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!






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


4 – Rick Dunham, Elvis Himselvis

11 – Matt Mifflin, vocal and guitar

18 – Britney Long, singer/songwriter

25 – Casey Cantrall, vocal and guitar


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

Poetry Out Loud Regionals

Award-winning teenagers from around Illinois are set to compete for a slot in the 2018 Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest in Washington, D.C., in late April.

This regional level event in the LRS Theatre at the Hoogland is free and open to the public.

The Springfield Area Arts Council will host the sixteen high school students who were winners and runners-up in competitions held last month in eight regions spanning Illinois. From contests starting in their own classrooms, these students study, memorize, and recite renowned classic and contemporary poetry at each level of competition. A panel of writers, teachers, and performers judges each recitation. The state champion will receive a trip to the nation’s capital to join a field of fifty-three students vying for the top prize, a $20,000 scholarship.

This year’s judging staff includes Rodrigo Carramiñana, formerly of Carbondale (university dean); Brian Ellis, Bishop Hill (storyteller), Quraysh Ali Lansana, Chicago (teacher and poet), and Maurine Magliocco (professor emerita).

Wynton Gage of Springfield’s Southeast High School and Cole White of Pawnee High School will represent the Central Illinois region.

The Springfield Area Arts Council coordinates this annual contest in partnership with the Illinois Arts Council Agency. Poetry Out Loud is backed by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. Now in its fourteenth year, the contest is designed to encourage interest in poetry at the high school level. In Illinois this season, over 7,460 students and 164 teachers from 48 Illinois public and private high schools participated.

First Night Springfield

The Springfield Area Arts Council (SAAC) celebrates its 31st First Night- their annual New Year’s Eve celebration of performing and visual arts in downtown Springfield. This year’s event is held across 12 performance spaces in 5 different venues.

There is a free admission children’s stage and crafting area at Springfield High School from 1pm-4pm, and Mark Gifford performs on the Barton Organ at Springfield High School from 4:15 pm- 5:45 pm. Admission to the organ concert is included in the price of a First Night Wristband, or $5 separately.

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