Saturday, January 16, 2010

What's So Great About Peoria?

Well, for one thing there's


Located in the RiverFront Arts Center Building at 305 SW Water Street in Peoria, the Contemporary Arts Center is a true city treasure.

While Peoria is home to countless artists of exceptional ability, as a community we are extremely fortunate to be home to an artist of the caliber of Preston Jackson. Mr. Jackson is a world-class artist who could have been successful establishing a gallery in New York City or in Chicago where he continues to teach at the Art Institute. Instead, Preston chose Peoria as the location for his Checkered Raven Gallery in 1995.

That gallery has since evolved into the Contemporary Arts Center, which is a wonderful and extensive urban arts center. It consists today of three separate galleries (two on the second floor and one on the third floor of the building) featuring regular exhibitions of art, often by local or regional artists. The building is also home to many artists' studio spaces and classrooms. In addition to visiting the galleries, the public is encouraged to visit the studio spaces where art in many forms and media can be observed in various stages of creation. Often, there are artists present who are eager to show off and discuss their work.

Aside from showcasing the visual arts, the main gallery is also the location of "Live at The Five Spot" every Friday night. Here one can enjoy some of the finest live music to be found locally, and enjoy drinks and great food from the Rhythm Kitchen Restaurant on the first floor.
Also, on the third Thursday of the month there is poetry reading and written word sharing.
On the last Sunday of the month, there is a Gospel/R&B event.
Besides all these regularly scheduled events, there are many special and unique cultural events held here as well.

There are many people in the community who label themselves as Preservationists or as New Urbanists. Well Folks, this is how it is done!
The Contemporary Arts Center is a prime example of how to reuse an historic building in a way that benefits the city and enhances the quality of life for the entire community in an easily accessible manner.

You can visit their website here. But please, do yourself a favor and visit the galleries in person Tuesday through Saturday down on Water Street.
Tell 'em Paul sent you!

And please consider a CAC membership to support an institution that helps to make Peoria a great place to live.

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