Sunday, November 30, 2008

Winter Arrives in Monmouth

There is just something about turkey and dressing in the midwest that seems to bring winter out of hiding. After a mild and sunny Thanksgiving, the end of the week produced that first dusting of the white stuff. Not nearly so bad as that attempt in the eighties to return the kids to college that left us stranded in a motel about fifty miles short of Grinnell, IA, but just enough to remind us that there are some chillier days ahead. And it looks like little Max (see previous entry) got his new green sweater just in time.

Gotta go now and check the gas in the old snowblower!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

And then there's Puppy

Welcome Max to the extended family. A little Yorkie who is about the size of a large teacup has just been inititiated into the many corners and crannies of grandma and grandpa's house. My biggest problem was I was afraid I would step on him--particularly as he did not make much in the way of noise and sort of blended into the brown carpet. He was a bit more visible in his new green sweater.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Arts News for November

We have just completed an historic election. What can you expect from the new administration on arts policies and/or issues? Check the following site: for an outline of what might be a bold new initiative for the arts under the leadership of President Elect Obama.

Arts issues may not be on the top ten list of problems for our new president and the members of congress, but this is still the opportune time for you to re-connect with your elected officials and remind them of your interest in promoting theatre and the arts. The ideal vehicle is a short phone call, fax, letter, or e-mail that congratulates them on their election or re-election as the case may be. Then you add a short paragraph that tells them that you work in the arts. Mention that you belong to or support arts groups—including the Illinois Theatre Association—and that you would hope that they would be amenable in the future to legislation that encourages the development of the arts and arts education. Find appropriate addresses below. or for state addresses go to
At a recent Illinois Theatre Association meeting board meeting some members called for more information on the efficacy of theatre and arts instruction and its relationship to overall leaning. So here are two more sources that comment on that. The first one is out of Colorado and contends that “creativity in the curriculum boosts academic performance.” If your tastes run to the more academic you might look up a new book by two Britons titled The Social Impact of the Arts Palgrave Macmillan, 2008 The volume traces the history of this debate from classical Greece to the present day.

Have you noticed that your audience is graying? Most surveys suggest that the average age of arts attendees is rising, but here is an intelligent article that makes an argument that this is not a new insight and might not be all bad.,0,4427896.story?track=rss

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"Spirit of Grace" to Lila Blum and Jan De Young

The "Spirit of Grace" award for 2008 Arts Patrons of the Year was presented last week by the Grace Buchanan Center for the Arts in Monmouth, IL to Lila Blum and Jan De Young. The dynamic duo founded the AAUW(American Association of University Women) Art Presenter Program thirty-five years ago and have co-chaired it ever since. Thousands of elementary school children from Monmouth and the surrounding area have benefited from the program and hundreds of local citizens have been marshalled to present artwork in classrooms throughout the county. Both women are retired educators with long records of community service.

The award was presented by Buchanan Center Board President, John Vellenga, at the annual Buchanan Center Taste of the Arts Banquet and fundraiser on Saurday, November 8, 2008. Below are some additional pictures of the event.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Historical Society Members Visit Roseville

Members of the Prairieland Historical Society paid a visit to the Warren County Historical Society Museum in Roseville, IL last week. Located in a former school building just off city route Hwy 34 in Roseville, the museum is chock full of fascinating material relating to the history of Warren County.

Exhibits range from Native American arrowheads and antique farm machinery to period clothing and historic photographs. Some displays feature full scale mock-ups of Grandma's house, a barber shop, a doctor's office, and a schoolroom. There is also a library that houses books, old news clippings, and even scrapbooks made by past residents.

The museum is not open on a regular schedule, but a contact phone number is listed on the sign near the front door.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


This 70 year old voted for Barack Obama yesterday. The country, as our new president-elect said in his victory speech, did not simply buy "change" as if it were a quart of milk, it bought only a chance to make "change" happen. From here on out it will be a job for all of us and it will require some time, some sacrifice, some give as well as take, and definitely some unified pulling on the oars.

Last night, by total coincidence, the painting I am presenting today in a 6th grade classroom in Monmouth,IL was sitting on the dining room chair next to the television set. Andrew Wyeth's "Christina's World" depicts a young polio victim strugging up a long field toward her house on the crest of what seems to be an insurmountable hill. There's a lot more to the painting and the story of our election, but I'll leave some things for you to fill in.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Peoria's Wildlife Prairie Park is a Jewel

Peoria's Wildlife Prairie Park is a treat for all ages at any time, but it seems to come especially alive in the fall. We took the grandchildren out for an Autumn amble and padded down leaf strewn paths for an entire sunny afternoon. There were eagles, owls, foxes, wolves, bears, cougars, mountain lions, badgers, elk, and bison on view in good sized natural habitats. It's quite a sight when the elk and bison herds start heading for the viewing area just before feeding time.