October is known for pumpkins and Halloween. But in DuPage County, it will now be known for showcasing the vibrant local arts community, as Arts DuPage, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the arts, has declared this month as “Arts DuPage Month.”
To celebrate, more than 60 area organizations are hosting or presenting hands-on art activities, live music and dance performances, art exhibits and more during October.
Deborah Venezia, director of Arts DuPage, which is an initiative of the DuPage Foundation, wanted to highlight local art during October because it’s national Arts and Humanities Month. She hopes by promoting such a wide variety of artistic events, Arts DuPage will help people realize how many different cultural opportunities there are all over DuPage County.
In order to qualify as an Arts DuPage event, the organization must have something special, like a meet-and-greet with performers or a buy-one, get-one offer on tickets.
“We want the community to recognize the bountiful art offerings that are available here,” Venezia said. “DuPage County offers world-class performances at larger venues like Drury Lane, the MacAninch Arts Center at College of DuPage and Paramount Theatre in Aurora. But we also have smaller venues like the Village Theatre Guild in Glen Ellyn and Wheaton Drama.”
Arts DuPage formed in 2016 as an all-encompassing website of art and cultural events and happenings in the county. The site is a great place for people who are looking for experiences in the world of art and culture, Venezia said.
“People wanted one place to go where they could find out what’s going on [in DuPage County],” she said. “[On the website] people can find artist profiles, classifieds and a calendar of arts events. We’re trying to keep people here in DuPage County. They don’t always have to drive to Chicago and fight traffic. There are Broadway-caliber performances and high-quality arts at home.”
The DuPage Children’s Museum is hosting an Arts DuPage Month event Oct. 6 when it welcomes the Chicago-based dance troupe Perceptual Motion Inc. Cassie Coffey, public relations coordinator at the museum, said after the dance performance, children will be able to create a “cardboard music monster."
“The museum focuses our programs and exhibits on STEAM concepts, and we like to bring in performing arts to the museum,” she said. “We saw that [the performance] was a great tie-in with our ‘Tiny Great Performances’ series and thought it would be the perfect collaboration between the museum and Arts DuPage. Families will get an extra-special experience that day.”
Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville will present Eric Idle, one of the six original members of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus,” on Oct. 6 at North Central College to celebrate the release of his book, “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.” It will be moderated by actor and Naperville native Bob Odenkirk. Attendees will receive a coupon for a discount on a future purchase at Anderson’s.
Candace Purdom, events and publicity coordinator at Anderson’s, said the bookstore is a big supporter of all arts, and staff there are excited the events during October will bring more attention to the local arts.
“Eric Idle is very well known, and people look to Anderson’s for this type of event. It’s a great partnership between us and Arts DuPage,” she said.
Arts DuPage also has support from the leaders of many municipalities in the county, who have proclaimed October as Arts DuPage Month, Venezia said.
In addition to providing cultural experiences, the arts have a positive economic impact on communities, she said.
“Art events bring in tax revenue, as well as providing interesting and stimulating educational experiences that can bridge cultures,” Venezia said. “We’re hoping the month makes people aware of what’s surrounding them and to get different organizations on board to be a part of it. We want to encourage people to get away from the TV and experience the variety of arts in DuPage County.”
For a complete listing of Arts DuPage Month events, visit artsdupage.org.