Willkommen zu Peoria!

Jan Wright, Publisher, art & society

A few months ago, I purchased a book to read on a trip, not realizing at the time how it would become a game-changer for me. Marie Kondo’s bestseller, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, offers a path to simplifying, organizing and decluttering known as the “Konmari Method”—a technique I soon put to use in my own life.

“Attachment to the past and fears concerning the future not only govern the way you select the things you own, but also represent the criteria by which you make choices in every aspect of your life,” Kondo writes. She suggests that you keep only the items in your life that bring joy, and discard the rest. Going about my recent spring cleaning, I tried a modified approach to her theory and found it felt good to let some things go. Turn the page for “Six Myths of Decluttering”… and perhaps it can help you, too!

Collaboration can be critical in a midsized community like ours, offering unique artistic avenues and allowing organizations to do things they couldn’t otherwise do on their own. “I guess you could say that seeking out collaborations—or accepting collaborative invitations when they arise—is in our DNA,” notes Dr. Joseph Henry of the Peoria Area Civic Chorale, which is collaborating on two upcoming concerts: with the Central Illinois Jazz Orchestra in May and the Heartland Festival Orchestra in June. In the end, he adds, it’s the community as a whole that benefits from this kind of cooperative effort.

Another case in point can be found in Peoria’s Sister Cities program, which brings together different cultures and expands our world view. This year, we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Peoria’s sister-city relationship with Friedrichshafen, Germany—a great fit for both cities, given their striking similarities. Led by the Friends of Friedrichshafen group, the connection with our German sister city has been life-changing for many area residents, especially the kids who participate in the youth exchange—the longest-running among sister cities anywhere in the country.

In early May, Peoria will host a delegation of more than three dozen people from Friedrichshafen for a six-day visit. Later this summer, a group of students from Peoria, Tazewell and Woodford counties will spend three weeks in Friedrichshafen, while a delegation from Peoria will travel to Germany at the end of September.

To our esteemed guests: Willkommen zu Peoria! We hope you appreciate our unique bond as much as we do… may it continue for another 40 years! a&s

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