Melissa Merli: Figure One leader building strong bonds with community

The last few times I've gone to a reception or other event at Figure One in Champaign, the place has been packed.

So much so I have to return another time to study the art and other things on display in the downtown venue.

Studio Visit: Judie Spencer

Studio Visit is a Q&A with a local artist. Here, a chat with Judie Spencer of Urbana, a jewelry maker with a bachelor of fine arts degree in metals from the University of Illinois.

Q: When did you study at the U of I? Did you study with Billie Theide?

A: I studied with Billie Theide and Alan Mette, and I graduated in 1989.

Look ahead: Top picks from Melissa Merli for the week to come

Look ahead: Top picks from Melissa Merli for the week to come

Entertainment listings, May 15-22, 2014

A listing of events, provided by the venues. Here are instructions for submitting entries.

Special events

This weekend

That's entertainment: Spotlighting events around the area, May 14, 2014

Violin recital

URBANA — Violinist Sara Sasaki will perform in Urbana Pops Orchestra's last of five free recitals, at 2 p.m. Saturday in the auditorium of Urbana Free Library, 210 W. Green St.

She will play Beethoven's Violin Sonata No. 10 in G Major, Op. 96, and Henryk Wieniawski's Scherzo-Tarantelle, Op. 16. Pianist Sarah Schwartz will accompany her.

Parkland graphic design student work goes on display

CHAMPAIGN — The Parkland College Graphic Design Student Juried Exhibition will be on display in the Parkland Art Gallery from Monday through June 7.

A reception for the students will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, with the awards ceremony at 7 p.m. As with all events in the handicapped-accessible gallery, the exhibit and reception are free and open to the public.

UI professor's photos on display at Illini Union

URBANA — “De Espaldas/Seen from the Back,” an exhibit of photographs by University of Illinois Professor Alejandro Lugo, will be on display in the Illini Union Art Gallery through June 27.

Melissa Merli: UI's Wise shows off her art chops

Phyllis Wise was raised by two scientists, immigrants from China, who taught her both verbally and non-verbally that she would become a biologist.

"I didn't come to realize until later the importance of the arts," she said.

One thing that led to that realization:

Studio Visit: Charlie Charlyn Hester

Studio Visit is a Q&A with an area artist. Here, a chat with Charlie Charlyn Hester, 36, of Danville, a comedienne, singer, visual artist and mother of three children.

Q: I didn't know you made visual art too.

Look ahead: Top picks from Melissa Merli for the week to come

Look ahead: Top picks from Melissa Merli for the week to come

One free event I look forward to this week is the Urbana Park District's first Roots Walk in Crystal Lake Park. From 6 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, local acoustic groups will be stationed at various places along the pathways, performing roots music. This is modeled after Jazz Walk in September at Meadowbrook Park.