Boneyard Arts Festival: 11 years and still a first-filled fest

Boneyard Arts Festival: 11 years and still a first-filled fest

Pop-up galleries, glass-blowing demonstrations, open artist studios and performances — all are among the myriad events taking place this weekend as part of the 11th annual Boneyard Arts Festival.

The festival will encompass more than 100 indoor and outside venues, both traditional and not.

Boneyard "District Days" will focus on the University of Illinois campus Thursday evening; Champaign and Urbana on Friday and Saturday; and Fisher, Homer, Mahomet and Rantoul and other places on Sunday.

"This is our 11th year, and I couldn't be more thrilled with the way the artists and businesses have come together to express the creative voice of this community. With over 100 venues and hundreds of artists participating, there is something for everyone — this is an unequaled opportunity to experience our vibrant and diverse arts scene," said Kelly White, executive director of 40 North 88 West Champaign County Arts Council, creator and coordinator of the festival .

There are a few firsts this year, too. This is the first time that Fisher, 22 miles northwest of Champaign, has joined the festival.

The Fisher business community will host the Boneyard events from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Fisher Community Center, 100 E. School St. Among the artists whose work will be on display there are photographers Ryann Kesler and Kristin Darling, who will offer an interactive photo booth.

Also featured at Fisher: Be Kind Illinois: The Ben's Bells Project, a nonprofit community art project focused on the creation of Ben's Bells — ceramic hanging works of art inspired by the spirit of Ben Mare Packard, who died at age 2 of the croup.

Participants will make ceramic beads to create brightly colored chimes, called Ben's Bells, as part of a nationwide grassroots effort for spreading kindness. They are then placed in trees, left there for whoever happens upon them to take down and take home.

At Fisher, the Cherokee County Line also will perform top 40 country and Southern rock and originals from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday.

In Champaign, businessman Mike Hosier offered artists a vacant building (formerly Kirby's Tire & Service Center) at 311 S. Neil St., C, for use during the festival. Artists will show work there, and 12 different musical acts will perform there Friday and Saturday.

Among other highlights mentioned by White:

Nevermore Gallery at Error Records, 702 S. Neil St., C, will display from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday "weird and wonderful" works by 20 or so artists.

Artists at the Lincoln Building, 44 E. Main St., C, will open their studios from 4:30 to 9 p.m. Friday and 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. "People always enjoy that experience," White said.

The Champaign-Urbana Design Organization's annual "abCU: Letters, Words and Wisdom," a typography exhibit and fundraiser at Indi Go Artist's Co-op, 9 E. University Ave., C, is always a hit, White said.

The opening reception will be from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, with a musical performance by Ryan Groff from 7 to 10 p.m. The exhibition will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, too.

The Virginia Theatre, 203 W. Park Ave., C, will have an open house from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, with free docent-led tours every 30 minutes.

2013 Boneyard signature artist Leif Olson will show his art from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday at the Champaign County Welcome Center, 106 S. Neil St., C.

The Living Letter Press, 105 W. John St., C, will operate its press from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and allow visitors to "pull a print." Artist Lisa Kesler of Champaign will be there, working on a new linocut design.

88 Broadway in Lincoln Square Village, Urbana, will host "Turn it UP," a variety show hosted by the UP Center of Champaign County, from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday. The show requires paid admission, but most Boneyard events are free.

From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at 88 Broadway, the Conservatory of Central Illinois will have its annual Playathon, featuring live performances, among them one by the East Central Illinois Youth Orchestra at 1:15 p.m.

88 Broadway also will host from 9 p.m. Saturday to 2 a.m. Sunday the "Battle of the Beats," a competition for hip-hop DJs.

The Art Coop Gallery inside Lincoln Square Village will have its second annual "Something I Love Show," with more than 500 entries of two-dimensional art created by area artists on 5-by-5-inch formats. The show will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, with the opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m., and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.

Clark-Lindsey Village, 101 W. Windsor Road, U, is a Boneyard venue for the first time, with the "Ways of Seeing," an exhibition of photography and other work by Urbana artist Durango Mendoza. He will be there from noon to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

CU Studio Share, 110 S. Race St., U, will host a group art exhibition from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday. A music performance by Morgan Orion will take place at 5 p.m. Saturday.

The Big Shed Glass Sudio, 2394 County Road 750N, Homer, will offer glass-blowing demonstrations from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

The official festival map is inserted in today's News-Gazette. The events also are listed at programs/boneyard.