Arts and Culture | WGLT

Arts and Culture

Pamela Cather
Laura Kennedy / WGLT

Pamela Cather was teaching psychology at Heartland Community College when she decided to take a free class in digital photography. That was all it took to set her on off on a new career behind the lens. 

John Milhiser and Adam Ghrist
Eric Stock / WGLT

The coronavirus story is developing quickly in Illinois. Here are updates from WGLT's newsroom and our partners at Illinois Public Radio, NPR, and The Associated Press.

book in lap
Laura Kennedy / WGLT

As Americans self-isolate to help halt the spread of the coronavirus, an emeritus English professor from Illinois State University has a few book suggestions to accompany the quarantine. 

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

As the coronavirus pandemic forces the nation to disconnect from usual routines, communities of faith tried all the harder to hold on to each other and offer solace. Many turned to worship online, some as a regular part of the program, others for the first time, using meeting programs such as Zoom.

Nightshop
Staff / WGLT

The coronavirus pandemic is scary for many who live on tight margins or don’t have the security of a steady paycheck. That includes independent musicians, venue owners, promoters, and others whose livelihood depends on a thriving and functioning arts and music scene.

Meredith Hopping performs her stand-up at Nightshop Friday night.
Doug Morris

Normal Community High School alum Meredith Hopping says stand-up comedy made the cut ... when the ISU theatre grad drew up a Top 30 list of things she'd like to accomplish as she was turning 30.

Edward David Anderson plays Nightshop in Bloomington Saturday night
Troy Phillips

Bloomington Americana singer/songwriter Edward David Anderson says his new "Live and Solo" album intentionally tried to capture where he's at in his current iteration.

Ana Popovic plays The Castle Theatre Thursday night
Marco Van Rooijen

Blues guitarist and singer/songwriter Ana Popovic said she mentally worked to overcome doubt when she crashed the male-dominated blues scene two decades ago.

aaron yuont
Laura Kennedy / WGLT

For painter and sculptor Aaron Yount, answering the call of the wild in his artwork could well be down to his DNA. 

Lara Driscoll plays Jazz UpFront Friday night
Maplewood Photography

Chicago jazz pianist and educator Lara Driscoll credits University of Illinois piano professor Chip Stephens for inspiring the title to her debut album "Woven Dreams."

Asahiyama Zoo
Darren Sampson

Concerns over the coronavirus have prompted Bloomington-Normal Sister Cities to cancel this year's junior ambassador trip.

pixels
Laura Kennedy / WGLT

The saying goes: Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.  

Jared Grabb plays Nightshop in Bloomington Thursday night
Rodger Hanlon

Peoria native Jared Grabb knew art would be a major part of his life from a young age. But once he arrived in college to study comic book art, he discovered his love of music trumped visual art.

JImmy Chrismon
Laura Kennedy / WGLT

If you didn't get enough romance on Valnetine's Day, try the new production of "Guys and Dolls," opening this weekend at the Illinois State University Center for the Performing Arts Theater. 

Christa and Michael
Ryan Denham / WGLT

A “Big Lebowski” promotion at Green Top Grocery was meant to make customers smile and maybe buy some milk. Instead, it’s gone viral and spawned two spinoff events this weekend.

Here is a profile of a man who drove vice presidents and governors, wealthy landowners, visiting artists, and the prominent of Bloomington-Normal all about town more than a century ago.

During Black History Month, this episode of McHistory shows you the working life of Absalom Hawkins, a well-known African American man in the Twin Cities. It also tells you about a 19th century brain drain of African Americans.

Those who became educated had to leave the area to get jobs outside the working class. 

Oak Park native and organ aficionado Neal Francis infuses his original music with the classic soul vibe of the 1960s and 70s. His debut album “Changes” is accompanied by lyrics that document his work to overcome addictions and other demons. A year later, his new single continues that effort.

Taylor Steele says a spicy sound may soon mix with the Illinois prairie sound her Effingham-based band is known for.

installation
Laura Kennedy / WGLT

"There’s a moment every day where we, as artists, have to stand up and do what we can, " said artist David Dow. "And encourage dialog and encourage thinking about everything that’s going on.”

Touring the country with bandmates on the strength of major record label releases can sound glamorous.

Tall college dorms
Staff / WGLT

Illinois State University trustees will take up proposals Friday to spend nearly $18 million in the next several years on a variety of projects and leases.

Eric Johnson plays
Max Crace

During the 30th anniversary year of the release of Eric Johnson's classic album "Ah Via Musicom," the much lauded guitarist said looking back on that album and his other works can be helpful.

Doris Houston
Ryan Denham / WGLT

The president of Illinois State University has created a new high-level position to coordinate diversity and inclusion efforts. President Larry Dietz said Professor Doris Houston is the new interim assistant to the president in that area.

Breanna Grow / WGLT

The McLean County Museum of History has announced the donation of what staff call an “invaluable” Lincoln document by Lincoln collector and scholar Guy Fraker.

Director David Prete
Laura Kennedy / WGLT

The words “I was there” resound through Ike Holter’s play “Hit the Wall.”  

deFrance plays Jazz UpFront Tuesday night
deFrance

Drew deFrance loved the comparison of his namesake band with the sound of classic rockers like Bad Company and Mott the Hoople.

Lula Washington

Ballet and modern dance are kind of like the Oscars. They can be really, really white. Lula Washington Dance Theatre, performing Saturday at the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts, is an exception.

The early 1900s saw an influx of racism and discrimination in the Midwest, from anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant, and anti-African American sentiment, to race riots in Springfield, Chicago, and Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Ku Klux Klan became a force in central Illinois. Segregation grew in Bloomington-Normal and what had been a thriving black middle class was gradually destroyed.

Chicago Farmer plays the Castle Theatre Friday night
Bradley J Scott

Bloomington's Cody Diekhoff, known professionally as Chicago Farmer, digs deeper into America's widening economic divide on his new album "Flyover Country."

Niall Kennedy / Licensed under Creative Commons

We think of chocolate as an unalloyed good. People rhapsodize over it. They say they would sooner go without, well, many things, than chocolate. Some even call it a religious experience.

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