Peoria Magazine: July 2021

Portraits by David Vernon

Interviews conducted by Jonathan Wright and Mae Gilliland Wright

Their legacies are legendary, their impact profound. By sharing their stories, we hope to inspire the rest of us who are living out our own legacies, each and every day.

Publisher's Note
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Esther Cohen

Growing up on the East Coast, she learned the value of community service and the importance of art and culture at a very young age. These lessons stayed with her for life—and she applied them here in Peoria.

Preston Jackson

An internationally renowned artist and performer, he confronts social issues boldly and directly, connecting the hard truths of American history to its present and future, anchored by the common thread of humanity.

Best of Peoria 2021

Each year, Peoria Magazine presents the people, places and things that make our region the best place to live, work and play… according to our readers.


Saved From Demolition

KDB Group has purchased the historic Hale Memorial Church at Main and High streets in Peoria.

Cover crops help to preserve one of the greatest natural resources of all.


A Force in the North Valley

by Jonathan Wright

Between Urban Acres and the North Valley Farmers Market, the Diaz family has become a mighty force for good in Peoria.

Helping Children Mile by Mile

by Mollie Shepherdson, ALSAC/St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

For 40 years, the St. Jude Runs have been saving lives and inspiring supporters.

by Mark Roberts, Community Foundation of Central Illinois

Our community is fortunate to benefit from the leadership, wisdom and service of this year's Local Legends.

by Karla Wilkerson, Peoria Public Library

His lasting legacy in Peoria—and the entire country—was the idea to make libraries free for all.


Discovering Slow Living

by Jessica Bingham

How to move through the world with care and intention rather than busyness and stress.

by Jaymee Barra, UnityPoint Health – Central Illinois

Dr. Robert Singleton II provides excellent care while dispersing reliable health information to a wide audience.

by Victoria Mitchell

After the storm comes the recovery from a year of pandemic living.


The Art of Serendipity

by Mae Gilliland Wright with Neve Kelley

A gallery in Dunlap reveals the beauty of art and the value of everyday moments.

Writers on the River

by Mae Gilliland Wright with Molly Deadmond

Now in its sixth year, the author event and book signing returns to central Illinois this month.