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The original item was published from 12/13/2019 12:04:35 PM to 1/28/2020 12:00:01 AM.

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Special Events & Cultural Arts

Posted on: December 13, 2019

[ARCHIVED] A Year in Review and a Look Ahead to 2020

Bravo Magazine, December 2019 Cover. Drawing of a man's back in black, white, and tan.


  • The Elgin Literary Festival brought four featured speakers to the Hemmens Cultural Center for two days of free programing on the written word. The festival includes a poetry night, panels, and workshops for readers and writers.
  • The Elgin Fringe Festival celebrated 6 years in September with two weekends of performance and visual arts as well as the Family Fringe. The festival hosted over 100 shows in downtown!
  • Including a red-carpet arrival and performances, finalist films from all over the world, and a live performance by Chamber Music on the Fox, the 11thyear of ESFF was a huge success with over 550 tickets sold.
  • Kwanzaa Celebration kicked off in December of 2017 at the Gail Borden Public Library with local organizations participating in the seven core principles of Kwanzaa, traditional foods, and a live performance by Kucha and Baba Tony. Kwanzaa is back this year on December 8thfrom 2-4pm at the Gail Borden Public Library.

Public Art:

Two new pieces of public art were selected as part of the New Works program. The Call for Art brought back sixteen responses from all over North America in both 2D and 3D proposals. The ECAC awarded the honorariums to Melina Scotte and Andrea Jablonski.

Andrea Jablonski, a Polish born multidisciplinary artist of Chicago IL, will be placing her mural, “Water Under the Bridge” along the Riverwalk, under Highland Avenue. The piece is comprised of local flora and fauna and will play with the river it is located alongside. When asked about her inspiration about the piece, Andrea responded, “Activating a challenging space and adding color to Riverwalk area was definitely a big part of my decision to send in a proposal. Local flora and fauna always interest me and working in new neighborhoods and meeting new people and collaborators makes it all worthwhile.”

Melina Scotte, originally of Argentina but more recently hailing from Oakbrook Terrace, will be applying her 2D work titled “Las Raices Del Alma” on the garage door of the Spring/Chicago Street Parking Deck. The work, which translates to “Roots of the Soul,” represents culture and traditions that are part of what we acquire as a person and what we pass on to the next generation. Comprised of vivid colors and a lone resting figure, the piece is deals with the concept of harmony.

The ECAC also began the new Utility Box Wrapping program this year and successfully wrapped three downtown boxes in original artwork. You can view Margie Criner’s “Float” on the box located at the intersection of Riverside Drive and Highland Avenue. Visit Travis Roozeé’s “Noize!” at the corner of Chicago Street and Spring Street. LeRoy Smith’s piece, “Ducks on the Fox,” can be seen at the corner of Prairie Street and Grove Avenue.


The ECAC awarded over $50,000 in grants to local artists and arts organizations for event programming such as children’s theater, original student-created opera, workshops, visual art exhibitions, staged plays, and so much more.

Looking Ahead:

What does 2020 look like? Elgin Fringe Festival and the Elgin Short Film Festival will be back in September, Art Harvest will return on the last Saturday of October, and Kwanzaa will return in December. New public art will be selected in early spring for installation in the summer/fall which will include a new mural and new utility box wraps. New in 2020 is a series of Arts Workshops hosted in conjunction with Americans for the Arts. These workshops will take place at the Hemmens Cultural Center and are free and open to the public.

Be sure to check the website for the most up to date information on all things ECAC: You can also check our Facebook page for events and programing information.

#supportthearts #EFFit #ESFF #publicart #getoutseeart #ExploreElgin

This article originally appeared in BRAVO magazine, an Elgin, Illinois ink-and-paper monthly magazine devoted to arts, entertainment, community events & dining. In continuous publication since July 2015. 

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