Thinking Big

Jan Wright, Publisher, art & society

Here we go dashing through the last couple months of the year… and I’m reminded of a recent country music hit: “The days go slow and the years go fast.” Lately, though, it seems the days and the years are going by fast! The contents of this issue prove once again that our Greater Peoria area is not winding down, but is gearing up for bigger and better performances, events and partnerships in 2019. 

Congratulations to Peoria Players Theatre, currently in the midst of its 100th anniversary season. When the Peoria Transcript announced the formation of a “little theatre” back in 1919, it’s unlikely those founding “players” could have imagined it would still be going strong in 2018. Such longevity is quite an accomplishment—it speaks to the strength of Peoria Players, as well as the rest of our local theater scene. Thank you for helping to make our city and region colorful and vibrant!

From Peoria Public Art to the Emerging Artists Collective and beyond, new generations of up-and-coming Peoria artists are banding together, collaborating, sharing ideas and supporting one another. The October debut of The Big Picture initiative was another exciting effort to bring diverse artists together to put their mark on our community. The debut of Abraham Blue—the large-scale mural depicting President Lincoln on the side of the Peoria County Courthouse—is certainly one example of thinking big and promoting Peoria’s story to a national audience. Bravo!

The emergence of Artists ReEnvisioning Tomorrow, or ART Inc., is another breath of fresh air in our local arts community. Jonathon and Nikki Romain are hard-working visionaries with ambitious plans to turn the former Greeley School into a community arts center—with a special focus on lifting up our youth. And nothing could be more important. We encourage the community to rally behind them as they move forward. 

We thank the artists and the dreamers who see beyond an empty building to find an opportunity to do good. We salute those who see not an empty wall, but a canvas for creative expression. They are essential to the quality of life we experience here in central Illinois. 

With another holiday season fast approaching, we encourage you again to support our local businesses and reinvest in our community. With the recent launch of “Shop Local 365,” we’re reminded that this act cannot be relegated to the holidays, either—it’s something to do year-round. a&s

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