by Jeff McSweeney
“The Arts in Peoria.”
Fascinated by human behavior, decisive moments, the climax of a story and discovering why people behave the way they do… Decisions with integrity - to become the hero… How do decisions impact life? Why is man attracted to making decisions for the best? Hope – Faith – Personal Evolution… People are meant to be heroes in their personal lives. The hero is drawn into the dark then emerge, changed for the better with a clear mission.
Suzette moved to Central Illinois in the early 80’s to pursue a role in juvenile counseling. She evolved to a role of community counselor, essentially a communications / marketing / public relations position promoting social services.
In 2003 she took her first art class at Lakeview Museum and discovered her love for abstract art – colors that express emotion. Coincidentally, in that same year, she accepted the Executive Director’s role at Arts Partners – a central Illinois focused and City of Peoria’s financially supported – advocate for arts cooperation and promotion. Suzette envisions, “Arts Partners, at its most idyllic, is the roundtable of the arts – The Camelot of arts in Peoria from professional to beginner, inclusive to all. I like the feeling of inclusivity, equality, and the contributions of board members, artists and the community at large. To be a positive face for the arts – a can-do spirit of communication.”
Suzette quickly refers to Peter Couri who notes the history of the arts began with Marquette and the Native Americans at Peoria’s founding and includes a rich vaudeville tradition.
Today the arts are succeeding by bringing feet on the street through galleries and stages.
In the future the arts will continue to carry the torch of our vibrant community. Suzette sees a connection between the growth of our city and the success of the arts especially with kids in education, arts appreciators and ultimately training and supporting budding artists, providing an environment that encourages them to invest in central Illinois.
Being an artist myself, my version of the novel will feature the Arts as a hero personified by Suzette, a fully complete character.
High School Football
Anecdotally, Illinois high school football is not the religion it is in a state such as Texas. But, for those who attend the Friday night pilgrimage, high school football is a community wide social event that brings together folks from a variety of ages, religions and economic backgrounds. According to the Illinois High School Association 558 schools have participating programs in 2013. That roughly equals 279 games every week throughout the state.
For this novel, high school football will be the neutral zone where all parties can come together, be pleasant and re-establish strained relationships.
I am an optimist. I love big projects with vision. I miss the anticipation and dreams of going to the moon and don’t think we have modern day heroes. The Warehouse District is my personal moon shot. I love the old buildings – monuments to the character and vision of those who built them. Even though these buildings do not host their original mission they stand waiting for the next visionaries to take over. After many years of false starts and misguided vision the Peoria City Council has committed to this vision.
Whereas the Riverfront Museum may play host to the darker and more pessimistic aspects of the community, the Warehouse District will be shining with optimism. The biggest dreams, the greatest hopes will grow and blossom through the ongoing success of the Warehouse District.