Friday, May 29, 2009

Monmouth Rotary Club Joins the Web-O-Lution

The Monmouth Rotary Club has also joined the "Web-0-Lution with its own quick, easy, and informative site. Members will find all the current news from officer contacts to upcoming programs. Non-members will get a fine look at what the organization is all about.

More and more local events and news can be tracked on the web with the use of simple search tools. This may indeed be the direction of media development in the future as print struggles to keep pace. Enter your home town into the search engine and an appeal for local events, or clubs, or people of note and there it will be on your hand held device on demand at any hour of the day or night.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Warren County Historical Society Gets New Web Site

The Warren County Historical Society has a new web site to go along with its new home in Monmouth. You can reach the web site at

The new home, as pictured above, is the former site of the Solid Rock Church on South Sunny Lane.

Sometime later in the year the Society will begin moving the materials in the Warren County Historical Museum in Roseville to the new Monmouth location. When completed the new museum will offer a fascinating glimpse of Warren County history from native American artifacts right up to the present. The collection is particularly strong in 19th century material and the members hope to bring current exhibits such as the General Store, Medical Office, and School Room into the new building intact.

To keep abreast of all the activity, volunteer, or to join the society just go to the web site. The link can also now be found in my local links section on the left hand side of the blog.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Buchanan Center's Tom Sawyer Opens at Wells Theatre

The Buchanan Center for the Arts Children's Theatre program opened its run of Tim Mason's adaptation of Mark Twain's classic The Adventures of Tom Sawyer on Wednesday, May 20th and will offer additional performances at 10 and 1:30 on May 21st, 7 on May 22nd, and 1:30 and 7 on Saturday, May 23rd. All performances are directed by Prof. Janeve West of the Monmouth College Theatre Department and will be given at Monmouth College's Wells Theatre. Tickets are available at the door or by calling the Buchanan Center at 309-734-3033.

Over twenty-five young people have roles in the production and it is geared to be a part of this year's National Endowment for the the Arts BIG READ program. Below are a few more shots from the production.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Arts Advocacy News for May

It will take you about two minutes after you click this URL to send a quick message to your senators and house representative about your support for this year’s National Endowment for the Arts budget. And don’t forget to tell your legislators what arts group or groups you are speaking for. Do it now. Don’t delay.

I suspect, if you are like me, you do occasionally wonder if these kinds of advocacy messages really do work . Here is an answer to that question. Take another minute to look at a detailed account of just how advocacy groups, for example The Theatre Communication Group, helped to get theatres back in the eligibility arena for Economic Stimulus Bill assistance.

On May 1, 2009, the Cultural Data Project will launch in Illinois. The Illinois Cultural Data Project (or Illinois CDP for short) allows arts administrators to track their performance over time and to benchmark themselves against similar organizations in specific disciplines, geographic regions, and budget sizes.

With a few clicks of the mouse, users will be able to generate any of 77 reports made possible by the project, such as a quarterly or annual report. Or, users can compare themselves to organizations the same size that are located around the corner or at the other end of the state. The Illinois CDP harnesses the power of technology in service to the cultural sector.

Do you want to learn more now? Check out the following:
• A special sneak peek version of the Illinois CDP is available online.
• The Illinois CDP website will be live Friday, May 1, 2009 at
• The Illinois CDP taskforce is hosting an orientation session on Friday, May 15, 2009 at 9 am at the Chicago Cultural Center in the Claudia Cassidy Theatre at 78 East Washington Street in Chicago, Illinois. Additional trainings will be held throughout the state.
National Service and the Arts

On April 21, President Obama signed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act under which national service will see the greatest expansion in programs in 50 years. The Serve America Act will more than triple the number of volunteers serving in this country from 75,000 to 250,000. One section of this act notes that the utilization of “skilled musicians and artists” for promoting community unity will be encouraged.

Congratulations to the Free Street Theater (Free Street Programs, Inc.) in Chicago for receiving a $10,000 Illinois Humanities Council grant. Their project was “Declare!”-- A series of workshops that examined the writing styles and the historical importance of speeches of Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Barrack Obama. A key emphasis in the program was to illustrate how change can be achieved through language, or as the proposal stated it how "before anything can 'become' it must be voiced."

The next deadline for Ilinois Humanities Council major (up to $10,000) and mini (up to $2,500) grant proposals is July 15, 2009. Potential applicants may review and download grant applications at Other recent successful IHC grant applications with theatrical connections were to Chicago’s Time of Your Life Players for Drama and discussions for Seniors and the Monmouth College Theatre and Galesburg’s Orpheum Theatre for a project titled “And How Was the Play, Mrs. Lincoln?” This program helped fund a full production of Tom Taylor’s Our American Cousin as well as a lecture/symposium on historical aspects of the Lincoln Assassination.

Last but not least is to remind Illinois residents of the “One State Together in the Arts” conference in Peoria on June 1st and 2nd. Co-convenors are the Illinois Arts Council and the Illinois Arts Alliance. Early bird registration rates have now expired, but you can still register at:

Friday, May 08, 2009

The Simple Face of Spring

How better to note that the world is waking than to see things growing again.

Who among us cannot fail to be elated when the tulips and dafodils bloom? The flowers are gorgeous, but my ancestors on both sides came from farming stock and somewhere inside me lies a gene that calls forth a desire to muck a bit in the earth for more than beauty. My mother, who grew up on a farm, was compelled to plant a garden and so am I. There wasn't much room on our forty-foot wide Milwaukee city lot when I was growing up, but mom always managed to set aside a tiny plot for a few vegetables--the common ones like tomatos and beans and even some of the the kid yucky items like beets, cabbage, and kolrabi.

Nothing might seem further from the calling of an academic than putting down a few seeds every year, but my compulsion is just as strong as Mom's because I have been planting a little garden for over forty years. Those sweet peas and beans, ruddy radishes, bright green peppers, and glorious tomatos late in the summer feed the belly and the soul. Somehow remnants of that vanished agrarian past rise to the surface each spring like the tiny shoots pictured below. Flowers may be the frosting of April and May, but the real glory is in the greens.
Happy spring!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

OFTA hosts Emily Huston judge for the BCA Town and Country Art Show


The 10:00 AM Wednesday, May 13th OFTA(Old Friends Talk Arts) program will feature Ms. Emily Huston, one of this year's judges for the Buchanan Center for the Arts Town and Country Art Show. Emily is a former Art Teacher, who is now a counselor at Monmouth-Roseville High School. She will speak about the criteria she uses in assessing the quality of student art work and also comment on why some of this year's major prize winners caught the judge's eyes. There will be a question and answer period after her address.

Old Friends Talk Arts programs a varied bill of presentations about the arts on the second Wednesday of each month at the Buchanan Center for the Arts in Monmouth, Il. Admission is always free and refreshments are served.