Event to feature area art talent

By Natalie Carino

40 North/88 West, the Champaign County Arts, Culture and Entertainment Council, will host the Boneyard Arts Festival on April 21 from 4-9 p.m., and April 22-23 from 12-5 p.m. The festival will feature visual arts displays from local artists, as well as artists from Chicago.

Boneyard Arts Festival was started in 2001 by the event’s chairwoman, Jenny Southlynn, and was originally called the Octopus Gallery Walk after the Octopus Newspaper. In 2003, after the newspaper closed, 40 North/88 West began sponsoring the exhibit and named it after Boneyard Creek.

“We saw the creek as a unifying symbol because it goes through the Champaign-Urbana area, and we also thought it was funny,” Southlynn said.

The event showcases the area’s talent and the partnerships among its arts and entertainment community and local businesses.

“The festival is unique because it isn’t placed in traditional venues,” said Jennifer Armstrong, executive director of 40 North/88 West. “Art will be displayed in cafes, law offices and restaurants. We are hoping this relationship continues after this weekend.”

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    Community members can view parts of the exhibits at over 80 locations including Alpha Rho Chi Fraternity, 1108 S. First Street; Caff‚ Paradiso, 801 S. Lincoln Ave.; Espresso Royale Caf‚, 602 E. Daniel St.; and the Illini Union Art Gallery. Maps and information tables will be located in Champaign-Urbana downtown areas and on Green Street in front of Noodles & Co., 528 E. Green St.

    “It is valuable for the community to see how people in art work,” said Kim Curtis.

    Curtis is a local artist who has participated in the festival for the past two years. She paints abstract oil landscapes, using inspiration from the Champaign-Urbana area and California. Curtis’ work will be on display at High Cross Studios, 1101 N. High Cross Rd., and the iCyt Building in the University Research Park.

    For late-night patrons, the Boneyard will host Late Night spACE on Friday and Saturday from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m at the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center. It will feature interactive visuals, live music and special appearances from Chicago artists. Tickets are $5 for a one night pass and $7 for a two night pass. Tickets can be purchased at the door.

    On Sunday, the organizers of the festival are encouraging Champaign-Urbana citizens to drive to local towns that are also participating in the festival, including Dewey, Mahomet, Rantoul and Savoy.

    “I think this is the way the world should be everyday, where art is an integral part of the community,” Southlynn said.