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Five area visual arts groups are creating a paper trail for the community, bringing six weeks of programs and five exhibitions on the role that paper plays in art from Oct. 7 to Nov. 12.


Every third Thursday of the month, artists, artist wannabes and musicians have a coming-out party. Attendees mingle, ponder and critique artwork, play and listen to music and socialize.

Some 2.2 million guests have watched a human interact with ghosts more than 30,000 times since the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum opened in April 2005.

The precisely orchestrated Ghosts of the Library performance combines art, science and smoke and mirrors in synchronized magic. 


I am fascinated with seeing someone's thought processes, memories and talents expressed in an art form. There's joy in one-of-a-kind works that become the tapestry of my life and surroundings - artwork that tells stories, that offers surprises even after years, pieces that evoke memories.


The Springfield Art Association is going back in time to show its vision of the future.

The January exhibit, "Art is Not a Trifle: The Springfield Art Association and its Collections, 1914-1930," showcases works brought together in the organization's early days.

December's many celebrations can be overshadowed by the anxiety of holiday shopping.  Sometimes that perfect gift reaches out, and a mental choir breaks into song, accompanied by rays of light. Other times the right gift remains elusive - or falls victim to the fate of a fruitcake.

Music adjusts your mood. A funny movie can make you laugh until you're euphoric. "Refrigerator art" brings smiles. Those are day-to-day, simple arts experiences. 

They're kind of a global positioning unit. Navigating the dance floor, their movements indicate a presence in another country or time period. The Springfield International Folk Dancers, setting themselves a whirl apart since 1975, has worldwide experience with local presence.

More than two dozen women gather weekly to share experiences and grow. They listen intently as a pitch pipe sets the tone, reminiscent of an orchestra tuning. The wind instruments are the women's voices exhaling in a capella four-part harmony, barbershop style.

Mike Miller’s brush exudes technology as he paints in punctuated pixels. He sees art at a molecular level and makes prints in code.

At Springfield's Boys and Girls Clubs, some 30 talkative girls aged 6-12 line up at the gymnasium wall. Athletic director Mattie Watson calls out "Ready. Set. On your mark." Some girls take off prematurely, so Watson starts the process again - and again.

His imaginary world is beset with gobos, gels and cycloramas. He dwells in the dark, watching shadows and colors. He sees the light.

Life can be like a symphony. A series of movements builds toward a finale. Circumstances are instruments of change.

The human head is both her canvas and sculpting base. She's been known to plant branches in kids' faces, create noses and sew ears in hair. Activities like that make her happy.

Kari Catton dishes out enthusiasm for the Theatre in the Park, the amphitheatre at Lincoln's New Salem State Historic Site near Petersburg. "It's magic," says the jovial executive director.

"I was the guinea pig," local actor and director Gil Opferman muses.

His role was one of Muni cast hopeful and test subject. Opferman, with some 50 area productions to his credit, was the first to try Muni's new audition format - one that he helped redefine as Muni's audition committee chair. He was the first audition of 303 people vying for 140 spots cast for this season's musicals.

Ever wonder what trial an artist in a "juried" art show endured?

Many organizations, shows and exhibitions review artists' work for participation. While not "American Idol" fanfare, a jury - or panel - selects those who qualify for a type or skill level and eliminate those who don't. So, you likely won't find beer-can airplanes in the same show as the emerging Picassos.

Two artistic souls find an ocean of opportunity using music in their work.

As an artist and a writer, I see a strong connection between art and health and well-being. On a personal level, smashing glass to smithereens for frit to create my fused-glass floral images is a constructive outlet in a couple of respects. Art-related activities help me channel energy, redirect my thoughts, provide an emotional outlet or give me respite to let a creative process help resolve other issues.


Illinois Symphony Orchestra Music Director Karen Lynne Deal, among other feats, is aiming to line up the planets for this coming symphony season. That's just part of the gravitational pull for attention.


Springfield native Donna Lounsberry estimates she has taken a quarter million images of area performances over the past five years. But she says she doesn't take the pictures. God does.

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