Friday, December 14, 2012

Dec. 14: Winter Garden of Youth at The DLP

Aurora students with a flair for creativity will have their work highlighted in the Aurora Public Art Commission’s 15th annual “Winter Garden of Youth Art.”

Children from kindergarten through high school will have their artwork showcased from Friday, Dec. 14 through Friday, Jan. 25 at the Art Commission Gallery at the David L. Pierce Art and History Center, 20 E. Downer Place.  The exhibit will kick-off with an opening reception scheduled from 5 to 7 p.m. Dec. 14.

The presentation features a total of 125 pieces of art from 25 schools, including a variety of mediums such as paintings, drawings, printmaking, photography, sculpture, collage, computer arts, jewelry and ceramics.   All works in the display have been selected by art teachers or other school faculty members.

Participating schools in the “Winter Garden of Youth Art” are Allen, Annunciation, Bardwell, Beaupre, Brady, East Aurora High, Fox River Academy, Gates, Greenman, Hall, Hermes, Hope D. Wall, Jewel, Marmion Academy, McCleery, O’Donnell, Oak Park, Rosary High, Simmons, Smith, St. Rita of Cascia, St. Therese, Waldo, West Aurora High and Wright Home School.

Admission to the reception and gallery exhibit is free.  The gallery will be open from noon to 4 p.m. Dec. 14-15, 19-22, 26-29; and Jan. 2-4, 9-11 and 16-18 and 23-25.

The Aurora Public Art Commission is a civic organization dedicated to the preservation of public art in all of its forms.  For more information on the Commission or the gallery, visit the City of Aurora’s website at

Monday, December 10, 2012

12/12: Bridge Bash on Downer

Aurora is inviting the community to the “First Bash on the Bridge” ceremony slated for Dec. 12 at 3:30 p.m.

The event will feature Mayor Tom Weisner and other City, project, and business officials giving short presentations on the importance of the project to the downtown business district and community at large and explain how crews were able to complete the project in one construction season--- the only major bridge rebuild in Aurora history in such a short amount of time.  The aggressive construction schedule reduced by several months the inconvenience to downtown businesses, patrons, and the community than would have been experienced in the past.

The program will also feature entertainment from the Waubonsie Valley High School Step Team as well as what officials are terming “a few surprises”.

After the official ribbon cutting, antique vehicles will be the first to travel the eastbound lanes of the bridge.  The ceremony will culminate with everyone attending being included in the recreation of an historic 1909 photo from the archives of the Aurora Historical Society showing hundreds of people on the original downtown bridge during a GAR Encampment.

A post-event reception will be held at the River Edge CafĂ©, 14 W. Downer.  The David L. Pierce Art and History Center, 20 E. Downer, will likewise be open. Parking will be available at the Stolp Avenue Parking Deck at Downer and Stolp.

Patrons attending the ceremony will also get their first look at the Downer Place streetscape project, which is aimed at enhancing the vitality of the downtown and reducing pollutants entering the Fox River. The project consists of the removal and replacement of the sidewalk and curb and gutter on both sides of Downer between the bridges.  Brick crosswalks have also been added.

Rain gardens are also being installed on the two south side corners of the Downer Place and Stolp Avenue intersection.  The rain gardens will remove pollutants from storm water by filtering the runoff through native plantings and engineered soils prior to finding its way into the Fox River.

The opening of the bridges signals the much anticipated traffic pattern changes in the downtown.  Both Downer Place and Benton Street, which has served as the detour route throughout the construction project, will permanently become two-way thoroughfares between Broadway Avenue (Route 25) and Lake Street (Route 31).

The changes also prompted the installation of traffic signal equipment at multiple intersections along Downer and Benton and four-way stop signs at the intersection of Downer and Stolp.

As part of scheduled changes involving downtown parking that will be implemented in 2013, parking meters along Benton and Downer between Broadway and Lake, will have been removed, and signage posted alerting downtown patrons that parking will be free on Downer and Benton for up to two hours through the end of this year.

Dec.: Tanner House Holidays

Tanner House Holidays
Aurora Historical Society – Tanner House Museum
Corner of Oak Avenue and Cedar Street  (304 Oak)
Saturdays and Sundays in December
1-4 pm
$5 adults, $4 students and seniors, children 12 and under free.  Members always free.

A spa for snowmen and an enchanted winter garden wedding are two of the themes used this year in the seasonal opening of the 1857 Tanner House Museum.  Fourteen designers contributed to the display, including the winners of last year’s Favorite Room contest, the Past and Present Shoppes of North Aurora.
Visitors will get a sneak peek at the restoration underway in the parlor, where the elaborate plasterwork has been reinstalled and painted.
The museum is open all Saturdays and Sundays in December from 1:00-4:00pm.  Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for students and seniors, and children 12 and under as well as members are free.   Visit or Facebook:  aurorahistory for more information or call             630-906-0650      .

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Dec. 7 & 8: Freeman School's Holiday Shop

Aurora - For two days only, the gymnasium at Freeman Elementary School on Aurora’s West Side will turn into a makeshift holiday bazaar.

This year’s Holiday Shop at Freeman will include presents provided by Jenny’s Penguin Patch for family and friends, as well as beautiful homemade creations from local crafters including The Alexander Studio, Angelica Connolly, Mema & Bri, Unique, Handmade Jewelry by Susan, needle felting creations by Karen Nicholas, Pixie's Place, Cuddly Things & More, Joann Johnson, and PK Handmade.

There will also be a concession stand with holiday treats, a craft room for kids, and a wrapping room to bring home presents ready to go right under the tree. CDs will also be on sale from a local women’s singing group with all profits to be donated to the A+ Foundation benefiting West Aurora schools.

Freeman’s Holiday Shop is open from 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 7, and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8. Freeman Elementary School is located at 153 S. Randall Rd. in the residential neighborhood between West Aurora High School and Aurora University.

If you are interested in volunteering or joining the craft show, please contact the 2012 Holiday Shop Co-chairs Susie Runge at or Carrie Jones at

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Santa in the house! 2012

Aurora children who want to give their holiday wish list to Santa Claus in person can visit jolly St. Nick in December at the David and Karen Stover Visitors Center at Phillips Park, 1000 Ray Moses Drive. 
Santa will be available from noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, Dec. 1 to 2, 8 to 9, 15 to 16 and 22 to 23.  Parents are encouraged to bring their cameras. 
The free event is sponsored by the Friends of Phillips Park, a non-profit group that has been working behind the scenes to help preserve, restore and promote park amenities and programs since 1985. 
For more information on the Friends of Phillips Park, call the Visitors Center at            630-256-3750      .

Dec. 7: Grand Gallery Art Opening at the Paramount

The Paramount Theatre is pleased to announce the opening of a solo exhibit featuring the work of photographer Brian DeWolf in its visual Art Gallery, located on the 2nd floor of the Grand Gallery of the Paramount Theatre. The opening reception Meet & Greet  will take place on Friday, December 7  from 7 – 8:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Please join us to support the arts in Aurora.  Cash Bar. The DeWolf exhibit will hang from December 1 thru January 31, 2013. The exhibit will feature a collection of large scale banner prints from the Croissy exhibit in France along with more recent works and images of the Fox Valley area. Most pieces are available for purchase.

"The more carefully we look, the more there is to see.” DeWolf's photography began as an exercise to produce artistic images from the places that were most familiar to him. "People no longer see the luster on what has become dull from familiarity. I learned that we need not travel far to find light falling seductively upon an object."  In 2006, about 80 of DeWolfs images of the Fox Valley were chosen for “A Toast to the 14 Congressional District” event and fundraiser for Speaker of the House, United States Congressman Dennis Hastert.  The featured guest speaker was the late Whitehouse Press Secretary Tony Snow.
DeWolf  is a member of Professional Photographers of America (PPA). His image “Foggy Morning Ride” was accepted into the PPA Loan Collection for 2002.  Marathon Press, publisher of the Loan Collection, describes the collection as “the best of the best” from over 8,000 entries. “Foggy Morning Ride” was featured as the introduction to a special advertising section for Geneva, IL in Chicago Magazine June 2003. It also won the Denise Kavanagh Award at the St. Charles Fine Art Show 2003.  In 2008, he was awarded the Bronze Level Photographer of the Year award when four out of four entries merited in PPA’s international print competition. Thirteen of his images have “merited” in these international print competitions since 2002.
 In 2007 representatives of the Geneva, IL International Cultural Exchange Committee and Croissy sans Frontieres in Croissy sur Seine, France invited DeWolf to photograph Croissy as a step in developing an artist exchange program between the two cities. Croissy and surrounding villages along the Seine River are called “the playground of the French impressionists”. It resulted in a 2009 solo exhibit in France that was attended by a member of the French Parliament, a French Senator, three local mayors, and the family of a former French Ambassador.
The Paramount Theatre Art Gallery located on the 2nd floor of the Grand Gallery, opened in the Fall of 2006. The Gallery features the work of both established and aspiring artists. For more information regarding the Art Gallery, or the hanging of a show, please contact:

Monday, November 26, 2012

Dec. 1 to Dec. 23: Aurora Aglow

Join us for Aurora Aglow, the first ever holiday pop-up emporium located at the David L. Pierce Art and History Center in downtown Aurora.  The first floor gallery will be transformed with 15 artists, crafters and vintage dealers displaying their finest wares.
The museum will be open extended hours for this event, running Wednesday through Sunday, December 1-23, from 12-5 p.m. with hours extended to 8 p.m. on Thursdays.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Nov 16: Winter Lights in downtown Aurora

Winter Lights And Holiday Walk

Bring the family to celebrate the start of the holiday season. Join us for our inaugural holiday walk Friday, Nov. 16 starting at the David L. Pierce Art and History Center, 20 E. Downer Place. Strolling through the streets lit with luminaria, patrons will be warmly greeted by carolers, find artwork and holiday crafts from Cultural Creatives and be treated to light refreshments and warm cocoa.
The Miss Merry Christmas and Jack Frost winners will join Santa and Mayor Tom Weisner in lighting the City’s official holiday tree at 6 p.m. at North Island Center, 8 E. Galena Blvd. Immediately following the tree lighting ceremony, Santa will be available for photo opportunities with children at the Art and History Center.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Nov 10: Soul Platform VIIII: Soul to Soul

Creative Energy Entertainment Group is doing it again...
Soul Platform Vol. VIIII: Soul to Soul.
Come check out Aurora's hottest band Beyond Soul with some of the best singers in the valley.
Alyx, Chris Michael and BeBe Gordon; Spoken word from your favorite artists
Saturday November 10.
14 W. Downer Place, Suite 16, Aurora, IL.
Doors open at 8 show starts at 9.
Great food, great people, great atmosphere….You want to be in the place
$10 donation at the door

Nov 2: Flavors of Aurora - World

Recently-arrived refugees and immigrants from the far corners of the globe will be the focus of the last Flavors of Aurora:  Stirred, Not Shaken to be opened with a reception on Friday, November 2, 2012 from 5-8pm at the Pierce Art and History Center, 20 E. Downer Place, 60505.

Hailing from such countries as Nepal, Bhutan, Burma (Myanmar), other lands such as Iran and Iraq, and  nations such as Eritrea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Somali, Liberia, Burundi and Rwanda these new arrivals have suffered ethnic, political or religious oppression in their native lands.  They are helped by the U.N. to seek peace and opportunity in any country that will welcome them with law and justice.   Many come to the United States and over the last decade, thanks to sponsorship by local churches and the organization World Relief, hundreds have learned to call Aurora home.
“The Thanksgiving season is the perfect time for us to consider the good fortune we have to be Americans, and to learn about these new citizens who had to give up their homelands in order to find the blessings that we take for granted every day,” says Roald Haase, who serves on the board of the Aurora Historical Society and is coordinating the event.  “They are the Puritans of today.  We should also remember that, even after 175 years, Aurora is still being built up by the new blood and strength of people from far-away places who see The City of Lights as a beacon to happiness.”
The reception on November 2 is free (donations appreciated), with a cash bar.  The exhibit will be up through November 24 during regular Pierce Center hours, Wednesdays through Saturdays from noon – 4:00pm.   Group tours can be arranged by calling             630-906-0650      .
More groups are scheduled to be spotlighted in 2013, including African-American, Irish and Italian. or for details.   For a short video which features a Burmese and a Bhutanese woman who now call Aurora home, go to

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Oct. 7: Paws in the Park

The Fox Valley Park District will hold a free “Paws in the Park” festival from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 7, at Lincoln Park in Aurora.

Dog owners are welcome to bring their pets to the event, which is hosted in conjunction with the Fox Valley Animal Welfare League. The event will feature local representatives and resources, pet-related products and gifts, rescue organizations, behavior and obedience specialists and demonstrations, a blessing of all the animals, police dog demonstrations, contests for dogs and numerous prize drawings.

Dogs will be able to run off-leash in the fenced-in play area. All dogs must have a current rabies tag to enter the park.

Park District dog tags for the Lincoln Park Dog Park – providing season-long use of the dog park – will be available for purchase. Those who do not have a 2012 FVPD dog tag will be allowed to use the dog park that day for $1, provided their dog has a current rabies tag.

The Park District also will have information available on its newly constructed dog park on Gregory Island – located off Indian Trail between Routes 31 and 25 – and on a planned dog park set to open next year at Stuart Sports Complex.

Lincoln Park is located on Aurora’s west side at South Harrison Avenue, just north of Prairie Street and east of Elmwood Drive.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Oct. 5: Flavors of Aurora: Stirred Not Shaken - German

Opening reception:  Friday, Oct. 5, 2012  5-8pm
Exhibit:  October 6-27, 2012    Wednesdays-Saturdays, Noon-4pm
Pierce Art and History Center, 20 E. Downer Place, Aurora, IL  60505

Aurora’s German heritage is a long one, and this October, during the 175th anniversary celebration year, the people and their contributions to the development and culture of the city will be highlighted at the Aurora Historical Society.    The salute begins on Friday, October 5 with a free opening reception at the Pierce Art and History Center, 20 E. Downer Place, 60505 from 5-8pm.   Authentic foods from the oldest retail shop in Aurora, the Wurst Kitchen, which dates back to 1895 will accompany authentic beers and wines from the old country.   Bob Kresz, a musician whose family has made German music in Aurora for decades, will be on hand with friends to provide traditional tunes suitable for the polka and the waltz, if party-goers are so moved.    Sponsors of the party, celebrating their German heritage, are Ed and Sharon Stredde.

The exhibit, co-curated with Ed Heriaud, historian of the Turners Club, will be unveiled at the party and will run through October 27.  Regular museum hours are Wednesdays-Saturdays, noon-4:00pm.

The ethnic series will conclude for 2012 in November, when recent immigrants and refugees from third-world countries will present their stories, music and cuisine, with an emphasis on the American holiday of Thanksgiving.   More salutes are planned for 2013 and will include African American and Italian cultures.

For more information, see, Facebook, or call             630-906-0650      .

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Oct. 6: Lions Club Fall Fun Fest

A first-ever Fall Fest with food, face painting and a craft show will be held at Luigi's Pizza and Fun Center, 732 Prairie St. in Aurora, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 6.
Kids and adults are invited. Admission is free. The sponsor is the Aurora Noon Lions Club.
The first 100 children to attend will receive a free mini-pumpkin and $1 food coupons for hot dogs, pizza and ice cream.
Free photos will be taken of children on a fire truck or in a police car.
Crafts by local artists will be sold and a garage sale will be held at the fest. Five varieties of Lions brooms--from kids-size to industrial push broom will be available.
Luigi's game room will be open. Used eyeglasses will be accepted for recycling.
Proceeds will benefit Lions vision and hearing-impaired charities.