincy, the phrase "Til death us do part" acquired new meaning for one woman and her two husbands. Mrs. Minerva Merrick, after enjoying her first 40 years of married life, became the widow of Dr. Charles Merrick in 1876. He left her a wealthy woman, living in a large home on 3rd & Chestnut Street.

    After the passing of the doctor, she became interested in life after death and the study of spiritualism. This philosophy, based on the belief that spirits can communicate after death, rose in popularity in the early 1800s and flourished during and after the Civil War with its terrible loss of life. Many prominent people subscribed to these beliefs, including Mary Lincoln, Sir Author Conan Doyle and Mark Twain.

    In tribute to her husband's memory, Mrs. Merrick had constructed, at the substantial expense of $8,000, a lovely brick building named Merrick Hall. The building stood at the northwest corner of Fourth and Lind Streets and was used as a meeting hall and lecture venue for séances and spirit communication.

    Mrs. Merrick became a mainstay of the spiritualist movement in Quincy. She seized every possible chance to converse with her dearly departed husband through the agency of various mediums and believed that she was receiving direct communication from him. Quincy was a regular stop on the travelling spiritualist circuit, and Mrs. Merrick played host to many of them. She also promoted Spiritualism through her weekly publication called "A Fountain of Light." The circulation for this journal that was printed in Quincy included a geographical area of several states, although actual numbers of subscribers were few.

    In short order, she attracted the attention of Charles Orchardson, a distinguished looking older man, and his travelling companion, medium Vera P. Ava. Orchardson was the brother of well-known English portrait painter, William Orchardson, and by most accounts a talented painter himself. He was also a proponent of Karl Marx and the Communist Manifesto and sympathetic to anarchists.

    Vera P. Ava was an adventuress billing herself as a medium, who was wanted on various charges of fraud and theft as far away as New York City and as close as Elgin. She was short and blue-eyed, weighed more than two hundred pounds, and always wore padded wigs to hide a deformity.

    A few days later, Elgin Police detective Powers arrived and arrested Vera Ava for stealing money from a widow in his city. Orchardson and Ava had been boarding at the home of the widow Robinson at 827 N. Third, conveniently close to the Merrick estate. A short time later, Orchardson moved from the boarding house room he had shared with Ava into Mrs. Merrick's home. Mrs. Merrick was so fond of him she considered legally adopting the 45-year-old man, calling him the son she never had.

    A bound copy of the Merrick's "A Fountain of Light" can be found today in the Historical Society library. It offers a fascinating glimpse into Mrs. Merrick's thoughts: she was fervently in favor of women's suffrage and temperance, against "Free Love," concerned with the plight of the poor and orphans in Quincy, and outspokenly against the death penalty. She traveled twice to Missouri to petition the governor for clemency in the case of the two Talbot brothers, who had been sentenced to hang for the murder of their father. When she failed and they were hanged, she eulogized them in her paper.

    For some time both Mrs. Merrick and Orchardson quite contentedly wrote and published books and articles on their various philosophies, until a spirit communication changed everything. Mrs. Merrick was told by a male medium (and friend of Mr. Orchardson) that a directive from Dr. Merrick himself instructed his widow to marry again to protect her estate. Minerva, who believed firmly in guiding her actions by both inspiration and otherworldly communication, promptly proposed to Orchardson. He promptly accepted.

    The 70-year-old bride and her 45-year-old groom were married on April 12, 1893. Her wedding gift to him by one account was $50,000 in cash. It scandalized the city. But their wedded state lasted just over a year before Mrs. Merrick-Orchardson died (and possibly reunited with her first husband) on June 11, 1894. Fifteen days later, her widower submitted her will for probate.

    Soon after that, Vera Ava reappeared in Quincy, newly released from Joliet Women's Prison where she had served two years for theft. She applied for the newly vacated position of Mrs. Orchardson but was soundly rejected. In a rage, she offered her services to the previous Merrick family heirs who had been cut out of the will in favor of Orchardson.

    The heirs, two nieces and a nephew, filed suit, saying among other things that Minerva Merrick was "possessed of an insane delusion as to communications from spirits and that she was controlled … by an insane delusion in the making of her will." They carefully said that belief in spiritualism was not an insane belief; but that she had been under undue influence at the time she created her will in favor of Orchardson. A second suit was filed to annul the marriage.

    After much entertaining publicity, courtroom drama and an appeal to the state supreme court, Orchardson- lost. The court declared the Merrick-Orchardson marriage null and void, finding there had indeed been "an insane delusion." It took four years after the odd couple had been married, but they were indeed parted after death, rather than by death. And Quincy added another interesting case to its legal history.

    Beth Lane is the author of "Lies Told Under Oath," the story of the Pfanschmidt murders near Payson, a member of the Historical Society and a facilitator of writing and creativity workshops in Quincy.

  • October 26, 2017 9:49 AM | Marketing (Administrator)

    Laura Sievert (Arts Quincy) and Mara Clingingsmith (BBB Quincy Regional Director)Arts Quincy (The Quincy Society of Fine Arts) was founded in 1947 as America’s First Community Arts Council and for over 70 years has been committed to increasing fine arts access to every resident in Adams County, IL and the surrounding area. The organization promotes and supports music, dance, visual arts, theater, literacy, history and humanities programs year-round. In 2016, the storied organization hired a new Executive Director, Laura Sievert. Sievert reached out to the local Better Business Bureau as she sought a way to let donors and supporters know that the nonprofit was committed to the highest levels of ethics and sounds stewardship of their donations.

    “Today’s donors are very savvy and want to make sure that every single dollar they contribute to a local nonprofit is making the biggest impact that it can. Having a Better Business Bureau certification lets our donors know at a glance that our ethical standards in both governance and fiscal accountability have been independently verified and that they can be confident that their contribution will be making a difference and expanding arts access right here where they live,” explains Sievert.

    Laura Sievert (Arts Quincy) and Suzanne Irwin

    In addition to being a marketing and advocacy arm for 55 area nonprofits in arts and education, Arts Quincy is very active in bringing arts programing to local schools. Over 7,500 students at 17 public and parochial schools throughout Adams County will have an unforgettable arts experience in the 2017/2018 school year thanks to the Arts Quincy Instant Arts Classroom Funds program.

    “Our overall audited fiscal statements show that almost 85 cents of every dollar our donors invest in our agency goes right back out to programs. Part of the way we maintain this level of efficacy is to negotiate with vendors to lower costs. In fact, our children’s program this year has shrunk average expenditures per child served to under $3! This figure includes supplies or transportation for their arts experience, and is something we work very hard to keep as low as possible so that we can keep serving more students,” says Sievert.

    Arts Quincy also awards grants called “Arts Dollars” which support local arts events and are focused on expanding reach to underserved parts of our community including veterans, low-income, elderly, at-risk youth, minority communities and more. The nonprofit also hosts annual awards named for the society’s founder, George M. Irwin, which recognize businesses, organizations, and individuals who have shown exceptional dedication to the fine arts.

    Beyond the nonprofit fine arts programs, Sievert believes it’s crucial to work with professional organizations like the BBB to demonstrate that Arts Quincy is committed to the highest standards in nonprofit practices. Not only did Arts Quincy become a BBB Accredited nonprofit in 2017 by meeting the 20 Better Business Bureau Standards for Charity Accountability, but the organization was also selected for a 2017 TORCH Awards Winner, St. Louis Better Business Bureau®.

    “The Better Business Bureau certification and TORCH Award are such an asset to an organization like Arts Quincy,” Sievert explains. “Donors can be assured that they’ve picked an organization to support that is going to be transparent and held accountable for where donations are going. The BBB is a name people know and trust, and they have combed our financial statements, dissected our structure and governance procedures and have independently certified that we’re doing the right things with the investments of our donors. We’re bringing more fine arts to more people, more often, and we’re continuing a fine tradition of arts programming in Quincy. This prestigious award is going to help us expand the reach of the arts throughout our entire service area.”

    “Arts Quincy has been a pillar of Quincy since 1947, and continues to be recognized for supporting quality arts programming that contributes to the culture and economy of our area,” said Sievert. “We are so appreciative to the BBB for awarding us the 2017 TORCH Award, and will continue to strive to expand arts access while maintaining the highest standards in ethical fiscal and organizational accountability.”

    Click here to view Arts Quincy's BBB profile.

    Click here to become a member or to donate.

  • October 24, 2017 9:44 AM | Guest Blogger (Administrator)

    Have you ever thought about commissioning a piece of art? It is an opportunity to have a meaningful and unique item created just for you by someone who has put their heart and soul into their work. You will find no copies, no prints and no limited editions when you have an original artwork!

    The Art Center wants to give you this exclusive opportunity to pair up with a local artist who matches your personal style and will create the perfect piece just for you!

    On Thursday, Oct. 26 the public is invited to participate in The Art Center’s Match Making Mixer “Shop the mARkeT” from 6 – 9 pm. The public will view samples of select artists’ work in The Art Center’s galleries and speak to the artists individually. Click here for a full list of participating artists.

    Light appetizers and beverages will be available during the mixer. The Art Center will also feature these local artists’ booths during the Art Crawl on Friday, Oct. 27 from 6 – 10 pm.

    Artwork commissioned during the Match Making Mixer will be revealed at the mARkeT: Reveal Gala on Saturday, April 7, 2018 from 7 – 10 pm. The main event will be the unveiling of each artwork. This will be the owners’ first chance to see the art as it is unveiled.

    Tickets are $50 per person for the Reveal Gala. Admission includes heavy hors d’ oeuvres by local chefs, musical entertainment and one-of-a-kind spectacles.

    All proceeds support the mission of The Art Center. For more information stop by (1515 Jersey Street) Monday – Saturday from 9 am – 4 pm, call 217-223-5900 or visit

  • October 19, 2017 10:14 AM | Guest Blogger (Administrator)

    The Mark Twain Museum in Hannibal, MO is celebrating Mark Twain’s 182nd Birthday with an old-fashioned Birthday Party for children, a Mustache Competition, Masquerade Mask Exhibit and Contest, and the official lighting of the Boyhood Home Christmas Tree with music, Mark Twain and Tom and Becky. Join us Saturday, Nov. 25 for a day full of festivities and merriment.

    It all kicks off at 1 pm with Twain’s Birthday Party for Children. Tom and Becky will be on hand to celebrate Sam’s Birthday with old-fashioned games, crafts, story-telling and cupcakes! Twain’s Birthday Party will be held on the main floor of the Museum Gallery at 120 N. Main. Free for children to attend and must be accompanied by an adult.

    Think you have the perfect mustache? Then enter your "stache" at the Museum's 3rd Annual Mustache Competition, 3 pm in the Museum Gallery.

    Categories include:  
    The Dapper Stache which is full of character and artistic impression. If your stache is creative and full of originality, then this is the category for you. Styling aids are acceptable and encouraged, including the use of mustache /hair wax, hair spray, hair lacquer, hair gel and styling foam.

    The Manliest Stache which represents the most impressive of the mustaches that will be selected by a panel of judges.

    The Mark Twain Stache, which bears a striking resemblance to Samuel Clemens' famous witty mustache, commonly referred to as the Walrus. It is bushy, and full, drooping over the mouth and also extending downward at each corner.

     A $5 entry fee and registration per category is required and prizes awarded to the winners of each category.

    Artists young and old can enter the Museum’s Masquerade Mask Contest using a paper mache mask and transforming it into an original piece of art. Any medium is allowed. We ask that the masks come complete with string to hang in our auditorium on exhibit prior to the Birthday Bash Celebration. Masks are available at the museum office starting November 6, or you can provide your own. All entries must be turned into the office, 120 N. Main, by Friday, Nov. 17 and will be on exhibit Saturday, Nov. 18 – Saturday, Nov. 25. Visitors to the Museum can vote on their favorite and the winners of the People’s Choice and a Judge’s Choice will be announced at 4 pm during the Birthday Bash Celebration. Prizes will be awarded to the winners in both categories.

    The party continues outside Sam’s Boyhood Home on Hill Street with the lighting of the official Christmas Tree and Boyhood Home Gardens. Join Mark Twain, Tom and Becky beginning at 5 pm for music and entertainment and join in the caroling as the grounds are illuminated for Christmas at dusk.

    For more information on all the festivities for Mark Twain’s Annual Birthday Bash contact Melissa at 573-221-9010 ext. 404 or visit

  • October 11, 2017 1:31 PM | Guest Blogger (Administrator)

    Quincy Public Library has just added three different coding toys to give children a head start with digital literacy. The toys are appropriate for different but overlapping age ranges. They may be checked out from the librarian in QPL’s Children’s Department, for use within the library building. 

    Code-a-pillar inspires children three years and older to combine segments to make the caterpillar move, while encouraging problem solving skills, planning, sequencing, and critical thinking.

    Ozobot is a robot for children ages six and up. Ozobot is controlled by planning and drawing colored lines. It features 20 games and activities.

    Dot and Dash are robots for children ages eight and up. Kids can learn to program both robots through the challenge apps available online to bring the robots to life.

    The coding toys were purchased through grants from the Quincy Noon Kiwanis and the Friends of Library.

    “Quincy Public Library is expanding resources available for early digital literacy as well as language literacy for children,” explained QPL’s Executive Director Nancy Dolan. “Coding skills can be learned at very young ages. These toys can engage children and encourage them to pursue computer programming or computer science.”

    Additional information is available at or by calling Quincy Public Library at 217-223-1309.

    The mission of the Quincy Public Library is to provide its patrons with materials, facilities and programs to meet lifelong learning, cultural and recreational needs.

  • October 05, 2017 3:46 PM | Guest Blogger (Administrator)

    Do you ever find your self looking for something new, fun and interesting to do in town? Arts Quincy can help you with that! Especially this October as many of our Partner Organizations are having special events, celebrations, concerts and Halloween themed activities.

    In the latest issue of Arts Quincy Magazine, popular events are featured including Ghost Tours at Woodland Cemetery, Strassenfest at the Governor John Wood Mansion, the Art Crawl organized by Quincy Art Center, as well as many opportunities to attend concerts, gallery exhibitions, theater productions, visit a museum, take an art or acting class, and so much more! 

    Explore ALL the ARTS on our website. Under Partner Organizations you will find 55 nonprofits that bring you all the above activities and more. Under Events you will find a calendar full of things to do and current and upcoming exhibitions. You can also view the latest issue of the magazine for FREE, read blog posts, and also support Art-In-Education to more than 7,500 students.

    Arts Quincy if America's First Arts Council. It is our mission to increase access and awareness of all the areas of the fine arts including visual, theater, humanities, music and more to all Adams County residents. We are able to do this through the continued support and contributions from our members, funders, sponsors and donors. Thank you!

    By donating and becoming a member of Arts Quincy you support our mission and our programs. You will also receive the Arts Quincy magazine and  the Arts Blast Email that sends you of upcoming events right to your inbox! Click here to become a member.

    Arts Quincy is a Better Business Bureau Accredited Charity. Of every dollar donated, 85 cents is put towards programming. View our BBB report/review by clicking here

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