Melissa Merli: Boneyard's best

Melissa Merli: Boneyard's best

The Boneyard Arts Festival can be overwhelming, with events of all kinds in more than 100 venues throughout Champaign-Urbana and elsewhere.

Some things happening would have anyway, even without the festival, but are thrown into the mix. Such as the 12th annual International Capoeira Conference, set for Thursday through Sunday on the University of Illinois campus.

I love watching this hybrid of martial arts, dance and acrobatics. Amazing.

Here are my best bets for the rest of the festival:


I like 2014 Boneyard signature artist Laura Wennstrom's work — she tends to use lots of recycled materials. Her show, "Inside/Outside," opens today with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Murphy Gallery, University Y, 1001 S. Wright St., C.


I love the temporary pop-up galleries and events in otherwise empty buildings. They have a hip, urban, cutting-edge feel. There are at least two worth checking out.

The former Kirby Tire, 311 S. Neil St., C, will have art and performances from 3-10 p.m. Friday and noon-10 p.m. Saturday. Likewise, empty spaces in the Central Illinois offices at 314 N. Walnut St., C, will be transformed by local artists and UI MFA candidates. DJs will spin tunes, too. Hours are: 5-10 p.m. Friday; 2-10 p.m. Saturday.

It's also great fun to visit the Lincoln Building Artist Studios, particularly Jess Beyler's "penthouse" in the historic building, 44 E. Main St., C. The open hours vary per studio; general hours for Boneyard are 5-9 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday.

Urbana's Nina Paley is wildly talented — and funny. Her quilts, a new passion for her, and paintings from her award-winning animated feature "Sita Sings the Blues" will be at Amara Yoga and Art, Lincoln Square Village, U. Meet her there between 7-9 p.m. Friday, when she will show "Sita," and from 1-4 p.m. Saturday.


The 2013 Boneyard festival-goers voted the Fisher Community Center, 100 E. School St., the most popular "out-and-about" venue. It's free and open again from 1-4 p.m. Sunday, with photographs, an interactive photo booth, oil paintings, ceramics, jewelry, free on-site caricature drawings and other activities, plus light refreshments. Fun!

Melissa Merli covers arts and entertainment for The News-Gazette. E-mail her at

Topics (1):Art