The Quinisippi Needleworkers is a Partner Organization of Arts Quincy. They are a part of a national guild of needleworkers. The new president, Ann Bergman has given me some insight as to what exactly needleworking is. Very interesting. She also is an example to fellow needleworkers, whether they are a part of The Guild or not.
This is Ann’s 2nd time entering works for the Illinois State Fair…and the second time she’s won a blue ribbon! Results from her second year entries are:
Now when I see those many awards, I want to see her works, and works of the members of The Guild. Lucky for us, we have some of them on display here at our Arts Quincy Office, along with a display of fantastic QCT performance shots and of course, selections from the Architectural Exhibit.
Stop on by to see some of her work, and say hello to the AQ staff.
Now go make some art!
Schooool’s Out!! That’s what my Mother used to say to us kids growing up when we did something bad, “Schoool’s Out!!!
Of course, I rarely heard that (Yeah, right), but my wife and I now have our godson living with us for one year. He will be a senior at QHS. His name is Leon (he pronounces it ‘lay-on’), he’s an American citizen, but has lived in Berlin for nearly all of his life, and since we’ve never had children, we have a whole new experience ahead of us.
So, knowing us, of course, we did many artistic activities this weekend, including the penultimate Blues in the District, and saw one of the Park Districts movies at the Redmon & Lee center. I also wanted him to know a few faces in the crowd at school, so we had our wonderfully talented friends from Avenue Beat assist us in inviting a diverse crowd of high schoolers over for yard games, Wii and pizza. The party was advertised from 1 pm to 4 pm, so understand we were ecstatic that it went till 7 pm, and a group ended up going out to an area restaurant. He’s already made some friends.
Most of them were from the “A” building, which means they are mostly involved in the arts, but there were science kids, volleyball kids and I’m sure plenty of other “types” there as well.
I want him to get involved with the “A” building kids. We know how focused, hard-working and just dog gone nice most of them are (every child said goodbye and thanked us for hosting this party, and left our house in pretty good shape to boot!). We know from study after study the multiple benefits students get from the arts, such as higher SAT scores, better grades, more participation, creative thought processes-they become great citizens.
So he’s not into music, or acting or painting, but he just might get involved in “crew,” working back stage on shows. That would make me happy. Or he just might find something completely cool for him…that would me great as well, just as long as he’s not sitting up in his room on snap-chat 24/7. That would not be cool.
If that last one is the case, then you know what? SCHOOOOL’S OUT!!
If you see Leon, say "hi!"
Now get out there and make some art!
Last week I was up in Chicago, serving on one of the grant review panels for the Illinois Arts Council Agency. I find it a real privilege to serve on this panel, to work so closely with the leaders and board members of the Arts Council. This is my second panel I’ve served on (3rd year). This Panel is PIE, for Partners in Excellence, and Arts Quincy is honored to be recognized in the state of Illinois as a major organization and a part of this elite group of arts organizations.
Not only are we honored, but I personally am humbled! There are nearly 30 organizations in this group, including Chicago Shakespeare Co., Ravinia Music Festival, Steppenwolf Theater, Lyric Opera, and the Art Institute of Chicago…then there’s little ‘ol Arts Quincy, plugging along with the icons.
I certainly know that our mission is very important to our region, and that many of our programs have been used as models for other communities. The impact our 58 partner organizations’ events have on our patrons is huge, but still, when I review the Lyric Opera’s individual contributed income for last season at $34 million dollars, all I can say is Wow! Or when I see that Ravinia has a $100 million dollar endowment, I can’t help but be a little jealous. I take my responsibilities very serious, as did all the panelists, but I was inspired by all of the good work so many organizations do in the fine state of Illinois.
The IACA likes the panelists to do as many site visits as possible, so in the few days I was up there, I ‘cultured up’ a bit. I saw a wonderful production, Grand Concourse at Steppenwolf with an intriguing post-performance talk-back, saw another new play, Stupid Fu@#ing Bird by one of the smaller storefront theatres working out of Victory Garden’s space (this play was written by one of my colleagues back in New Jersey before I left). I also receive a personal tour of the Art Institute, with special insights and answers. Of course, while I was there, I had to hang out at my favorite river spot, Cyrano’s (also my favorite play of all time), and forced myself to enjoy ethnic food choices that we just can’t get here in Quincy…poor me!
All in all, I had a wonderful time, was inspired, and did an awful lot of walking, which is good, since I did an awful lot of eating too! The only way it could have been better is if my wife could have joined me.
Chicago, Chicago, I’ll show ya around
No get out there and make some art!
Oliver-Bluff City Theater
No, Lionel Bart is not my uncle, but I wish he were, especially based upon the delightful, daring and environmentally-based production of Oliver I saw this weekend at Bluff City Theater in Hannibal (they are also currently doing The Heiress, based on a Henry James novel, in true Repertory style). There are still performances coming up this weekend. If you can make it, DO! http://bluffcitytheater.com/
Bluff City Theater is a new, developing professional theater, and I’ve been very impressed with what I’ve seen so far.
In this production of Oliver, they staged it in the old Federal Bank building on Broadway, and they’ve used multiple areas within for different settings. The audience moves from place-to-place, in some cases, being a part of the action, and invited to sing along with the Oom-Pah-Pah song. Being a professional theatre, they used about 5 or more professional actors to augment the use of local talent, as well as a score of local kids-including Ziven Crist as The Artful Dodger. I was so impressed with the kids, the clear singing, the tight 6-piece orchestra, the staging, the local talent, and of course, loved the acting. What a wonderful opportunity for these local actors to work alongside professionals. They all seemed to truly enjoy working with the kids and adults, and it showed in everyone’s performances.
Most of the professional actors are also in The Heiress. It is a rare opportunity for actors to work on two shows simultaneously these days…they just don’t do Repertory theatre anymore, so it’s a great challenge, and the actors really rise to the occasion. I remember touring with The National Shakespeare Company, doing three shows in rep all over the country. Hard, but rewarding work.
I say, this is a great company to support, and hope you have a chance to see this before these production end.
If anyone says they are bored in Quincy, they’re not involved in the arts! Volunteers are the life blood of not-for-profits, especially arts organizations. There is so much to do, and so little money to do it with.
So, what does that mean, exactly, to volunteer for an arts organization? Well, it can mean any number of things. Assisting with filing, answering phones, helping with an event, or performing with an ensemble...or making someone FLY!!
Let me use one event as an example: QCT’s Mary Poppins. I saw their delightful production over the weekend, and there were nearly 40 volunteers involved. Not as actors on the stage (volunteers) or musicians in the pit (mostly volunteers), but people involved in other capacities.
If you’ve seen the production, or plan to this weekend, you’ll note the wonderful sets/costumes and the “flying” that takes place with two characters. You may have also noticed that practically every seat in the house was full. These things don’t just happen. It takes the hard work of dedicated volunteers to insure the intent of the organization. In the case of Mary Popping: There is a team that is on the “Fly system.” They make sure the actor is clipped into the harness correctly, and there is a vertical and horizontal line handler. They must be big and strong to handle the task. Then there’s the “Fly Line,” the ones who fly scenery off and on for scene changes, as well as the “grips” on the “deck” who manually shift set pieces on and off into the “wings.” Wardrobe assistants to help facilitate fast changes, and perhaps a back stage adult to “Wrangle” the young cast members. Let’s not forget the people who operate the light board, sound board and follow spots.
Now, to get the audience in and seated on time for the curtain, there are two box office volunteers, two ticket scanners, and eight house managers/ushers to insure you’re in the right seat-All volunteers.
All of this is hard work and time consuming. But boy, is it fun in a challenging way. I think one of the best parts of volunteering for an arts organization is the wonderful people that you meet and work with. Many of them become life-long friends.
Oh yes, you can audition for a part in the play, the symphony or the chorus. Or, as I said earlier, there are a myriad of opportunities awaiting you behind the scenes for groups like Quincy Art Center, Friends of the Castle, Sunday Music Series and more. Call me if you have questions, and I’ll see if we can get you set up with something!
Now get out there and make some Art!!
End of World!! Yes, it may have started as a reference to the Mayan calendar back in Dec. of 2012, when it was “The End of the World Party.”
Now, it’s just “End of World.” Nothing apocalyptic about it just that it’s held on 42 acres of pristine land on the edge of town-hence the new meaning of “End of World” -reclaimed to make the best damn music festival in the region!
Free parking, free camping, coolers are allowed, not to mention four bands, a drum circle, Go Go Dancers, a health and wellness center, with essential oils, massage, chiropractic care, and herbs and spices. And did you know that the proceeds go to non-profit orgs.-The Rotary Club of Quincy and Arts Quincy. WOW!
All this, plus wonderful arts activities- all for the price of $20!!! This is a steal folks.
Let me be straight, this is held on private property, there will be a sheriff presence, there will be inside security, and lots of staff members roving the areas to insure a safe, fun event is experienced by everyone. You are free to have a great time, as long as you stay within the boundaries of behavior (you know what I’m talking about people!).
I like to think of this as a blending of older, established artists and arts goers, with the new, younger, less-established groups, all participating in a wonderful experience. Come and celebrate “Fun” with us…oh and while you’re there, make some art!
On Saturday, June 27, 2015, Rob Dwyer Passed away. Sad and shocking news. Many of us saw him just the night before, at the MAF/Blues in the District event. Little did we know it would be the last time we’d see him.
He was my predecessor, and when I first arrived here in town to take over Quincy Community Theatre, Rob called me up, introduced himself, gave me the “skinny” and made me feel welcome! He found funds so I could go to a “One State Convention” and we had drinks, and I got to know the man a little better. When I took over the ED position here 18 months ago, Rob made himself available to answer any questions I had about the organization, smoothing over the transition.
While he spent 30 years or so as Executive Director of Quincy Society of Fine Arts, he made major changes and improvements to the organization, expanding partner organizations from 17 to over 60, increasing the budget, making deals, getting squeals-everything but training seals. You may think this blog entry is a bit too flip for the occasion, but my experiences with Rob were that he loved the odd and absurd, and he would like nothing better than for us to remember the bizarre side of him, the creative side, that wonderful, goofy, and sometimes over-the-line side of the man.
So, instead of singing his praises to all that will listen, I will include a few photos here, pictures I took from recent postings on his Facebook page, and will include for your entertainment. This is how I want to remember him. Funny, irreverent and just a touch colic.
Rob, you will be missed!
Now Rob, go make some art on the other side!
What to do, what to do, there are so many choices for this Midsummer Arts Faire Weekend!
Artists from all kinds of media, exhibits of Frank Lloyd Wright’s work in the new Museum on the Square, Blues in the District Friday night, a wonderful revival of a great play The Heiress at Bluff City Theatre in Hannibal, Quincy Preserves Garden Tour on Saturday, Gallery talks and Dick Brothers History video at Gallery Solaro, wonderful photo exhibit of Toni Taylor’s work at Quincy Museum….
Food, art, entertainment, friends….in my opinion, this is what makes an All-America City.
If you know someone who ever says “I’m bored,” then they aren’t familiar with Arts Quincy. If you want to volunteer to help with these events, call us and we’ll get you hooked up!
If you want more information on these and other events, go to our website’s Events page and get some details.
Arts Quincy was honored this past weekend by Chaddock Children’s Foundation with the 2015 Harry and Carlene Geisler Friend of Children Award. This was in recognition of all that we do for children in our community. In reality, it is all that we and our 58 Partner Organizations and area artists do for our children. It was an honor to be the person that was the recipient of this award.
Yes, Arts Quincy provides the grants to schools to bring a teaching artist into the classroom or attend a performance or workshop. Yes, Arts Quincy provides matching grants to arts organizations to bring students into their programs. But the grants would do nothing if there were no programming to fulfill and the classroom teachers couldn’t provide a workshop if there were no area artists to execute it.
As I said, I felt honored to up there receiving this award, but without my
predecessors, without all the current and previous staffers, without all of the board members throughout the years of both Arts Quincy and our partners, none of this would be possible.
So as I look at the beautiful award given to us and place it on our wall in our office, I think of all of those who have gone before me and put up the good fight. Those who wrote the programs, and raised and provided funds, and wrote a grant for the funds, and created a workshop for students utilizing the funds…. I think of you, and I salute you. This is your award!
Last Sunday, my wife, three other singers and an accompanist performed for the Sunday Music Series at the Unitarian Church. It was titled “An Afternoon with Sondheim.” What a wonderful afternoon full of pathos, humor, great singing and wonderful music in a delightfully intimate space (with standing room only!!)
This was a concert-style performance meaning they had their music in front of them for easy reference. So some of you who may be casual patrons may ask, “that must be pretty easy to pull off…just read the music- a few rehearsals-boom, done.”
The interesting thing is there are gads of steps to get to that place. First, select the theme and musicians you want to work with, and know their singing abilities. Also making (LB W/ Jillian Wagner Miller)
sure those musicians are all available, not only for performances, but for rehearsals as well. Next, select the music for the event. Doing Sondheim, you need to have very strong musicians. Hopefully, they are self-starters and are working on their material prior to the first rehearsal, and throughout the rehearsal period. Then you have the actual rehearsals, followed by the performance.
Since my wife was the organizer for this particular event, I have access to the actual hours she put in to carry off this “simple performance.”
Over 40 hours of putting it together-researching the artists, culling through the music, typing up the program, marketing, etc.
Over 40 hours of self-rehearsals, working on stuff at home for about an hour a day for over 6 weeks.
At least 8 rehearsals total: 6 with the full group, and each singer did at least two other rehearsals with one or two others.
Remember, the final ones are long rehearsals, as they work out all the tiny details such as who stands when and who starts what (including getting your husband to come and tighten the music stands so they stop sliding down).
And then Voila- A performance! According to Tricia, after the one performance she states “a feeling of satisfaction of a job well done, but a desire to do the same piece again.” That’s how it always is. Thanks Tricia Bart, Larry Finley, Jillian Wagner Miller, Kevin Jobe and Hedy Rothfuss –And Stephen Sondheim-for a wonderful afternoon of music!