Around The Town

Around The Town

Opening reception, new artwork at The David Strawn:
The Art Association of Jacksonville is pleased to welcome the Sangamon Watercolor Society to The David Strawn Art Gallery April 1-30. An opening reception will be held on Saturday, April 1 from 6-8 p.m., with a “Gallery Talk” to be held at 6:30 p.m. The opening reception and gallery hours are free and open to the public.

The Sangamon Watercolor Society (SWS) was organized around 1984 to educate the public in watercolor medium. SWS is a non-juried organization open to area adults interested in pursuing watercolor study and creative learning experiences. Part of that education is done through workshops and the group’s expose in different galleries.

SWS offers watercolor workshops annually and publicly exhibits artwork in galleries in and around Central Illinois. The organization offers educational programs at their monthly meetings.

SWS hosts four workshops in some years, and more recently, two per year. Watercolor workshops range from one day to five days. The society offers advanced watercolor training and other workshops are geared towards beginners. SWS diversifies as many teachers are recognized worldwide for their expertise in watercolor and invites its members to teach their specialties. The SWS website,, lists information on upcoming workshops and exhibits.

Gallery hours for The David Strawn Art Gallery from April 2-30 are Sundays from 1-3 p.m. and Tuesday through Saturday from 4-6 p.m. It is closed on Saturday, April 29 for our annual Beaux Arts Ball.

Jacksonville Sunrise Rotary Club holding ‘Food Raiser’ on April 1:
The Jacksonville Sunrise Rotary Club will be collecting non-perishable food items at Jacksonville County Market on Saturday, April 1 from 8 a.m. until noon.

“We’re calling the event a ‘Food Raiser,’” said Linda Meece, the club’s president. Instead of raising money for a cause, the club instead is raising stocks of non-perishable food items to help replenish the stock at the Spirit of Faith Food Kitchen.

“Just purchase some extra cans of vegetables, or boxes of oatmeal or pasta when you do your grocery shopping, and on the way to your car, drop those items off at our table in front of County Market between 8 a.m. and noon.”

The Spirit of Faith Food Kitchen was asked if there are any items in particular that they need and they acknowledged that just about any non-perishable food item will do. Lists of suggested food items will be provided to shoppers as they enter the supermarket.

“We are especially aware that the Easter holiday is approaching and many of us will be celebrating with a meal with our families,” Meece went on. “But there are some in our community who could use a little help during this special time of the year.”

In previous years, the club received upwards of 1,000 pounds of non-perishable food items in the four hours of the food raiser.

The club also extends thanks to the management and staff of Jacksonville County Market for this special service project opportunity.

Sunrise Rotary meets every Tuesday morning at the Holiday Inn Express in South Jacksonville at 7 a.m.

Community organizations assisting local businesses with grant funding:
Two community organizations stand ready to assist small businesses in applying for the latest round of COVID-19 relief funding being offered by the State of Illinois.

Jacksonville Regional Economic Development Corporation President Kristin Jamison and Jacksonville Area Chamber of Commerce President Lisa Musch are continuing their roles as community navigators through the small business relief effort established through Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and Illinois Public Health Association. The two community leaders have helped usher nearly $600,000 in small business relief funds to the region through the initial round of the program.

“Yesterday Governor Pritzker and the DCEO announced $175 million in available grant funds through the Back to Business program,” explained Musch. “The latest American Rescue Plan Act funding will provide more assistance from the business sectors hit the hardest by COVID, including restaurants, hotels, and businesses and organizations in the creative arts sector.”

Award amounts for restaurants and creative arts-based entities will be determined by revenue declines as reflected on tax returns, and hotel funding will be allocated by the number of rooms. The online application portal will be open April 5 through May 10, 2023.

“All businesses who meet eligibility criteria and submit proper documentation will receive funding through this program,” noted Jamison. “In addition, all applications will be reviewed as all funding will be awarded after the deadline date. This timeline gives our region’s small businesses ample time to review the program, assemble the required documentation and submit an application during the generous five-week open application window.”

The first of three informational webinars was offered on Friday, March 24 — the second and third will be announced at a later date. Both Jamison and Musch are eager to talk with small business owners and can be reached at and, respectively. Jacksonville Main Street Executive Director Judy Tighe is also serving as a local community navigator through Illinois Main Street.

DCEO has allocated a total of $50 million in funding to businesses in the restaurant category, $75 million to hotels and $50 million to the creative arts. Program information including eligibility guidelines can be accessed online at

Discover Your Instrument’ evening on March 30:
The Esprit de Corps Academy is hosting an open house, a “Discover Your Instrument” event at First Presbyterian Church, 870 West College Ave. in Jacksonville, on Thursday, March 30 from 6-8 p.m.

The Esprit de Corps is a local nonprofit offering free group music instruction. The academy provides curriculum, instruction and instruments to Jacksonville and area students in need at no cost.

The evening is designed primarily for fourth and fifth grade students to explore different instruments and select a brass, woodwind or percussion instrument they might like to study. For students as young as first grade, strings and piano instruction are available. Teachers will be present to answer questions.

Do you have questions about how your child can participate? Please text or call 361-244-4001 or email Find out more at

From left to right are AJ Harris, Thaddeus Bergschneider and Carson Ford. Bergschneider is also from Franklin FFA and is serving as the Section 14 FFA President.

Franklin FFA announces state champions, awards:
The Franklin FFA honors two state champions from “State Awards Day” on Saturday, March 25.

Those who attended “State Awards Day” included (L-R) Noah Lyons,
AJ Harris, Alivia Clayton, Thaddeus Bergschneider, Madi Springer and Carson Ford

AJ Harris was named the state winner as “Discovery Star Farmer.” Carson Ford was named the state winner as “Discovery Star Agriculture Placement.” Alivia Clayton placed second in state in “Human & Public Service SOE.” Madi Springer placed third in state in “Food Service Entrepreneurship.” Noah Lyons placed third in state in “Turf Grass Management.”


Ten junior attendants to participate in Beaux Arts Ball:
The Art Association of Jacksonville’s 66th annual Beaux Arts Ball, “Beauty Grace & Elegance,” is being planned for Saturday, April 29. Ten children will participate as junior attendants in this year’s premier fundraiser for The Art Association of Jacksonville.

Pictured, left to right, are: (top row) Evan Cors, Charlie English and Liam Hicks; (center row) Harrison Alexander and Kellon Oldenettel; and (bottom row) Camryn Chumley and Josie Rajaguru. Not pictured are Kolby Hoffman, Jera Wardell and Mitchell DeBoer

This year’s junior attendants include Camryn Jane Chumley, daughter of Erin Tighe and Antonio Burton, Jacksonville; Kolby Hoffman, daughter of Kristan Becker Hoffman and the late Robert Dickson Hoffman, Jacksonville; Josie Katherine Rajaguru, daughter of Elam and Jeni Rajaguru, Jacksonville; Jera Emery Wardell, daughter of Jason and Audrey Wardell, Murrayville; Harrison Christopher Alexander, son of Stephanie Davidsmeyer Alexander, Jacksonville, and Trent Alexander, New Berlin; Evan Bradley Cors, son of Brad and Sarah Cors, Jacksonville; Mitchell William DeBoer, son of Joan and Jeffery DeBoer, Alexandria, Virginia; Don Charles English IV, son of Ian and Heather English, Jacksonville; Liam David Hicks, son of Matt and Jennifer Hicks, Jacksonville; and Kellon Benjamin Oldenettel, son of Michael and Lori Oldenettel, Jacksonville.

Patron and general tickets will be available online at and at Annie Merner Chapel prior to the Beaux Arts Ball on Saturday, April 29, where the coronation will begin at 7 p.m.

Immediately following the coronation at Annie Merner Chapel will be entertainment by Kapital Sound and hors d’oeuvres, all at McClelland Hall. Patron tickets are $40 and include admission to the reception, coronation and dance, while general tickets are $10 and include the coronation and champagne reception.

An interpreter will be available upon request at the coronation for persons who are d/Deaf or hard-of-heating. Accessible seating will also be available. Call The David Strawn Art Gallery office at 217-243-9390 or visit for more information..

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