An Impact Built to Last

As this issue goes to print, the feel of autumn is just around the corner. Families are planning their final summer trips, and back-to-school promotions are everywhere. What did you do this summer?

Did you make time to shop the farmers’ market? Did you explore our parks, the zoo, the Illinois River? Take in a concert on the riverfront? A Corn Stock production at Bradley Park? Attend a First (or Fourth) Friday studio walk? Check out the exhibits at the Caterpillar Visitors Center and Peoria Riverfront Museum? Or maybe a road trip to the Orpheum Theatre in Galesburg? The good news is, the weather in central Illinois will allow you to do all of these things for a while longer.

As children and teachers go back to school, fall fundraisers are gearing up to support our local nonprofits. The Peoria Art Guild’s 56th annual Fine Art Fair is back on the riverfront the last weekend of September. An exciting new initiative, the Big Picture Peoria Street & Film Festival, takes over the Warehouse District on October 13th. The Peoria Park District’s newest park, Rocky Glen, has its grand public opening a week later. And of course, there’s the Morton Pumpkin Festival, Pekin Marigold Festival, Oktoberfest… the list goes on and on.

This issue of Art & Society is particularly eclectic, highlighting food, dress, photography, the arts, local entrepreneurs and more. Photographer David Vernon’s brilliant cover shines a light on one of our region’s most significant institutions: the Contemporary Art Center of Peoria, where you’ll find an extensive mix of cultural and arts-related activities each and every week.

While we often highlight what’s new in the community, we also celebrate those individuals and organizations who have built something to last. The CAC has been a jewel of our community since it opened more than two decades ago—thanks to co-founder Preston Jackson’s vision, the day-to-day leadership of Executive Director William Butler, and an incredible cast of board members, artists, volunteers and other supporters. We salute them for the enormous impact they’ve had on our community.

As always, remember to shop our local businesses, support local nonprofits, buy local art, attend local events and find your role in our community. As the region continues to evolve, we must never forget how important it is to support what we have. See you around! a&s