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Artists Paint the Alley

A tease of the unfinished mural by Jeff C. Williams

This Thursday, September 20, the alley just south of the Myer’s building will be filled with creatives and their fans from 5:30 – 9pm. Adding to last year’s successful art, 3 new professional artist murals will be debuted and an interactive mural will be painted the night of with public participation. A pop-up art show will also be on display just for the evening. Chicago based DJ and funk re-mixer, Acid Dad Crash Pad will be providing music.  Complimentary appetizers by Augie’s Front Burner and a cash bar will be available. Admission is $10 online and $15 at the door. All proceeds benefit future public art projects, part of DSI’s program for downtown revitalization.

Although the celebration of this public art lasts just the evening, the muralists have been working for weeks to finish their pieces. This is the largest scale art most of them have ever created. Locals have enjoyed watching them progress each day and many stop to offer water, conversation and even help!

Muralist Bios:

Newcomer to the scene, Jen Santarelli is an abstract painter who is interested in breaking down common objects like maps and comic book pages into their most basic design elements. Using acrylic paint on canvas, her work has been included in shows at the Pharmacy Gallery, SAA’s BackDoor Gallery, Radon Lounge, and various pop-up art shows around central Illinois.

 

 

Jeff C Williams may be the most well-known in the bunch, as his local popularity stems from singing in the band NIL8. Jeff’s artwork is reminiscent of graffiti and tattoo art, which makes his talent an incredible fit for this event. He volunteers on many local boards, including The Pharmacy Gallery and Art Space. Williams is a lover of bicycling, and has a true niche of combining his love of cycling and painting, landing his canvases in numerous galleries as well as on the cover of a national magazine.

 

 

Brytton Bjorngaard, Shane Harris, Allison Lacher, and Jeff Robinson are Springfield-based artists and frequent collaborators. They are colleagues in the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) Department of Art, Music, and Theater. They were among a tight-knit group of artists that ran DEMO Project, a space for contemporary art in Springfield that gained national acclaim, and served as Co-Directors of the space until its demolition in 2018. They are committed to art education through teaching, exhibitions, and community programs.

 

This event is only possible because of our sponsors: Solomon Colors, Crawford Murphy and Tilly, and PPG Paints. This year’s building facades were generously provided by the Nickell and Stern Families. Special thanks go to Springfield Art Association staff Erin Svendsen and Corrin McWhirter, members of the Design Council and champions for community art.

 

Downtown Guide to Date Night

One of downtown’s cutest couples, Emily and Chef Corey from Long Nine Junction 

Did you know that the average American couple spends 132 hours a year deciding where to eat?! Well, the weekend is fast approaching and no one has time for indecision. Our downtown neighborhood is full of activities for all of you lovebirds out there. We’ve outlined a few itineraries to get you out and about enjoying the cooler temps, delicious meals, drinks… and each other!

“Chills and Thrills” Date Night

The 6th street block between Monroe & Adams is full of charming boutiques; however, one particular shop stands out during the Halloween season, as it hosts more than just living customers. The Roost was investigated by the Capital Area Paranormal Society in 2016 and they found the presence of “others.” A child was heard moaning from the basement. Lights go on & off for no reason. Shop inventory is playfully moved about. Watch the video of their investigation and then make this your first chilling stop of the evening.

Afterwards, make reservations for Lincoln’s Ghost Walk: Legends & Lore, where you will learn about the bizarre stories surrounding Lincoln’s life in Springfield. This is an approx 90 min lantern-lit walk that will surely having you snuggling up to your loved one for comfort.

All of that walking will give you a good reason to indulge your appetites, so head to Arlington’s on Broadway. Although not haunted, this restaurant & bar celebrates the silliness of the season all year long by greeting you with their mannequin “Natalie.” You never know what costume Natalie will be wearing or where she will be sitting! Enjoy a fully stocked bar and we suggest choosing one of the many burger options on the menu.

“Lincoln Lovers” Date Night

Lincoln’s Home in Springfield offers tours until 5pm, so start a little early for this date and share a learning experience about our sixteenth president, the guy you just “might” take for granted if you’ve lived here long enough. The home has been preserved in a stunning matter, as well as the neighboring houses around it. Enjoy a leisurely walk along the gravel street while holding hands and taking in the way of life so long ago.

Cross 7th Street and bask in all of fall’s charm in Obed & Isaac’s beer garden. Sit by the fire, enjoy a local brew, share a brick oven pizza, and maybe even a game of bocce ball.

Fun fact: Lincoln loved Shakespeare. He carried copies of Shakespeare plays with him wherever he went. Coming up on November 2nd and 3rd, you can catch Fritz Klein’s one man show featuring Lincoln’s speeches, letters and historical research about him synthesized with elements of the Shakespeare plays he loved. The play will be held at The Old State Capitol.

“Friday Night Lights” Date Night

For this experience, we’re suggesting a few classics, mixed in with a couple new trends. Start your evening perusing Recycled Records, the buyers and sellers of new and used vinyl, cassettes, movies and other knick knacks for more than 26 years. Chat with brothers Mark & Gary during your visit, as their stories & knowledge of music is plentiful.

Next, stop by the Plaza just south of The Old State Capitol for a friendly game of “bags.” Recently, DSI (thanks to many generous sponsors) installed cafe lights along the entire brick pathway, which makes for a picturesque and romantic game for two. Plus a great background for a couples’ selfie.

Directly off the Plaza is Robbie’s Restaurant, where they have live jazz music every Friday evening. This has been a steady offering for the last 18 years, as the Springfield Area Arts Council organizes these performances with proceeds from the evening’s 50/50 raffle going to the arts non-profit. We suggest a pre-dinner drink here while enjoying this free show.

For dinner, head to a fairly new addition to downtown, VELE, on the corner of 6th & Monroe. Chef Justin Richardson has created a menu of modern Italian options including seafood, pastas & steaks, all with deep flavors. The atmosphere is open & social where you are bound to run into an acquaintance or two, but if you are looking for a private place to play footsie, there are corner tables for two that are perfect for date night.

“Adams Street” Day Date

If a day date is what you prefer, you won’t have to go much further than Adams Street. Begin with coffee & breakfast at Cafe Moxo, where you can sit outside and enjoy the falling leaves of this tree-lined area.

Walk the Old Capitol Farmer’s Market until 12:30pm, where you’ll find local vendors of meat, veggies, flowers and even arts & crafts. Halloween at the Market, the final Saturday in October, is always a favorite as it is filled with special activities. The parade of costumes, from adult, to child to 4-legged friends, will make you and your date smile all morning.

After the market, enjoy an afternoon beer at Buzz Bomb Brewery, where you can feel the air on your face as they have a large upward sliding door that opens to the sidewalk. Take a tour of their tap room on the first floor, or head up to the 2nd floor bar and engage your date in a friendly competition with the board game of your choice (the owners have provided you with endless options). As for brew options, we suggest the Maple Vanilla Porter, which is only available seasonally.

What is The Incubator?

If you’ve walked past the corner of 5th & Adams recently, you have most likely noticed a few changes happening inside the space where Driftwood Restaurant was before moving to St. Louis. The bar has been updated… will it be a bar? There are dining tables… will it be a restaurant? But wait, there are workstations with computers (and sometimes people working at them)… is it an office?

The answer is yes. To all of it.

Partners Eric Broughton and Francisco Saravia will be opening The Incubator in October. The Cafe + Bar & Workspace was partly inspired by WeWork, which is a national company featuring highly-designed common spaces that includes natural light and a community to provide inspiration. The north side of the space will host a membership based co-workspace for digital start-ups & freelancers.

Benefits will include not only the workspace (with a stellar downtown view), but also discounts on services provided by Broughton and team. With a marketing background, Broughton has a talent for app development, e-commerce, website creation and other digital platforms. “Our ultimate goal is to re-invest our profits in our member start-ups as angel investors,” he explains.

The south side of the space will be the Cafe + Bar. “Why does a workspace have to JUST BE a workspace?” Broughton asked himself. That’s when he came up with the idea of integrating a restaurant and bar into The Incubator. The Cafe + Bar area is open to the public and will have a trendy menu of power bowls, a grab & go refrigerator, a simple coffee menu and of course adult beverages.

“We want this to be a place where people can get out of their cubicle, enjoy the sunlight through the windows, grab an espresso or drink and get some work done,” he explains. The partners have created an atmosphere for business after hours as well, with hopes it will be utilized for meetings, brainstorming sessions, and general good vibery. “Our mission is to change the downtown culture to be a start-up culture with young creative jobs,” Broughton says. They will start here, but “eventually want to build up the brand and franchise.”

With a resume full of start-ups of his own, Broughton has been through all of this before. He currently runs “Interactive Media“, a marketing & app development company. He was also the co-founder of “FitTube“, a fitness app. He has an MBA in Banking & Finance, but “my real passion is creating my own products.”

Once officially open, the Co-Workspace will be open Monday – Friday 7am – 5pm.

The Cafe + Bar will be open Monday – Wednesday 7am – 5pm & Thursday – Saturday 7am – 1am.

Downtown Guide to Getting Pampered

For many of us, we watched the kids head back to school this week. This brings a little anxiety, as homework is sure to follow, along with running them all over town to club & sport activities. However, it also brings a sense of relief as we settle into a routine. Being that the end of summer can bring so many mixed feelings & stresses, it is the perfect time to spoil ourselves and enjoy a little pampering! Our downtown neighborhood provides opportunities from massage, to manicures, to even an old-fashioned clean shave for men.

 

Moxie Massage

107 S. 7th : 217.725.6597

www.moxiemassage.com

Part of the appeal of Moxie is that they are not a Mega-Spa. You are greeted and treated by the owner and her small staff. It is a hidden gem among a quiet street snuggled in between law offices and empty buildings. When you walk in, the atmosphere is quiet, cozy and tranquil. Moxie offers services different from any other place downtown, including couples massages, and a chocolate wrap that uses actual chocolate (and the natural oils in it) to moisturize skin. Their service menu also includes the basics like deep tissue, swedish massages and a variety of facials. This month, they read our minds and are offering a “Back-to-School Special” that consists of a 30 min massage & mini facial for just $60.

 

 

Dalliance Spa & Salon

314 E. Adams St : 217.303.5242

www.dalliancespasalon.com

Dalliance is popular for their hair & make-up services, although their service list also includes waxing, lash & brow lift & tents, and facials & body treatments. Owner Shandi Brown has created a fun & laid back atmosphere in her salon that is usually filled with chatting & giggling customers. The most unique and stand-out service this salon provides is definitely the make-up options. Their portfolio of airbrush techniques is impressive and you will definitely want to ring them for your next costume party, as their Special Effects Make-up talents are jaw-dropping.

 

Willow & Birch Salon & Boutique

521 E. Washington : 217.726.7050

www.willowandbirchsalon.com

This is your full-service go-to for downtown. Willow & Birch offers everything from expert hair services, to manicures, to body & facial treatments, to even a boutique. Their massive 3-story location is newly renovated and overlooks some of the most beautiful sites in our neighborhood. When you walk in, you immediately feel that you have been transported to a large city salon with a sweet, outgoing staff. The main floor houses check-in and a boutique filled with spa products, trendy clothing, accessories, & home decor. If you are there for hair or nail treatments, you head up to the third floor with a large atrium that looks over the boutique. Their stylists travel to the east & west coast for training to bring you the most up-to-date techniques. If you are there for a facial or waxing, you take the elevator down to the bottom floor where you can enjoy a dim & calming relaxation area while you wait. Willow & Birch uses chemical free & vegan friendly offerings in all of their services.

 

Hair of the Dog Bar/bershop

323 E. Monroe St : 217.670.0699

www.hairofthedogbarbershop.com

“Blades & Bottles” is the tagline of this unique downtown business that pampers Dad in all the right ways. They offer full-service barbering with a full-service bar. Their services include traditional scissor & razor cuts, hot shaves and beard trims. You get the feeling you stepped back 60 years when you walk in, as the vintage, rockabilly atmosphere welcomes you. Through a swing door, you can sit and enjoy craft beer, artisan spirits and/or a glass of fine wine while you wait for your appointment.

 

 

Past DSI President, Mark Tomaw Retires After 42 Years.

Monday morning will be a little different for past DSI president, Mark Tomaw. After 42 years at RSM, Mark will be retiring. He spent his entire career just off the Old State Capitol Plaza, with office locations in the PNC building and the eponymous building where Innovate Springfield resides currently. He head up several programs & events and served countless volunteer hours with a dream of making Downtown what it was when he began working in the 70’s.

He kindly lent me a few minutes of his last week (still filled with work travel & meetings until the very end) and we discussed the changes he’s noticed in our neighborhood over the years. His stories are plentiful and familiar as he shared memories of loss and re-growth.

What was downtown like when you began your career here?

It was a lot different back then, there was a lot more people working downtown… a more sense of vibrancy than we have seen in recent years. I can still remember, in the summer, if you went out on the Plaza, people were just lined up along the Old Capitol fence sitting and eating lunch and just spending time. The number of employees filled up our entire neighborhood. You had CIPS in the Illinois Building, the banks were multi-level, not to mention the state agencies that were downtown that aren’t anymore. So… big difference there.

 

What year were you President of DSI?

Awww… you would ask that! I believe it was ’06/’07. RSM initially began a relationship with DSI by doing their payroll taxes. I think the executive director at the time asked if I would consider joining the board. Then, at some point, I was treasurer, and then cycled through. I followed Cindy Davis. I think I was the 7th president.

 

What issues were you working on as a board at that time?

You’re talking 10 years ago now… so… [laughs]. To some extent, the issues were similar. Continuing to try to fill empty space, to try to promote downtown, maintain the historical integrity but promote the economic vibrancy. Early on, before I was president, I know that one of the first big issues that came up was the space at the corner of 5th & Adams, where Driftwood was. It was known as the K-mart building, because when I came down, it was a K-mart. It was empty and deteriorating and there were concerns because it was so prominent off the plaza. We needed someone to renovate it. That ultimately got done, but it was the catalyst for DSI to determine that we need a charitable organization that would be in a position where an owner of a building could donate a building, get a charitable deduction and then could use that to facilitate to get the property in the hands of a developer. That’s how the Heritage Foundation came about. It was very active for several years.

We started the Taste of Downtown, which ultimately became the Blues & BBQ (which is now run by Barry Friedman). The Farmer’s Market began when I was on the board as well.

I can remember some really tight times when I was treasurer. We got lucky when the weather was nice and we could get our head’s above water with the fundraising.

 

What do you think we need to do as a community to improve our downtown?

If I had that answer, I would have been bringing that up a long time ago [laughs]. I continue to think that we have to foster a good relationship without the City. I just think that the type of organization that DSI is… it cannot reach it’s potential with that support. That’s a challenge, because the City faces it’s own issues from a financing standpoint. Beyond that, I’m honestly not sure I have a good answer. Once you get people down here, there are wonderful restaurants and shops… we just need to get them here.

 

From your experience, where do you see it going from here?

Obviously, I want to see it more vibrant than it is. The nightlife is much more than it was when I first started. There are so many restaurants and music. We also have so many more downtown residents… I want to see that continue to grow.

 

After 42 years working in the same location, what is your favorite place…

to have lunch? Of all the years, definitely Cafe Moxo

to have a drink after work? I know what it was 40 years ago… there was a little place just south of Capitol called Midway Pub. It’s an empty lot now.

to shop? I never did much shopping… ask my wife [laughs].

 

So, what now?

“We’ll travel a bit. I’m thinking I’ll just see how it goes… I don’t want to be too busy”, he says with an sly smile.

Downtown Shuttle Reduced Fare Announced

This morning, the Sangamon Mass Transit District (SMTD) announced a discount fare for the Downtown Shuttle. Regularly priced at $1.25 per ride, the reduced fair is only $1.00 per ride. Additionally, there is a discount pass good for 10 rides that costs just $5.00. Passes can be shared by families or friends riding together. This is perfect timing as the summer heat makes hopping on an air conditioned shuttle pretty tempting!!

Passes can be picked up at the SMTD Offices at 928 South 9th St. or are available on the shuttle directly. Note that drivers are not equipped to make change and cannot accept debit or credit cards, so exact change will be needed.

The Downtown Shuttle has faced a danger of being cancelled, which would be tragic to many retail shops & restaurants. The route is based primarily on key business corridors in the downtown neighborhood. As many local business owners know, we get plenty of complaints about parking (although garage parking is plentiful). The Downtown Shuttle is a welcoming solution to giving tourists and locals alike an easy way to get around.

The service runs every 20 minutes from 6:20am to 6:20pm and every 10 minutes from 11:20am to 1:40pm Monday – Friday. To see the route and learn pick-up/drop-off times, visit the SMTD Downtown Shuttle website.

Look for signs at the following locations: Stratton Building, Washington & 2nd, Capitol & 5th, and Adams & 7th.

The Roost Adds to their Product Line (and it’s a dream come true…)

Last year, local jewelry maker & shop owner, Rachel Bonney was ready to change up her “Roost” a bit and began thinking of ways to enhance her product offerings. At that point, she had success selling handmade home goods, gifts and artisan jewelry. “I looked around at what Downtown was offering, and I realized there was need for quality, trendy clothing.” explains Bonney, “There are plenty of shops that sell handmade clothing, but because of the extensive work that goes into creating those, the cost is high”.

She started researching wholesale markets and vendors to find the style of clothing that would match her customer’s needs. It’s easy to see that she studied the market well and has brought the latest fashion to her shop. Now, when you walk into The Roost, you will find an entire wall of beautiful dresses, tops, and skirts. The best part? It’s extremely affordable.

As a downtown business owner, you get to know your customer base and Bonney says her main shoppers are urban-styled women who enjoy “simple with a twist”. “Over the years, I’ve had a few people compare The Roost to a local Anthropologie but with more unique offerings.” she says, which is certainly true in her fashion choices. We decided to show just how amazing her new clothing line is below and threw in a few comparisons along with it!

 

A wrap dress is a classic. It accentuates every woman’s curves, is comfy and will never go out of style. This one in particular flaunts warm colors that will easily carry you into autumn evenings. Anthro’s price is $168, The Roost’s price… $30

 

 

Here’s a similar comparison: geometric is huge right now in trends, as is the asymmetrical hemline. The dresses above feature both of these, but Anthro’s price is $158 and The Roost’s price is just a fraction at… $30

 

 

Embroidery isn’t just for our grandmothers’ hand-towels anymore. This intricate art has been showing up in fashion for the last couple years and makes it’s boldest statement in simple black & white. Anthro’s price (on sale) is $59.95. The Roost’s… an easy $24

 

 

Next up, we have the romper… comfy, feminine, and oh so darling in pink! Throw over your swimsuit as a cover-up, or brave the hot summer evenings and wear as a sexy statement. We found a comparison for this one at Free People ($88), versus The Roost… $30

 

 

Fringe & flow is the perfect way to make your cozy weekend stylish. Above, in shades of blue & green, you can take your choice at the details of how to pull it off. But, at Free People’s price of $128, and The Roost’s price of $26, we think we know which way you’ll go.

 

So, forget any misconceptions that downtown boutiques are expensive and limited… nothing could be further from the truth! Stop by The Roost next time you need a little retail therapy and shop owner, Rachel Bonney will help you find your best style without breaking your wallet.

A Different Kind of T-Shirt

Connor Homann from What’s The Shirt

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of visiting with Connor Homann from What’s The Shirt inside of Old Capitol Goods. A self-proclaimed “International T-Shirt Mogul”, Connor brings his quirky sense of humor to this charming shop off the Plaza. Connor’s parent’s opened Old Capitol Goods years ago, and as you often see with local businesses, this innovative son has taken over for his parents and brought with him some new upgrades.

Connor’s father originally offered screen-printing capabilities in the back of the shop, often producing large amounts of t-shirts for local company fundraisers and events. After learning about not only screen-printing, but also direct to garment (DTG) printing in St. Louis, Connor decided to apply his talents here in Springfield.

There are a few things that make this a specialized offering, of which no one else in town provides. The first being that What’s The Shirt uses water-based inks which are all eco-friendly. Most t-shirt companies use a type of plastisol ink that is harmful to the environment. Connor’s DTG technique produces a softer, more light-weight feel on the t-shirt, versus the textured feeling of vinyl. Another awesome specialization is that What’s The Shirt can print just one of a design. Many t-shirt providers require a minimum order due to the work that goes into the set-up. “Think of it as a comparison to your printer at home”, Connor explains.

“You can print just one, or many, where as if you need a mass amount of prints, you would go to a printing company.” The largest run of t-shirts that Connor has printed with the DTG technique is around 400 for last year’s Amaranth Apple Festival. He also still provides traditional screen-printing for larger orders if requested. What’s The Shirt can create custom designs from scratch, offer design assistance, or simply print what you send them over email. How easy is that?!

Another upgrade Connor has brought to this local shop is an online store, DivergenTee. You can find over 450 pre-designed offerings that are funny, cultural and/or political. “I’ve had great success with this”, he says, which really says a lot considering the competitiveness of online shopping these days.

So, next time you need a single gift or a large order of t-shirts, be sure to check out What’s the Shirt and hit up Connor. You’ll enjoy, if nothing else, his great conversation and humor (but I can almost promise you’ll walk away with a new shirt).

Opening Minds Through Art

SIU School of Medicine and the Springfield Art Association are teaming up to bring you an incredibly special art reception this Friday evening at the SAA Collective Gallery in the Hoogland Center for the Arts.

Opening Minds through Art (OMA) is an award-winning, evidence-based, intergenerational art-making program for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of neurocognitive disorders. Its failure-free program provides opportunities for creative self-expression and social engagement for people with dementia. OMA also provides volunteers with opportunities to improve their attitudes toward aging through the weekly interaction with OMA program participants. The goal is to help create a society that values older adults with dementia. This program achieves this by building genuine friendships between people with dementia and volunteers as they engage in art-making.

Volunteers have been working with dementia patients once a week at the Springfield Art Association since the beginning of April. Before artists are matched up with patients, they are prepped with background information such as the participants interests, family members names, favorite colors, and of course health background. The patient works with the same artist every week to bring comfort and familiarity. Together they learn and create artwork, while developing a friendship.

Each participants creations will be on display at the SAA Collective Gallery June 8th & 9th.  Be sure to stop by and show support for these amazing people!

JOIN US (FREE TO ATTEND) ON
JUNE 8, 2018, 5:30 – 7PM
AT SAA Collective
420 South 6th Street
Springfield, IL 62701

Featured Artists Names:

Gail Record

Jean Kienzler

Ginny (Virginia) Reiser

Jean Staab

Tricia Balli

Don Elam

Nadine Hughes

Joe(Bobo) Beneky

Carita Gehlhausen

Mike Akins

Shirley Kane

Marybeth Zietz

OMA is supported by an Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative-Specialized Supportive Services (ADI-SSS) Project grant from the Administration for Community Living through the Illinois Department on Aging, as well as a grant made by the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln King’s Daughters Organization Blackstock Fund to the SIU School of Medicine, Center for Alzheimer’s Disease & Related Disorders www.siumed.edu/alz.

Artist on the Plaza Season Announced

The Springfield Area Arts Council (SAAC) has produced summertime concerts for over thirty years. The outdoor performance series is called “Artist on the Plaza,” and it features local talent on the Old State Capitol Plaza/Grounds every Wednesday from noon to 1 pm between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Funding comes from the Illinois Arts Council Agency, the City of Springfield, and downtown merchants — meaning you can grab your lunch to go, grab a table and a chair outside on the Plaza, and relax to different music each week, all for free!

 

 

 

SCHEDULE

June

6 – Springfield Area Youth Jazz Band, instrumental jazz

13 – Carole Vetter, rhythm and blues vocalist

20 – Tater Tot, eclectic vocal and instrumental

27 – Phil Steinberg, Sinatra stylist

July

4 – Rick Dunham, Elvis Himselvis

11 – Matt Mifflin, vocal and guitar

18 – Britney Long, singer/songwriter

25 – Casey Cantrall, vocal and guitar

August

1 – Saint Andrew’s Society, Scottish dance

8 – Springfield Dance Theatre, dancers

15 – Rowdy Dawson, country-western vocal and guitar

22 – Route 66, barbershop quartet

29 – Mary Bryant Home Singers, vocalist

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