Four years…both a long time and a short one. On the one hand, it seems as if it’s been ages since we first launched this magazine in early 2006. We’ve attended countless numbers of charity events and fundraising galas, and have done our best to capture the essence of the people and places behind the scenes, in the arts world and in the community at large.
On the other hand, even after four years and 24 issues, I still occasionally find myself referring to it as our “new” magazine. Everything’s relative, I suppose. (Visit peoriamagazines.com/as/archives for a look back at the last four years of issues.)
So much has happened in that time, of course, and we continue to support the arts and culture in central Illinois in the midst of the sea of change that is modern life. The economic downturn, in particular, has forced arts groups—and not-for-profit organizations of all stripes—to get creative with their fundraising, as well as having to make painful cuts.
Indeed, the last few years have been tough for many. And yet, at the same time, we’ve seen the founding and flourishing of vibrant new groups such as the Heartland Festival Orchestra and ci|creative, who are rapidly making their presence felt on the local arts scene. NEA Chair Rocco Landesman’s tour of Peoria last fall is still paying dividends, having led the area’s arts groups to come together and work with one another as never before.
Certainly, the art of collaboration is playing a fundamental role in the “new normal” that continues to develop in response to tough economic times. ArtsPartners and ci|creative have joined forces to build on the energy kicked up by Landesman’s visit. The Boys and Girls Clubs and Peoria Symphony Orchestra are coming together to produce a one-of-a-kind extravaganza at the Civic Center featuring the music of Led Zeppelin. The Heartland Festival Orchestra gives back to the community by partnering with a local charity for each of its concerts.
These are just a few examples of successful collaboration in the area. After it is built, the downtown museum will be another, helping to anchor an arts district that is slowly evolving into existence.
When times are tough, that’s when the arts are arguably needed the most. Artists are perhaps the most resilient and resourceful people on the planet, as we discover time and again in these pages. Despite setbacks and a stubborn economy, the local arts scene has never held as much promise as it does today. And we are excited to begin our fifth year of discovering and promoting the hidden talent and worthy causes that breathe life into central Illinois. a&s