A To-Do List for Summer

Jan Wright, Publisher, art & society

If spring felt practically non-existent this year, our summers often seem too short... or perhaps I’m just hoping for more time outdoors. There’s certainly no shortage of things to do—whether spending a lazy day by the pool, boating on the river, dining al fresco or hiking in our parks.

Consider recharging with a weekend getaway… and while a quick trip to Chicago or St. Louis is always fun, there’s many options closer to home. When was the last time you paid a visit to Lewistown? The historic town is cultivating an emerging wine industry, with a trio of vino destinations and plenty more for outdoor enthusiasts. And if the weekend is not an option, it’s close enough for a day trip!

Here in Peoria, new green space is opening up the riverfront, promising enhanced views and a greater connection to the Illinois River. Nearby, a plethora of sculptures surround the Peoria Riverfront Museum and decorate Washington Street—with free guided tours starting in the museum lobby every Saturday at 10am and noon.

Across the street, the Maxam Building is collaborating with ArtsPartners to display an ArtPop billboard on the side of the building. ArtPop Peoria, now in its fourth year, is not only coloring the region with local artwork, it’s offering artists new opportunities for exposure and connection. In the nearby Warehouse District, Creativity Uncorked provides a space for the community to come together and create their own art.

Across the region, the arts are flourishing! First Fridays remain a prime opportunity to check out artists’ studios in person, but that concept has expanded. On the second Friday of each month, artists are lining Prospect Road in Peoria Heights for a monthly art walk, while across the river the Tazewell Art Loop celebrates the work of local artists on fourth Fridays.

In August, Peoria will get a taste of “Shakespeare in the Park” when the Chicago Shakespeare Theater brings its production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream to Glen Oak Park. Elsewhere in this issue, check out the powerful work of Nikole Cooney (that’s her on the cover!) and look for Anne Hagemann’s “Take 10” feature—the Peoria native is producing a feature film right here in central Illinois, and you won’t want to miss it.

We’ve barely scratched the surface of things to do in Peoria this summer. Find what speaks to you and get engaged! a&s

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