Big plans in place for Jacksonville fine arts in 2017

By Ryne Turke on August 26, 2016 at 5:28am

Garrett Allman discusses plans for the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra and Chorale at Playhouse on the Square

Yesterday’s press conference makes a good argument that Jacksonville is the hub of fine arts in West Central Illinois.

Future plans for almost a dozen Jacksonville organizations were highlighted during the seventh annual Jacksonville Center for the Arts Press Conference.

According to statistics presented in the opening reception, approximately 100,000 people supported the arts in Jacksonville last year, leading to a two-million-dollar boost in the local economy.

Ken Bradbury was excited to present what the theatre department of Lincoln Land Community College has in store for 2017. Bradbury and several LLCC students will be going to local grade schools over the next few months to give kids an opportunity to try their luck at improv acting.

“I run into so many young kids in the Jacksonville area that want to do theatre. Now that the Theatre Guild is defunct for a while, there isn’t a lot of opportunities for them.  I thought we could go to North Elementary, Triopia and Trinity School to teach them improv skills. Improv is a fun doorway to theatre,” says Bradbury.

The 14 student improv troupe will work with kids on a volunteer basis.

On the musical side, Garrett Allman from the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra and Chorale is incorporating Shakespeare into future performances.

“Our opening concert is entitled Celebrate the Bard, which honors the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. It will include orchestra music and solo voice, that was written and based on writings of Shakespeare,” says Allman.

Jacksonville native Ryan Kuster, who has performed opera across the county, will be featured in the performances. The orchestra consists of around 50 adults from the Jacksonville area.

The performances start on October 8th at Rammelkamp Chapel.

The Strawn Art Gallery is embarking on its second century of offering arts at little or no cost to the community. Dana Ryan mentioned the Strawn Art Gallery offers a new exhibit each month, with woodworking and photography coming in the near future.

Other organizations represented included MacMurray College, Illinois College TheatreWorks and Fine Arts departments, Imagine Foundation, Playhouse on the Square and the Prairieland Chautauqua.