Recharge, Reflect and Renew!

Here in the Midwest, the first few months of the New Year can be brutally cold, and the gray skies can cast a cloud over one’s attitudes and emotions. It’s a good time of the year to recharge one’s energies, no doubt!

The past few years, I’ve enjoyed a “girlfriend getaway” in late January to boost the spirits. In this issue, we offer a handful of hot spots that you might consider for your next adventure with the girls—whether you’d prefer to hit the slopes and get the blood pumping or lay back in the luxury of a rejuvenating spa treatment or massage.

In this article, we focused on the ladies, but let’s not forget about the guys…they need their getaways, too! Of course, Valentine’s Day will be here before you know it—perhaps the season is ripe for a romantic couple’s getaway. But whatever you decide, I’ve found that it doesn’t really matter where you go, the camaraderie of friendship and an escapist mindset are all you need to jumpstart the New Year and kick those winter blues to the curb.

“I love the theatre!” exclaims George Brown, paying tribute to his life’s passion and its intrinsic power for education and human expression. We are blessed to have a number of exceptional, long-running theatre companies in central Illinois, but the Bradley University professor reminds us that their survival is no guarantee. “The arts work in Peoria—only if we support them.”

In the spirit of collaboration for which this region is known, all of the area’s theatre companies have taken matters into their own hands and come together to launch the Live Theatre League of Greater Peoria. The group’s website (peorialivetheatre.com) offers reviews of local productions and a free newsletter that will keep you in the loop on the live theatre across central Illinois.

Part of our mission is to let you know about the many opportunities to enjoy art, music and theatre right here—and we hope you’ll take advantage of them. Just as we must support our locally-owned retail shops, it bears repeating that we must support our local arts organizations as well. What arts groups would you miss if they suddenly disappeared? Take a few minutes for reflection, and mail back that membership renewal. Turn to our community events pages and fill in those empty spots on your calendar.

When you’ve finished reading our article about antiques, you may feel inspired for a leisurely stroll through the Illinois Antique Center—it makes for a fun winter “getaway” close to home. While you’re there, stop by the Contemporary Art Center and see what our local artists are up to. Grab a bite to eat at the Rhythm Kitchen, and you’re likely to catch a fine jazz or blues group as well.

These are the driving forces that make our region unique—and none of them exist without you. So here’s to the New Year! Make that resolution to support your favorite arts groups in 2011. “Experience something you have never experienced before,” as Mr. Brown implores, and we’ll continue our commitment to be your resource for arts and culture in central Illinois. a&s

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