•The Elgin Literary Festival brought four featured speakers to the Hemmens Cultural Center for two days of free programing on the written word. The festival includes a poetry night, panels, and workshops for readers and writers.
•The Elgin Fringe Festival celebrated 5 years in September with two weekends of performance and visual arts as well as the Family Fringe.
•Including a red-carpet arrival and performances, finalist films from all over the world, and a live performance by Chamber Music on the Fox, the 10th year of ESFF was a huge success with over 550 tickets sold.
•Art Harvest entered its third year as a celebration of public art and the Halloween season. This event was the official unveiling of the two new pieces of public art in downtown as well as a celebration of arts at DuPage Court with arts and crafts, decorate your own pumpkin, face painting, haunted maze, and downtown business trick or treating.
•Kwanzaa Celebration kicked off in December of 2017 at the Gail Borden Public Library with local organizations participating in the seven core principles of Kwanzaa and live performance by Kucha and Baba Tony. Kwanzaa is back this year on December 2nd from 2-4pm at the Gail Borden Public Library.
Public Art: Two new pieces of public art were selected as part of the New Works program. The Call for Art brought back sixteen responses from all over North America in both 2D and 3D proposals. The ECAC awarded the honorariums to Ben Pierce and Pamela Seatter. Ben Pierce’s “The Shape of Happiness” is located on Foundry Park and is a collection of stainless-steel circles with various finishes. In speaking about the piece Ben said, “I was inspired by a childhood memory - playing with, chasing and popping bubbles. I can’t exactly remember these times but there are photos. There is a look of pure happiness and not a care in the world displayed on this young child’s face (my own). I want to capture that moment of joy in this sculpture and maybe I can go back to that place in my mind.” Pamela Seatter’s new mural, “Stronger Together” can be seen in the Centre of Elgin’s parking deck on the first floor. “This mural was inspired by the Women’s Marches and the Me Too Movement. When I attended the Women’s Marches in Chicago, I was surprised by what a positive and empowering experience it was to stand in solidarity with people of all different ages, sizes, colors, and socio-economic backgrounds in support of human rights. My mural depicts a diverse group of women’s faces put together in the form of a quilt, making up the beautiful, and powerful, fabric of society. Quilting, a traditional women's art form, represents the way we are connected by our common experiences. I hope to inspire women and girls to be confident and strong, to feel proud to share their stories, and to know they are not alone. We are Stronger Together!”
Grants: The ECAC awarded over $58,000 in grants to local artists and arts organizations for event programming such as children’s theater, original student-created opera, workshops, graphic novel printing and publication, and so much more.
What does 2019 look like? All of the programming we completed in 2018 will be back in 2019 starting with the Elgin Literary Festival on January 25 & 26, 2019. Elgin Fringe Festival and the Elgin Short Film Festival will be back in September, Art Harvest will return on the last Saturday of October, and Kwanzaa will return in December. Two new pieces of public art will be selected in early spring for installation in the summer/fall. In addition to these programs, the ECAC will be rolling out a new grant as well as a new public art program. The Neighborhood Public Art Grant will allow neighborhood organizations to apply for matching funds to get a sculpture in their neighborhood. The Utility Box Wrapping Program will apply original artwork to utility boxes in the downtown.
Be sure to check the website for the most up to date information on all things ECAC: http://cityofelgin.org/60/Cultural-Arts. You can also check our Facebook page for events and programing information.
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