New Site – Finally!

After 5 years, we are now official. We have a .com. Please visit us at www.downtownauroran.com for all of your local culture needs.

Thank you!

Martín Soto

Martin Soto Aurora IL

Martín Soto is new to downtown Aurora. His first taste of downtown was when he rode his car, complete with a painting on top of the roof, to Chef Amaury at 33 West. 

Soto opened up a solo show at Chef Amaury’s in September. Now he is moved in on the second floor of the Metropolitan Business College building at 14 W. Downer Pl.

Soto welcomed guests to a pop up gallery in the old World Relief offices on the ground floor of the building during October’s First Fridays in Downtown Aurora.

As The Soto Art Project, Soto plans to offer painting classes to all ages soon. Stay tuned!

Submissions OPEN for DTA Holiday Guide

Downtown Auroran Holiday Guide

We are putting out our first Holiday Guide this November. We love sleigh bells, snowball fights, and roasted chestnuts — and shopping locally for holiday gifts. No matter what you celebrate, you’ll want to pick up our Holiday Guide starting Nov. 6.

For this special issue, we will feature dozens of local artisans who sell their works locally. If you have any suggestions on items to feature in our Holiday Guide, we want to hear from you.

As always, we are looking for artwork, poetry, short stories (holiday-themed), and photography to add to the issue. Please email submissions to downtownauroran@gmail.com by Sept. 30.

Our advertising deadline is Oct. 10. Thank you for supporting Aurora’s only free arts and culture publication.

New Library Art Contest

NEW ART

A Dunham Fund grant that is financing the fabrication and installation of the “Dream Catcher,” an art piece for the Richard and Gina Santori Public Library of Aurora, also will provide for public artwork for the new library through an art competition.

The theme of the competition is “Art for Technology.” The Richard and Gina Santori Public Library of Aurora will be a community gathering hub with modern amenities and access to information, knowledge and ideas through a variety of avenues, methods and instruments. The library is inviting local artists to develop unique, high quality, one-of-a-kind art pieces that reflect the competition’s theme.

There will be four classifications:

  • Class 1: First through fourth grade
  • Class 2: Fifth through eighth grade
  • Class 3: Ninth through twelfth grade
  • Class 4: Beyond high school / adult

A first, second and third place winner will be chosen in each class. First-place winners will receive a $500 Visa gift card and their pieces will be displayed in the Santori Library with plaques recognizing the artists. First-place artwork will become the property of the Aurora Public Library.

Each second-place winner will receive a $250 Visa gift card and a second place ribbon. Third-place winners will receive $125 Visa cards and ribbons.

Entrants must either reside in Aurora, own taxable property in Aurora, or own a business whose address is within the corporate city limits of Aurora.

Artwork must be two-dimensional, unframed, and at least 24 by 24 inches but not more than 48 by 48 inches.

Entries may be paintings, drawings, collages, prints, computer-generated art, photographs or mixed media. Artwork must be in the original medium; scanned reproduction of a work will not be accepted.

Submissions will be accepted ONLY on Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015, at the Main Library. Winners will be announced during a press conference on Friday, March 6, 2015.

To access complete guidelines, please go to http://www.aurorapubliclibrary.org/art-contest/

Call Special Projects Librarian Bonnie Tilton Sebby, 630-264-4165 or email her at btsebb@aurora.lib.il.us for more information.

Free, Local Playwright Festival on Sept. 20

The Fox Valley Park District will spotlight its local performing arts talent with a day-long dedication to playwrights on Saturday, Sept. 20, from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the Prisco Community Center (150 W. Illinois Ave., Aurora).

The Premiere Theatre Company’s New Works Playwright Festival will feature all levels of playwrights, from experienced adults to first-time child writers with active imaginations. In all, 14 new plays written by eight playwrights from throughout the Chicago area will be presented, ranging from 10-minute plays and short works to full-length staged readings.

“Romantic comedies, thought-provoking dramas and reflective monologues – they’ll all be on the program,” said performing arts supervisor Kyle Donahue.  Panel discussions with a professional feedback panel are part of the program as well.

The morning performances will consist of interactive plays for children. Audience members are encouraged to dress up as their favorite monster or fairy tale creature. Adult performances begin at noon, with 12 new works being presented throughout the afternoon and evening.

The all-ages event is open all day, allowing visitors to come and go. A $5 donation is suggested but not required. Refreshments will be available for purchase throughout the day.

For a detailed schedule of plays, visit www.foxvalleyparkdistrict.org/drama. To contact the Prisco Center, call 630-859-8606.

One Paragraph Review: CATS at Paramount Theatre

"Cats" runs through Oct. 12 at Paramount Theatre in Aurora.

“Cats” runs through Oct. 12 at Paramount Theatre in Aurora.

“What does it mean, mommy?”
“I don’t know dear. Go ask T.S. Eliot.”

If you spend too much time interpreting Cats, based on Old Possom’s Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot, then you’ve likely missed the point. Even if there is a point, and if Andrew Lloyd Webber was inscrutably conveying a message through the musical, then I’ll tell you right now that you just don’t get it. Cats is otherworldly; it’s beyond us. It’s Jellicle. And to understand Jellicle, you need to get to the Paramount now and catch Shawn Stengel’s beautifully spectacular production of Cats. You will encounter the likes of Jennyanydots, an old gumbie cat whose costume is incredibly impressive, and Mistoffelees, cleverly played by Terrance Martin. Of course, two performances stand out in Paramount’s Cats: Lauren Villegas as Grizabella and Sawyer Smith as Rum Tum Tugger. Villegas plays Grizabella so well that we don’t even bother questioning the need of a back story as to why the glamour cat was cast out of the tribe in the first place (OK. Maybe I was curious.) and her rendition of “Memory” was so deep and sorrowful that you just want to rub her belly. As far as Smith goes, he is quickly becoming an Aurora favorite. After putting depth and sass into last season’s production of RENT, Smith once again adds humor, hip thrusts, and great dance moves to the stage. As with every Paramount production under the artistic direction of Jim Corti, Cats is incredibly choreographed and from silks to bungies to two acrobatic cats, the show brings non-stop excitement with every musical number. Cats introduces us all to the magical world of cockroach training and midnight dances, and we get a primer on the principal feline characters that make up the fantastical world of the Jellicles. It’s weird, but you’ll love it.

Cats is now showing at the Paramount Theatre in Aurora, Ill. through Oct. 12. Call (630) 896-6666 for tickets. Cats is rated G for all audiences.

Lil Bub Comes to Aurora

Lil Bub visits The Yetee during First Fridays in Downtown Aurora in September.

Lil Bub visits The Yetee during First Fridays in Downtown Aurora in September.

Lil Bub! If you haven’t heard of Lil Bub, then you’ve been missing out on oodles of cuteness for the last several months. Lil Bub is a spectacular cat who has received worldwide fame. We are lucky that she took the time to visit us in Aurora. Thanks Lil Bub, and thanks Yetee! For more photos, visit our Facebook page. Just CLICK HERE!