Peoria Art Commission Approves Arts Action Plan | News

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Peoria exceeds by enriching the quality of life of its residents through a variety of public events, cultural programs and by continuing to represent the traditions and heritage of the city through public art.

The Peoria Arts Commission has approved the Arts Action Plan for fiscal year 2022. It will continue to build community awareness and accessibility of public art for the city.

Despite the pandemic, the commission was able to accomplish many of the elements of the 2021 tax plan, including arts grant funding, utility box art wraps, and art postcards. These programs will all be continued and expanded over the coming year.

The Art Grants program is essential for organizations in Peoria because they expand the reach of access to the arts and engage city residents. The arts grants budget for the coming year is $75,000, which will fund 16 local organizations.

TheaterWorks, one of the grant recipients, produced “Curiouser and Curiouser,” an immersive live theater production in which audiences had the opportunity to experience a walking narrative throughout the theater.

Cate Hinkle, CEO of TheaterWorks, said TheaterWorks is a “community theater” and believes it’s essential to deliver programs that engage with the city.

“The Arts Commission plays a very important role in the ability of arts organizations to produce and create programs to benefit the citizens of Peoria. There have been programs in the past that we couldn’t have offered without the support of the Arts Grants,” Hinkle said.

Another program that will continue in 2022 will be the Utility Box Art Envelopes. This program gives local artists the opportunity to showcase their art to the city in the form of creative art packaging on utility boxes.

One of the 2021 competition winners, Kesmine Hickman, said she was grateful for the opportunity to publicly display her art in the city.

“Art is something everyone can relate to on some level and that’s why I want to use my art to spread positivity. I really enjoyed participating because it allowed me to try something so different and it was such a fun and honorable experience,” she said.

For the coming year, the commission hopes to continue its open signing events safely. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, traditional events, such as the arts and culture festival, could not take place.

Julia Smock, chair of the Peoria Arts Commission, looks forward to seeing some kind of “normality” in the arts in Peoria schools and community. Smock said she believes art is an essential element in the community, as she has been personally touched by the arts and sees the engagement in it every day.

“The arts are about bringing people into dialogue, and a lot of people don’t think how complete that is. It’s a huge part of our economy and who we are,” she said.

The 2022 Arts Action Plan will be presented to the Peoria City Council early next year for approval.

By SCIANNA GARCIA

Peoria Times Contributing Editor

Peoria exceeds by enriching the quality of life of its residents through a variety of public events, cultural programs and by continuing to represent the traditions and heritage of the city through public art.

The Peoria Arts Commission has approved the Arts Action Plan for fiscal year 2022. It will continue to build community awareness and accessibility of public art for the city.

Despite the pandemic, the commission was able to accomplish many of the elements of the 2021 tax plan, including arts grant funding, utility box art wraps, and art postcards. These programs will all be continued and expanded over the coming year.

The Art Grants program is essential for organizations in Peoria because they expand the reach of access to the arts and engage city residents. The arts grants budget for the coming year is $75,000, which will fund 16 local organizations.

TheaterWorks, one of the grant recipients, produced “Curiouser and Curiouser,” an immersive live theater production in which audiences had the opportunity to experience a walking narrative throughout the theater.

Cate Hinkle, CEO of TheaterWorks, said TheaterWorks is a “community theater” and believes it’s essential to deliver programs that engage with the city.

“The Arts Commission plays a very important role in the ability of arts organizations to produce and create programs to benefit the citizens of Peoria. There have been programs in the past that we couldn’t have offered without the support of the Arts Grants,” Hinkle said.

Another program that will continue in 2022 will be the Utility Box Art Envelopes. This program gives local artists the opportunity to showcase their art to the city in the form of creative art packaging on utility boxes.

One of the 2021 competition winners, Kesmine Hickman, said she was grateful for the opportunity to publicly display her art in the city.

“Art is something everyone can relate to on some level and that’s why I want to use my art to spread positivity. I really enjoyed participating because it allowed me to try something so different and it was such a fun and honorable experience,” she said.

For the coming year, the commission hopes to continue its open signing events safely. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, traditional events, such as the arts and culture festival, could not take place.

Julia Smock, chair of the Peoria Arts Commission, looks forward to seeing some kind of “normality” in the arts in Peoria schools and community. Smock said she believes art is a vital part in the community, as she has been personally touched by the arts and sees the commitment to it every day.

“The arts are about bringing people into dialogue, and a lot of people don’t think how complete that is. It’s a huge part of our economy and who we are,” she said.

The 2022 Arts Action Plan will be presented to the Peoria City Council early next year for approval.

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