Arts and Culture | WGLT

Arts and Culture

Students standing in front of Ames Library
Illinois Wesleyan University

Religious scholars and philosophers are among those encouraging Illinois Wesleyan University President Georgia Nugent and the board of trustees to preserve academic programs.

Edward David Anderson
Edward David Anderson

The 2020 Sugar Creek Arts Festival requires no sunscreen, fan or sunglasses.  

Students, faculty and alumni join a march
Breanna Grow / WGLT

Few rallies include performances by a brass ensemble. 

Mural painting
David Haynes / Courtesy

Students at a Bloomington arts school are giving back to the community through their powerful and creative artistic abilities.   

Ames Library at Illinois Wesleyan University
Staff / WGLT

Some faculty members at Illinois Wesleyan University are questioning a process that could lead to further program changes and cuts next month. The stakes could be as high as their jobs. Some faculty also frame the discussion as a defining moment for the culture and identity of the 170-year-old liberal arts institution.

The more-than-yearlong effort to help IWU adjust to a new reality in higher education has created winners and losers, some yet to be determined, and more than a little heartache and grief.

kelsey fisher waits
Laura Kennedy / WGLT

The stage may be bare this season at The Illinois Shakespeare Festival, but the show must go on–online, that is. 

Springfield native Mary Jo Curry and her band are receiving much critical acclaim and airplay for their sophomore blues album "Front Porch." It’s an unlikely path for the Illinois State University theater program alum with training in classical voice and piano.

Producer John Larson recording vocalist Sara Williams
Peggy Larson

Any blues musician will tell you that everyone gets the blues. But for the past few months, that line has changed to “nearly everyone now has the blues.”

WGLT Summer Concert
Jeff Smudde / WGLT

It's not clear whether a series of socially distanced concerts in Bloomington-Normal lifts the spirits of the musicians or the audience more.

Sharon Chung plays the violin in the Antiviral Musical Collective, a trio doing gigs at front doors and in driveways.

Releasing a new album during the coronavirus pandemic has a silver lining for the bluesy Peoria roots-rock trio Hoosier Daddy.

Picture of the David Davis Mansion
Staff / WGLT

A famed Bloomington resident has another honor, 134 years after his death.

The Lincoln Academy of Illinois has named Judge David Davis to its Hall of Fame along with five other people who have made a significant impact on the history of the state and nation. The others are scientist Enrico Fermi, architect William Le Baron Jenney, labor leader Mary “Mother” Jones, Civil War hero Major General John A. Logan, and civil rights martyr Emmet Till.

Zak Hoffman, Alex Girard, and Bill Price of NoRobot
Dave Fulton

Necessity really was the mother of invention for the Bloomington-based funk-rock band NoRobot.

Cristen Monson
Laura Kennedy / WGLT

There’s an old tradition in the theater world that there must always be an electric light left burning on stage whenever a theater is left dark or unoccupied. It’s called a ghost light. 

Pandemic Takes Emotional Toll On Musicians

May 1, 2020
Pokey on stage
Ashley Binkowski / WGLT

As the economic effects of the coronavirus ripple around the globe, the arts have been hit especially hard. The creative class is vulnerable to financial upheaval. Artists and performers are often independent contractors whose fluctuating incomes require sustained promotional efforts.

Put simply: To make it as an artist, you’ve got to hustle.

Nancy Drew books
Celeste Lindell / Flickr/Creative Commons

It’s no mystery why Nancy Drew, that Titian-haired, flashlight-wielding teen detective, is still so popular after all these years. 

Monica Estabrook

For Bloomington High School art teacher Monica Estabrook, losing the emotional connection she had with her students has been the most challenging aspect of the transition to online learning.

circus work
Jan Brandt Gallery

It was going to be amazing, colorful and fun. 

Christoph Scholtz / Flickr/Creative Commons

The coronavirus pandemic has millions sheltering indoors and bonding with their streaming services.  

window art display
Jane Osborn / Eaton Gallery

As art galleries across the country have locked their doors in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, one local gallery is trying to shed some light on the dark situation. 

Seats in a Jewish temple

This week, many religiously observant people are trying to find extra meaning in the traditional messages of their faiths as they continue to face the coronavirus pandemic. For Christians, ministers have emphasized the coming of new life to offset the constraints of social distancing and stay-at-home orders.

rows of masks
COVID-19 Mask Making

Members of the central Illinois Facebook group COVID-19 Mask Making said they have already made and delivered more than 1,000 masks to dialysis centers, long-term care facilities, rural hospitals, and other healthcare outlets.

Doug Johnson

On a day like today, Doug Johnson would normally be busy at his job as director of the McLean County Arts Center.

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.

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.