Yvonne Boose

Arts and Culture Reporter

Yvonne covers artistic, cultural, and spiritual expressions in the COVID-19 era. This could include how members of community cultural groups are finding creative and innovative ways to enrich their personal lives through these expressions individually and within the context of their larger communities. Boose is a recent graduate of the Illinois Media School and returns to journalism after a career in the corporate world.

https://app.cuseum.com/rockford-art-museum

Illinois is under a Tier 3 Mitigation strategy in efforts to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Indoor gatherings that don’t include those from the same household are prohibited. One northern Illinois museum isn’t letting this stop their show.

Richard Holinger.

Welcome to WNIJ's Poetically Yours. Poetically Yours showcases poems by northern Illinois poets. This week's poem is by Richard Holinger

Yvonne Boose

This first day of December is Giving Tuesday and one northern Illinois organization is asking for help -- so they can help others.

Major Mark Martsolf is the Winnebago County coordinator for the Salvation Army. He said the organization served way more families this year than last.  

“I've been a Salvation Army officer for 40 years. I've just not seen the need so pronounced,” he said. “First time recipients, people who have to rely on support services that never had to before, perhaps they're laid off from their jobs.”

https://www.facebook.com/uurockford/photos/a.10150736879115955/10150971513235955

When you think of an auction you might think fast-talking auctioneers and excited participants raising their hands or shouting out bids. COVID-19 has silenced this practice. But one northern Illinois church is continuing with its annual sale while helping local artists during the process.

The Unitarian Universalist church in Rockford is holding an online auction, marketplace and art fair. The event is normally for the church family only, but this year is open to anyone who visits their website.

Provided by Christine Swanberg.

Welcome to WNIJ’s Thanksgiving week Poetically Yours. Poetically Yours showcases poems by northern Illinois poets. This week’s poem is by Rockford’s first ever poet laureate Christine Swanberg.

Swanberg’s published works span over several decades. Her writing has appeared in many anthologies and journals like Beloit Poetry Journal, Louisville Review, Spoon River and Earth Blessings.

https://www.facebook.com/RKFDAreaArtsCouncil/photos/a.317104908324029/3799671296734022

A northern Illinois Boys & Girls club received a grant that will help bring an attraction that’s typically outside -- inside the building.

The Rockford Fairgrounds Unit Boys & Girls Club of America is putting a mural in one of its rooms with the help of what’s called an Our Journey Action-Grant formerly known as an Our Journey Micro-Grant.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/carandus-brown-9b960173/

Welcome to WNIJ's Poetically Yours. Poetically Yours features northern Illinois poets. This week's poem is by Carandus Brown.

Brown is a devoted Christian with hopes to encourage people to find Jesus for themselves. 

Yvonne Boose

Some northern Illinois poets had to write outside the lines for a unique Woodstock art exhibition. 

“As It Happens” is an art show on display at Woodstock’s Old Courthouse Art Center. Various poets wrote pieces at different stages of visual artists’ works but the poems are much more than words on paper. 

Artist Carol Hamilton worked with the Woodstock poetry group Atrocious Poets to come up with the concept for the exhibit. She shared her observation.  

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The pandemic has caused lost sales in several industries across northern Illinois, but one turkey farmer said sales are on track for his business. He admitted he’s seeing changes in other areas.

Robert Kauffman is the president of Kauffman Turkey Farms in Waterman. He said he wasn’t sure how the pandemic would impact his business. 

“I didn't know what to expect,” he admitted. “But I do know we're doing much more over-the-counter sales right now. More people are coming in buying products.”

Yvonne Boose

Welcome to WNIJ's Poetically Yours. Poetically Yours showcases poems from northern Illinois poets. This week's poem is by Bear Wolf. 

Wolf is a Shawnee Gypsy Jew social justice humanist who lost count of his tattoos somewhere around 20. This world makes no sense to him, so he makes music and poetry.

Here's his poem "Wake Up Call, (Blue Horizons Are Just the Beginning.)"

Blue may have won 

But America is still lost 

 

The cost of living 

Is making a killing 

Rampant racism 

Races through our veins 

The stains of red 

https://kishwaukeeunitedway.com/

A local chapter of a worldwide community organization is finishing up its annual fundraising event with a virtual celebration on Thursday Nov. 12.

Kishwaukee United Way’s fundraising event “Taste: Bottles & Brews” went online this year.  

The silent auction started Nov. 5. Gretchen Sprinkle is the executive director of Kishwaukee United Way. She explained that more bidders joined the online format than had for in-person auctions held in past years, but said fundraising this year hasn’t been easy.

https://www.thewssr.org/

A Rockford poet is showing fellow writers how to bring their words to life in a new poetry workshop series.

Christopher D. Sims said he’s done spoken word poetry for over 20 years. He’s now partnering with Rockford performing arts venue The West Side Show Room in a workshop series called Graffiti Flow: Write and Perform Spoken Word Poetry. He mentioned that a friend introduced him to the venue's artistic director Mike Werckle.  

https://www.facebook.com/TheNextPictureShow

A northern Illinois arts center kept creativity flowing by challenging artists to ponder a basic technique  for a new art exhibition. 

Mike Glenn is the executive director of The Next Picture Show in Dixon. Glenn said he’s a writer so he likes to make the artists dig deeper when they create for exhibitions.  

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A northern Illinois food pantry is honoring veterans in a different way this year.

The Aurora Area Interfaith Food Pantry is holding a drive-thru celebration on Nov. 11 -- Veterans Day.  

Becky Dunnigan is the community outreach and program coordinator at the pantry. She said several artists have pitched in to enhance the experience.  

Photo provided by Paige Monét Wright.

Welcome to WNIJ's Poetically Yours. Poetically Yours showcases northern Illinois poets. This week's poem is by Paige Monét Wright, a member of FourPoets, OneMic. 

Wright was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia but moved to Illinois at the age of 14. She and her older sister were raised mainly by their mother.

Wright is a sophomore at Northern Illinois University studying biological sciences. She said she wants to be a pediatrician so that she can help children stay healthy and safe. 

https://www.elginsymphony.org/concert/quartet-at-the-cafe/

Many musicians across the country are adapting to a new normal. A northern Illinois music ensemble is doing so by bringing other art forms into its repertoire.

The Elgin Symphony Orchestra’s “Quartet at the Café” combines spoken word poetry, visual art and classical music. 

Erik Malmquist is the executive director of the orchestra. He said the pandemic immobilized large mainstage programming.

Yvonne Boose

The pandemic has forced numerous faith leaders out of the pulpit and into the homes of many via computer screens and other devices. But for some worshipers, internet sermons just aren’t enough.

The King James version of the Bible said, “And he said unto them, ‘Go ye unto all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.’” That’s Mark 16:15. 

https://www.facebook.com/PlayForTheVote

This year’s first presidential debate created lots of buzz but it also birthed a new idea. A Boston musician solicited performers across the country to play the stress away as voters wait in line this Election Day. 

Mike Block is the director of Play For The Vote, an organization designed to increase voter turnout. Block is also a composer, singer and cello player. He said the morning after the debate he found himself practicing his craft.  

Photo provided by Cheryl Sheinman.

Welcome to WNIJ's Poetically Yours. Poetically Yours showcases poems by northern Illinois poets. This week's poem is by Cheryl Sheinman. 

Sheinman is a teacher and dialogue facilitator. Being a graduate of Jungian and archetypal psychology, she writes about bringing consciousness to our social landscape via pieces on voice, justice, trauma, death and dying, gun violence and authentic dialogue. 

Lisa-Marie Mazzucco

It has been said that “Music can soothe the savage beast.” But sometimes music can be used to heighten the fright. A Chicago violinist is using her instrument to celebrate Halloween during the 18th episode of her free virtual weekly show.  

Rachel Barton Pine started doing "Family Fridays with RBP" when the pandemic hit. She said she thought it would be nice to do something for the entire family.  

https://www.freeportartmuseum.com/arts-plaza

Outdoor art is blooming in a northern Illinois city. Two new permanent sculptures will be installed at Freeport’s Arts Plaza.

The civic art space is currently under construction. Jessica Modica, the arts plaza director for the Freeport Art Museum, said the city needed an updated outdoor art space. 

Jesse Kuntz

Two northern Illinois poets Saturday were appointed to positions new to the city of Rockford. Jocelyn Kuntz  was awarded youth poet laureate and Christine Swanberg poet laureate, in an inaugural event held at the Rockford Public Library’s Nordlof Center.  

 

Swanberg is an award-winning poet who has more than 500 published works. She encouraged the other finalists.

Provided by Quentin Johnson.

Welcome to WNIJ's Poetically Yours. Poetically Yours showcases poems by northern Illinois poets. Today's poem is by Aurora Deputy Poet Laureate, Quentin Johnson. 

Johnson was born in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea to missionary parents. He grew up in the Midwest, living in Minnesota, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and Michigan. He has lived most of his life in Illinois, having resided in Metropolis, Ashkum, Oak Park and Aurora.

Photo provided by Richard Raether.

North American theater tickets sales have fallen 84% compared to the same period in 2019. That’s according to a September report by the international group TRG Arts. Despite the drop, a northern Illinois playhouse found a way to adapt during its COVID-19 financial drought.

Rockford’s Artists’ Ensemble Theater is launching a new podcast.

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/255689942351896

Spectators can’t go to haunted houses in Illinois due to COVID-19 this year but some people can still satisfy their thrill of the creepy. A northern Illinois venue is offering a different type of fright.

The Freeport Masonic Temple is having a ghost hunt on Halloween. Bill Leser is a member and said they started doing these types of investigations in December of last year.

https://pumpkinrunsycamore.com/home/1-mile-fun-run/

Put on your costumes and run in the streets -- or not. COVID-19 has caused a northern Illinois uniformed race to take another direction this year.  

Rose Treml is the executive director of the Sycamore Chamber of Commerce. She said the 10K Sycamore Pumpkin Run normally draws more than 1,600 people to the city’s streets. This year, participants have the option to run however they wish.

“You can run on a treadmill, you can run on an indoor track,” Treml said, “You can run on the Great Western Trail, wherever you want, in whatever state you want.” 

Yvonne Boose

Women's marches took place across the country Saturday. Some northern Illinois participants stretched for miles down a heavy trafficked street -- standing against President Donald Trump and his agenda.

More than 45 women and a few men showed up at the intersection of Williamsburg Avenue and Bricher Road in Geneva.

Some held signs in honor of the late supreme court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, while others showed support for Kamala Harris and Joe Biden.          

Pamela Schumacher is from Glen Ellyn. She said the women at the march have lots of concerns.

Photo provided by Susan Goldberg.

Welcome to WNIJ's Poetically Yours. Poetically Yours showcases poems by northern Illinois poets. Today's poem is by Rockford Writers' Guild member, Susan Goldberg.

Goldberg has been an attorney since 1990, and is Managing Attorney for UAW Legal Services in Belvidere, Illinois. She writes for the Illinois State Bar Association and for LexisNexis. Goldberg is married to Dan Goldberg and has three adult children. The best advice she’s ever received was to read aloud to her children.

Photo provided by Joseph Piscitelli.

Most entertainers were forced to step out of the spotlight when COVID-19 appeared. But what happened to those who provide that light? The pandemic jolted the careers of two northern Illinois video professionals, causing them to temporarily go out of focus.

Yvonne Boose

The city of Aurora is celebrating a Mexican holiday by displaying sweet skeleton expressions throughout its downtown area.

The Day of the Dead, also known as All Souls' Day, is when Mexican families welcome back the souls of their loved ones who passed away. Sugar skull art is normally made during this time. 

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