Artist/therapist, his family find quiet, calm at 'Birdland'

WHITE HEATH – Like most artists, Michael Hoag works a day job – as a therapist – to help support himself and his family and what seems to be their idyllic existence at "Birdland."

His wife, Mary Lucille Hays, a writer and University of Illinois rhetoric instructor, gave the place that name for the small aviary her husband built for her there.

Mayor, others shrink from art project cost

URBANA – A proposed combination newspaper rack and art project at the Champaign County Courthouse is seen as a financial extravagance by Urbana City Council members and the mayor.

Danville Art League pushing on with plans for building

DANVILLE – An Indiana development company's project to build a senior housing complex in downtown Danville has failed to get tax credit funding through the state of Illinois, but the company may reapply later this year.

Studio Visit: Barbara Ryan, 51, of Urbana

A Q&A chat with Barbara Ryan, 51, of Urbana.

N-G Film Series: Costner revisits frontier in 'Wolves'

What could be more appropriate for the dog days of summer than a hot, dusty western film? You can see an award-winning example of the genre when "Dances With Wolves" shows in The News-Gazette Film Series at 1 and 7 p.m. Saturday at the Virginia Theatre in downtown Champaign.

Kevin Costner's 1990 film was the first western to win an Oscar in 60 years, and like the other westerns to win Oscars ("Cimarron," the first, Clint Eastwood's "Unforgiven," and possibly "No Country for Old Men") it is far from conventional.

Anniversary tour of Michigan was a pleasant adventure

Our 40th anniversary celebration was an adventure trip. As our present to ourselves, Linda and I decided to explore Michigan on our way to a wedding.

Getting Personal: Champaign florist Rick Orr

Each week, we will submit a local personality to a Q&A grilling. Today, a chat with Champaign florist Rick Orr.

Studio Visit: Jessie Knox, 56, of Urbana

Q: When did you start making art?

A: I can't remember when I didn't do it. In grade school I would do all the bulletin boards and backdrops for the student plays. I did medical illustrations for science classes. I did school emblems. During Black History Month, I'd do drawings of Harriet Tubman, George Washington Carver and other historical figures.

Allerton Music Barn Festival starting to gain lofty status

MONTICELLO – A rarely produced tango opera, chamber music, jazz and American music, plus a brass band, will be on tap at the third annual Allerton Music Barn Festival over the Labor Day weekend.

The festival runs from Sept. 3 through 7, lasting one day longer than last year. Tickets are on sale now.

Artist's reception set for Thursday at Parkland gallery

CHAMPAIGN – The artist's reception for "Michael Hoag: Layered Images" at the Parkland Art Gallery will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday , with a gallery talk by the artist at 7 p.m. and music by Jordan Kaye in the gallery lounge.

The gallery earlier reported an incorrect date for the reception.