Springfield Area Arts Council

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Originally aired March 4, 2021.

The Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln produced this Next 10 Extra panel to discuss investing in the arts to develop Springfield's economy.

Sheila Walk

Originally aired November 21, 2020.

Charles Scott is Co-Founder and CEO of The Garvey Tubman Cultural Arts and Research Center. Sheila Walk is Interiem Executive Director of the Springfield Area Arts Center. Both organizations are heavily involved in the arts community. The Garvey Tubman Center had the opportunity to give music classes through funds provided by the Levitt Foundation Amp Grant which The Springfield Area Arts Council has been instrumental in helping to secure. Charles and Sheila talk about their organziations, the impact of the Levitt Foundation Amp Grant, and more with Community Voices' Bea Bonner. 

This year marks the 31st annual First Night celebration of the arts in downtown Springfield. 

Meet The New Springfield Area Arts Council Director

Jan 29, 2015
Rachel Otwell/WUIS

The Springfield Area Arts Council has a new director. Jon Austin is an Illinois native who has led a host of non-profit organizations. He's headed the Illinois State Historical Society and was the director of the Museum of Funeral Customs. He says he's excited to be a part of Springfield's diverse arts community. He joins for this introductory interview:  

courtesy photo

The former executive director of the State Historical Society is now the head of the Springfield Area Arts Council.   Jon Austin started his job with the beginning of the new year. 

He also was founding director of the Museum of Funeral Customs. 

Austin replaces Penny Wollan-Kriel who retired in the fall.

Plans For First Night Springfield Revealed

Nov 24, 2014

It's the 28th year for the family-friendly New Year's Eve event. The Springfield Area Arts Council is hosting a 5K run the Sunday before December 31st.  An optional buffet dinner is also back for a second year. And First Night's Laura Vaught highlighted a new participant: 


Penny Wollan-Kriel will retire at the end of next month as Executive Director of the Springfield Area Arts Council.  But she won't give up her connection to the arts community. 

'I am definitely staying back.  I do not want to be someone looking over the shoulder of the new Executive Director," she said.  "I will continue my involvement in the arts and with children."

She is a Springfield native who grew up dancing. Her  connection to the arts goes back to her childhood. Wollan-Kriel has spent a combined 17 years with the arts council. 

Every spring and summer, local artists can be seen performing in the plaza outside of the old state capitol in Springfield. We speak with Sheila Walk, who tells us about the Artist on the Plaza events which happen twice a week:

CLICK HERE for more information on the Artist on the Plaza events on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons in downtown Springfield.