Arts & Life

Arts and lifestyle coverage from around the globe and Illinois.

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The Trouble with "Troubled"

Feb 21, 2012
Olivia Rosen - Springfield High School
Randy Eccles / WUIS/Illinois Issues


"Wakaru" - To Understand

Feb 20, 2012
Maggie Cornelius - Springfield High School
Randy Eccles / WUIS/Illinois Issues


“We’re going to drive to the football game at nine tonight,” I said to Ayumi, explaining our plans for the evening.

She cocked her head and gave me a quizzical look.

I tried again. “At nine o’clock, we will drive to the football game.”

She shook her head. Wakarimasen. I don’t understand.

I paused, rephrasing the sentence in my mind. “Tonight, at nine o’clock, we will go to the football game.”

Wakarimasu! She understood. “Oh! Okay,” Ayumi said. “I am happy!”

Anything Boys Can Do

Feb 19, 2012
Mackenzie McDermott headshot
Randy Eccles / WUIS - Illinois Issues

THIS I BELIEVE - I was only five when I came home from kindergarten with an American Youth Football League flyer, begging my parents to sign me up. They didn’t hesitate. There were never “boy” things or “girl” things in my house. There were just things. This was how it worked in my family where my father was in the kitchen cooking while my mother was in the living room screaming at the football game. Plopping down next to my mom on the couch with my over-sized Packer’s jersey seemed like the most natural thing in the world.

Born This Way

Feb 18, 2012
Derinn Wallace - Glenwood High School
Randy Eccles / WUIS/Illinois Issues



Everyone is scared of something. Whether it is spiders, clowns, black holes, or something else, we all have a fear in life. One fear that many people share is a fear of homosexuality, or homophobia. Like many other fears, though, this fear can be conquered. All it takes to overcome homophobia is an open mind and a little education. That education starts here. This I believe: homosexuality is not a choice, and being gay does not change who a person is.

On the Death of My Father

Feb 17, 2012
Ally M Perko - Springfield High School
Randy Eccles / WUIS/Illinois Issues


Can the Arts Salve The Wounds of the Recession?

Dec 1, 2011

A single mom working as a part-time postal clerk at a small village post office in Shelby County moves briskly, dispensing stamps, weighing letters and shifting bulky packages. When not on duty at the post office, she works the late shift at the convenience store, sweeping the floors and locking up. She also manages to baby-sit and clean houses at other hours, all in an effort to make the proverbial ends meet in the slow drag of this recession.

Ragdale House in the fall.
Sarah Hadley / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Back home in Philadelphia, Beth Feldman Brandt reserves her Fridays for writing poetry. At least, in theory she does. Distractions tend to get in the way for the busy foundation director.

So, for the second time in two years, Brandt has traveled to Ragdale, a retreat-style campus in Lake Forest, to recharge her batteries as an artist. Within a week of arriving, she had already made significant strides on one of her next projects, a series of poems based on arcane maps she viewed at Chicago’s Newberry Library. 

Ragdale House in the fall.
Sarah Hadley / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Back home in Philadelphia, Beth Feldman Brandt reserves her Fridays for writing poetry. At least, in theory she does. Distractions tend to get in the way for the busy foundation director.

So, for the second time in two years, Brandt has traveled to Ragdale, a retreat-style campus in Lake Forest, to recharge her batteries as an artist. Within a week of arriving, she had already made significant strides on one of her next projects, a series of poems based on arcane maps she viewed at Chicago’s Newberry Library. 

Photograph by Ralph Nelson courtesy of the Ray Bradbury family
Ralph Nelson / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Ray Bradbury has lived his life in two different worlds. Not on faraway planets like the settings of many of his science fiction tales. Bradbury’s life has been divided between his early childhood in Waukegan and his adult life in California. 

The Illinois Artisan Program
WUIS/Illinois Issues

The way former Gov. James R. Thompson tells it, the idea for the Illinois Artisans Program came to him on a trip out east.

“We went through Vermont, and Vermont had these artisan shops at their rest stops — a couple of them anyway — in which they exhibited and sold crafts and art done by Vermont artists and folk artists. It was a very impressive display, and I thought, ‘You know what, I’ll bet Illinois has artists and artisans as good as those in Vermont. Why aren’t we promoting Illinois arts and crafts?’”

Painting with Spaghetti

Dec 1, 2011
Installation view of Scott Reeder’s Untitled, 2011, MCA Chicago. Courtesy of the artist and Kavi Gupta, Chicago|Berlin. Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Commission
Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago / Museum of Contemporary Art

Scott Reeder paints ice cream cones that watch themselves melt in a mirror, depicts cigar-smoking fruit and crafts art made of spaghetti.

“All of my work is kind of humorous, deals with humor in different ways. My paintings come from conversations I have with people or funny or interesting things that I read,” says Reeder, an artist and associate professor at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Healing Through Art

Dec 1, 2011
The buttons were created from photographs brought by family members of their fallen solider.
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Operation Oak Tree — which provides military families the opportunity to participate in therapeutic art, music and drama activities — recognizes that soldiers’ children are affected just as much as the spouses at home when soldiers are on deployment. 

Jamey Dunn headshot 2014 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

State budget cuts and the often long wait that schools face for payments from the state have hurt arts education. Art teachers have been laid off. Schools sometimes forgo buying supplies such as paper and paint when the state is slow to pay, because often those are some of the only things in their bottom line that are flexible.

Nicolas Kendall
Randy Eccles / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Violinist Nicolas Kendall, of the East Coast Chamber Orchestra (ECCO) and Time for Three, peforms at the WUIS Suggs Performance Studio previewing his guest role with the Illinois Symphony Orchestra.

Rhett Barnwell
Randy Eccles / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Harpist Rhett Barnwell joined Karl Scroggin to discuss music therapy and the Chiara Center's harp retreat weekend.

Randy Eccles

Robbie Fulks/Somebody's Daughter
November 11, 2011, 8 p.m. 
Show #8

"Breaking Barriers"

Feb 25, 2011
Molly Ducker - Springfield High School
Randy Eccles / WUIS/Illinois Issues

There are walls among us. Walls can protect us by surrounding or discourage us by dividing. There is a wall among us that not only discourages but also destroys human beings with the sole intention of division. This infamous wall runs through Texas, California, and Arizona along the Mexican border. I do not believe in this sort of division. I have been in the midst of discrimination at its worst and witnessed firsthand how beautiful it is when people come together. Therefore, I believe in walls to encompass people of every ethnicity, heritage, and culture; walls to bring outsiders in. 

True Love Takes Effort

Feb 24, 2011
Rachel Pasko - Southeast High School
WUIS/Illinois Issues

My grandmother was a fairy. One look at the wispy silver-grey hair that held various clips to make a crown would banish all doubts of this fact from her mythical domain. I remember listening to her vibrant stories while sitting in the over-grown and wild garden that was the back yard. She would throw her hands this way and that while changing the tone and tempo of the tale accordingly. Yes, she was certainly a fantastic creature who seemed to pop out from a child’s book. 

More Moores

Feb 23, 2011
Virginia Moore - Springfield High School
WUIS/Illinois Issues

For the longest time we were known to everyone as the Brady Bunch. That all changed when John Paul came along. He threw the whole thing off! Ever since I can remember, my family has been growing, and yes, I’m talking about my immediate family: the Moore family. My earliest memories of a small, normal-sized family are when it was only me, Mom, Dad, Cordelia and Jimmy, moving to Springfield from Virginia and the five of us waiting on Joey to enter our lives. It has been fourteen years since then, with Joey being followed by Josh, Maria and, lastly John Paul.

Reading Aloud

Feb 22, 2011
Claire Watson - Riverton High School
WUIS/Illinois Issues

I've written so many college application essays in the last couple of months that I almost didn't want to write another one for this contest.  I was so burned-out, and couldn't think of a topic once I decided to compete.  Then I remembered what I loved as a child: reading.  I was able to fly through this essay, as if my memories were commanding my pencil.  My essay is truly from the heart.

Question Everything

Feb 21, 2011
Hannah Kolkmeier - Springfield High School
WUIS/Illinois Issues

 My 17 years of life have taught me that the world is a complicated place. The cultures that exist across the globe are vastly diverse and it seems people are quicker to disagree than agree with each other. In a world littered with conflict, I believe in the power of debate as a tool to bring about change. I believe that the world cannot advance without constant questioning of our actions.  And isn’t that what we all want? To leave the world in a better state than when we entered it? I know I do. I desire a better world, one without genocide and poverty, corruption and war.

I Believe in Beatlemania

Feb 18, 2011
Callie Smith - Springfield High School
WUIS/Illinois Issues

It all started innocently enough when I spotted in the newspaper that Paul McCartney was seen at a local Circle K gas station. It was then that my mom first showed me her old Beatles’ albums in honor of Paul’s bathroom stop in little Nowheresville, Illinois. I was really wondering what the big deal was with some old washed up rock star, but I tried to act interested anyways. My mom gave me an Abbey Road CD shortly afterward. It sat in my room for about two months before I bothered to even give it a listen. When I did, it changed my life.

A Question of Faith

Feb 17, 2011

When I was a child, I began attending a Catholic church every Saturday or Sunday with my parents. I also began taking religion classes, which were basically a Sunday School on Wednesday nights. When I was young, I didn’t mind this. I somewhat even enjoyed it; after all, all my friends were there with me. But as I got older, it wasn't quite the same. Believing in things that the church taught like the stories of the Bible was like trying to convince myself that Santa was still real. As much as I wanted to believe them, I just couldn’t force myself to anymore.

Making Waves

Feb 16, 2011
Farah Tamizuddin - Springfield High School
WUIS/Illinois Issues

I never text and drive. I assiduously abstain from all Chapstick-checking, hair-fixing, last-minute primping as soon as I get behind the wheel. Friends and family have informed me that I am the slowest driver in Springfield; the slowpoke crawling down Lawrence at 28 mph. 

"The Fear of Ourselves"

Feb 15, 2011
Luke Buscher - Southeast High School
Randy Eccles / WUIS/Illinois Issues

I believe that fear hinders our ability to be completely open and honest with one another. It drives us mad, forcing us to contain ourselves, to hold back. The fear of judgment and embarrassment silences our expressions, even when what we most want is for someone to understand us on the most fundamental level.


Feb 14, 2011
Bennett Stephens - Springfield High School
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Many teenagers strive to be normal.  The question is what does it mean to live a normal life?  Is it being on a sports team? Doing well in your classes? Having a big group of friends?  Whether it is any of these, as long as you are happy and enjoy yourself, I consider it a normal life.  Life has a tendency of making this goal difficult; for me life threw Type 1 Diabetes my way.  Every individual deals with problems differently, but I believe they can be dealt with accordingly to lead a normal life.

Prairieland Voices
Randy Eccles / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Marion van der Loo directs this preview performance before their holiday performance this weekend.

Jim Nutt, Bump, 2008. Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art,  Kansas City, MO
Jim Nutt / David Nolan Gallery, New York

Jim Nutt can take more than a year producing his paintings of women’s heads.

Walldogs: Building Murals Spruce Up Towns

Dec 1, 2010
Walldogs mural
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Former U.S. House Speaker ‘Uncle’ Joe Cannon, actor Dick Van Dyke and Chuckles candy all have something in common: They once called Danville home and recently had a mural painted of them. 

This August, the Walldogs, a group of sign and mural artists from around the world, descended on downtown Danville. Over the course of four days, a total of 16 murals were painted, bringing to life the town’s history and heritage. 

McGroarty says one of the most memorable events of the month was having breakfast with astronaut Jim Lovell, commander of the Apollo 13 mission.
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Most people who have had an enjoyable trip to a museum have likely wondered what it would be like to stay after it closed — getting the run of the place after everyone else has gone home. No waiting in line. No restrictions or velvet ropes to stand behind.