Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Alley Art Festival: Final Artist List 2014

In Art, Culture, Events, People on August 5, 2014 at 1:41 pm

Don Picton Mastosquid

Say what? Alley Art Festival is happening from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 30? Sweet!

Check out the lineup of this year’s artists. You’ll want to make a day of it, so we invited Jerry’s Hot Dogs out to keep everyone fed. We’ll also have music and spectacle all day long.

Come on down and have a real good time on Water Street Mall (between Downer and Galena) in downtown Aurora.


Alice DuBois
Ariel Hodge
Becka Davis
Carlos Deltoro
Cassidy Alexander
Charles Huff
Chris Evans
Chris Hodge
Chris Pawlowski
Chris Szostek
Chrissy Wright
Christian Bee
Christina Gutierrez
Daniel Cox
Darius Hurley
Desiree Franklin
Don Picton
Ellis Maldonado
Fareeha Bakhrani
Gail Chrisse
Georgia Alderson
Javi Terrazas
Jeanne Hoch
Jeff Weber
Jennifer Edmondson
Jessi Cox
Joe Hadamik
John Burke
John Heinz
Judi Kickel
Katrina Henderson
Kirsten Thomas
Kris DuCharme
Kristin Jones
Laura Wright
Leslie Sabella
Lita Lu
Lydia Crist
Madeline Schuster
Matt Cargill
Michael Kriz
Michelle McCarthy
Michelle Miller
Miguel SZ
Mike Mancuso
Mike Smith
Natalie Picchi
Omar Torres
Pierre Lucero
Raul Rodea
Robert Gratcyk
Rosa Nevarez
Roz Anomaly
Sasha Tweel
Solange Henson
Sophia Coulter
Staci Lockman
Susi Daniel
TJ Banks
Teresa Millies
Timothy Campbell
Tom Liebing
Valerie William

Want more? Facebook it HERE.

June 14: Biggest Day in Aurora is Cool and Green

In Art, Culture, Downtown News, Events, Music, Places on June 5, 2014 at 8:23 am

The second Saturday in June has a reputation in Aurora. It’s the busiest, most fun, and coolest day all year. Some folks spend months planning what others will take in that one day – a whirlwind of activity from dusk to dawn. So, what do you need to know about June 14? Downtown Auroran Magazine lays it out for you. Conquer the day with confidence good friends!

8 to Noon: Aurora’s Farmers Market


9 to 4: Aurora Greenfest

Aurora Greenfest logo

The 5th Annual Aurora GreenFest is coming on Saturday June 14, from 9 am to 4 pm to Prisco Community Center & McCullough Park, 150 West Illinois Ave, Aurora IL.  This free family event features a Children’s Eco-Village and Community Trade Show with over 100 eco-friendly exhibitors from the Fox Valley Region.  Find solutions for earth-friendly living with local organic food, clean renewable energy, nature exhibits, a green car expo, and recycling extravaganza.

Ride bicycles and bring friends to share a day of inspiration and fun. Enjoy live music featuring 5 piece blues fusion band Maxwell Mojo and the Hix Bros Ukulele Club Band. Explore innovative, eco-friendly solutions for recreation, home and business. Experience natural and sustainable solutions to improve the quality of life for all.

Come see what it means to be green in Aurora :

● Local Farmers: organic, hydroponic, and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

● Clean Energy Solutions: solar, wind, and geo-thermal

● Nature & Conservation: bees, eagles, chickens, bats

● Green Car, Truck & Bike Expo: electric vehicle conversions and new models

● Recycling Extravaganza: art supplies, musical instruments, electronics and more

● Children’s Eco-Village: games, art and “kids teaching kids” activities

● Live Music: local bands in the park by the beautiful Fox River

- See more at:

9 to 3 Louche Puce Market


Find items you can’t believe you’ve been living without at Aurora’s Louche Puce Market (pronounced loosh pyoose). This friendly outdoor market, named after the flea markets in Paris, hosts a wide mix of vendors offering an eclectic taste of wares.

With area artists, live acoustic music, local food vendors, and a park-like urban ambiance, Louche Puce is as much a festival as it is a market. Don’t miss your chance to browse this European-style vintage and collectible market every second Saturday of each month on the Water Street Mall, the cozy tree-lined, brick-paved alleyway between Downer Place and Galena Boulevard in downtown Aurora.

There is never any charge to attend and children are welcomed with free rub-on tattoos, buttons, treats, and trinkets.

Noon to 5 Aurora Paddlesports Festival and Art in the Park

“Art in the Park” Fest will run on both afternoons adjacent to the Illinois Paddlesports Festival in Phillips Park.  Local artists will exhibit and sell their works, while live music, food vendors will add atmosphere to the Festivals in the Park.

Held in conjunction with Illinois Paddlesports Festival, enjoy two great family friendly events in Aurora’s beautiful award-winning Phillips Park! The festival continues on Sunday, June 15.

  • Art Vendors
  • Tasty Food & Drinks!
  • Live Music!
  • Wine Tasting Event

DTA Q&A: Chris Evans on Wes Anderson, Stealing Souls and Getting Bill Murray to Show Up

In Art, Culture, Events, People on May 15, 2014 at 10:44 am
Chris Evans dudley raleigh

Local artist Chris Evans has been on our radar since he collaborated with his artist wife, Jen Evans, on the cover of the Fall/Winter 2012 issue of Downtown Auroran Magazine. Evans has a knack for capturing the essence of people using squiggly lines and ruddy colors. We like him so much that we commissioned Evans for the Music Issue of DTA out now.

On June 6, Evans has his first solo show at the Yetee Gallery at 110 Cross St. in downtown Aurora. The show titled, “Best Show Ever Man” features new drawings by Evans that are inspired by Wes Anderson movies. Anderson is famous for his lovingly campy and quirky cult-classic movies, like Rushmore and Royal Tenenbaums.

Downtown Auroran Magazine sent Evans some questions about the upcoming show. Here are his answers.


Q: How long have you been drawing?

A: I have been drawing as long as I can remember. My parents saved a lot of my drawings I’d done when I was younger. I started taking it serious in 3rd grade I guess.

Q: When did you start doing blind contour drawings?

A: The blind contour drawings started in 8th grade or freshman year art class. It is a fairly common exercise for a teacher to get kids to loosen up. They look really bad at times, but intentionally. It is not supposed to be perfect.

Q: Can you explain the process?

A: You draw your subject with one continuous line without lifting it from the paper and you are not supposed to look at the paper while drawing. The goal is to get your eyes to trace the lines of your subject and get your eyes and hand in sync.

It also helps teach someone to really look at what they are drawing. Many times people draw what they think something looks like as opposed to what it actually looks like in real life.

Q: How long does it take you to do one drawing?

A: It varies. The drawing doesn’t take that long. Maybe if I want to capture something special, I take longer. The coloring takes most of the time.

Q: Why Wes Anderson?

A: I love his movies. Also, I don’t usually know what to draw. Drawing and painting can become tedious and something that I have avoided doing when it is no fun. I was inspired by Don Picton and Mike Mancuso. They seem to be making things that they enjoy and do it well. Especially Don. His work makes me happy and I can see that he has fun making things. I wanted to tap into that. I can draw, so what? Why not draw things that I like?  The Wes Anderson stuff is very fun to me. I want my stuff to hold onto a sense of humor. I thought I could pull this off and enjoy the work.

Q: Is there a Wes character that you relate to?

A: I relate to bits of a lot of them. It seems to me that many of the characters have the chance to excel at something and never quite pull it off. They have potential to be really great or aspire to be so and ultimately somehow they fall short of that. Often they self-sabotage. I feel like that a lot. I bet a lot of us do.

Q: What is your favorite Wes movie?

A: I like Rushmore the best if forced to choose. From start to finish I enjoy that one the most.

Q: Portraits seem to be your specialty. Why?

A: I just find the people the most challenging subject. It is difficult to draw people correct and then you have the added element of capturing the character of the person. Lots of people could draw my face and many would make it look like an expressive, well-rendered man’s face, but can they make it look like me? Will people who know me instantly recognize it as me?

Portraits are not always the most respected. Anybody can go to a carnival and get a drawing of themselves with exaggerated features. That is fun, but it is not what I do. I like trying to capture people’s emotions. Stealing bits of their soul.

Q: What should people know before going to the June 6 show?

A: People should know that the show will be a fun time. If you’ve seen the movies you will recognize a lot of the subject matter. If you are not familiar with the movies, come on out anyway. The Yetee always throws a great party. Maybe Bill Murray will show up. He likes to do things like that.

See a video preview HERE!
“Best Show Ever Man” at the Yetee Gallery is part of the First Fridays in Downtown Aurora lineup for June 6. The opening is from 6 to 11 p.m. For the full First Friday lineup, click HERE!

Mythological Mastosquid to Make Rare Appearance on Aug. 30

In Art, Culture, Events, Music on May 7, 2014 at 9:11 pm


DOWNTOWN AURORA – For the first time in eons, or possibly hundreds or thousands or millions or billions of years, the strange and beautiful creature known as Aurora’s Mastosquid will make an appearance in downtown Aurora this summer.

According to artist Don Picton, the only living person to come face-to-face with the mythological creature, the Mastosquid comes to the surface only when a combination of art, music and spectacle are in place on Water Street Mall between Downer and Galena in Aurora’s downtown.

Officials say that the Mastosquid could have been waiting for the fifth year of Alley Art Festival to make a rare appearance. “It’s very possible that the Mastosquid heard rumors that the popular, outdoor festival might be taking a hiatus after this year, so it wants to come out and enjoy the festival with everyone,” said Bohn Baros with the Aurora Mythological Society.

Baros confirmed that the conditions are right for Mastosquid to rise from the depths of the Fox River on Saturday, Aug. 30 from noon to 5 p.m. “It’ll be a spectacle, for sure,” Baros said. “Children and adults will want to bring their cameras,” he added.

Visit Alley Art Festival from noon to 5 p.m. on Water Street Mall in downtown Aurora. Meet dozens of artists and have a chance to view and buy their work. Musicians will perform on the lawn throughout the festival, including Miles Nielson, Noah Gabriel, Michael Heaton and more.

Festival posters by Don Picton will be available for sale at the festival. For more information, click on the Alley Art Fest tab above, and visit Alley Art Festival on Facebook.

Here is the Facebook invite.

Alley Art Festival 2014


First Fridays in May: Trains, Comics & Geeks

In Art, Culture, Events on April 28, 2014 at 11:08 am


DOWNTOWN AURORA – Trains, comic books and geek art are introduced as hippie relics from a bygone era say goodbye at May’s First Fridays in Downtown Aurora on May 2.

Six venues and one vacant window display are part of the monthly event in downtown Aurora. The art openings are free and open to the public.

The ArtBar at Two Brothers Roundhouse on Broadway from 6 p.m. until midnight features the “Geek Show.” The ArtBar provides a fun, relaxed social environment to view art from newbies and professionals alike. Miles Nielson and the Rusted Hearts perform.

If These Walls Could Talk, 32 S. Stolp Ave., is showcasing comic book art from 7 to 11 p.m. The downtown frame shop joined up with Rotten Apple Comics and invites you to step into the world of the graphic novel. Artists include Erik Perez, Daimon Hampton, Brandon Santiago, Funke Merink, Brad Sun, Leo Zarko, Moe Naser, Anthony Salinas, Kao, Ian Mitchell Wallace, Solange Henson, Alex Fimane and Gaiter.

SciTech Hands on Museum is open for the evening from 6 to 8 p.m. The fun, interactive museum for all ages offers free creation stations that blend art and science throughout the evening. At 7 p.m., an artistic science demonstration will be performed on the main floor.

Aurora Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, 43 W. Galena Blvd., is open from 5 to 8 p.m. with the impressive watercolor trains of local artist and firefighter Mark Robinson.

The Light of the Heart, upstairs at 14 W. Downer Pl., is unveiling their new group room along with a renovated individual therapy room and making art. Also, patrons can sign up to get free tickets to attend the screening of “Inocente” on May 17 at the Copley Theatre in downtown Aurora.

Aurora Historical Society will bid adieu to the fun-loving and protest-filled days of the Vietnam-era exhibit on the first floor of the David L. Pierce Art and History Center, 20 E. Downer Pl. The farewell celebration will be from 5 to 7 p.m. The Art and History Center will be open from noon to 7 p.m. for First Fridays.

While downtown, peek in the windows of the Silverplate building at the northeast corner of Downer Place and Stolp Avenue. The all-volunteer, grassroots Vacant Window Project recently installed a new installation of God’s eyes made by members of the community, including Washington Middle School’s art club.

Ongoing shows are at both Culture Stock and Chef Amaury at 33 West. Chef Amaury at 33 West, 33 W. New York St., features the work of artist Kerri Ann Branson and Culture Stock, 43 E. Galena Blvd., continues its juried exhibit that showcases earth-friendly works of art; Aurora’s Deaf Chat is held simultaneously at the bookstore.

First Fridays in Downtown Aurora invites the community to enjoy art, music, food, theater and more on the first Friday of the month. For more information and for a map of participating venues, visit


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