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Tony producer Heather Hitchens, county highway weight limits, United Way meeting, 'Predictions' exhibit, Lincoln Christmas tree pickup, HSLC board election, Atlanta 'Rt. 66 Reinterpreted' Art Project

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[January 09, 2013]  Tony producer Heather Hitchens comes to 'Behind the Scenes' at the Atlanta Public Library & Museum

ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Public Library will continue offering its "Behind the Scenes" program in 2013. Behind the Scenes offers a rare opportunity for people to rub shoulders with renowned artists in theater and music. The series this year will feature prominent artists Heather Hitchens, executive director of the American Theatre Wing in New York and producer of the Tony Awards; Casey Childs, founder of the off-Broadway theater company Primary Stages in New York and well-known director of theater and television; and Mikhail Istomin, chamber musician and cellist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

Behind the Scenes events will take place on Jan. 11, Feb. 8 and April 5 at the North Greens Golf Course in Atlanta. Beginning at 6:30 p.m. artists will speak about their lives and careers, share stories about their experiences on a national and international stage, give insights into the people they have met, and talk about what it means to be an artist. A reception with the artist will follow each event.

Behind the Scenes is sponsored by the Atlanta National Bank and the city of Atlanta.


Heather Hitchens

This week the Behind the Scenes program will feature special guest Heather Hitchens, executive director of the American Theatre Wing and producer of the Tony Awards.

Hitchens joins the series on Friday at 6:30 p.m. at the North Greens Golf Course Community Room in Atlanta. The event kicks off with a reception with the artist followed by her presentation at 7 p.m.

Hitchens began her tenure at the American Theatre Wing in July 2011. As the chief executive officer, she is charged with maintaining its brand of excellence in the Tony Awards as well as overseeing and shaping its other vital grant-making, professional development, educational and media programs.

She came to the Wing after a four-year term as executive director of the New York State Council on the Arts, the largest state arts agency in the country. Prior to her leadership there, she served as president of the renowned national arts service organization Meet the Composer.

A percussionist since the age of 6 and a lifelong lover of the performing arts, she holds a master's degree in arts administration from Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pa., and a bachelor's degree in percussion and music business from DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind.


Casey Childs, Feb. 8

For the Feb. 8 program, the speaker will be Casey Childs, a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University with a bachelor's degree in acting and a master's degree in directing. He has acted and directed all over the United States and Great Britain and has taught and lectured on the subjects of television and theater at leading theater schools throughout the country. He has made three trips to Russia as a guest of the Federation of Russian Theatre Workers. Since founding Primary Stages in 1984, he has produced over 100 new plays, many of them world premieres.

Childs also has produced and directed television for over 25 years, working on such shows as "As the World Turns" for CBS; "Another World" for NBC; and "The City," "Loving," "One Life to Live," "All My Children" and segments of "Spin City" for ABC. He also directed "The Catlins" for Turner Broadcasting, "Our Group" for Lifetime and "Hollywood Heights" for Sony's "Nick at Nite." Childs has won two Emmy Awards for his television directing and countless nominations for both producing and directing in television.


Mikhail Istomin, April 5

Born and educated in Russia, Mikhail "Misha" Istomin holds a master's degree in music from the St. Petersburg Conservatory. While still in school, he became principal cellist of the State Hermitage Orchestra and later joined the orchestra of the Kirov Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre.

In 1987, he became the cellist of the Leningrad Conservatory String Quartet, and in 1989 the group won the grand prize in the National Soviet Union Competition of String Quartets. Later that same year, Misha defected during the quartet's U.S. tour and was granted political asylum in the United States. Immediately following these events, he joined the Richmond Symphony and became a faculty member of both Virginia State University and the Governor's School for the Performing Arts at the University of Richmond.

Misha was appointed principal cellist of the Pittsburgh Opera and Pittsburgh Ballet Theater orchestras in 1991, and the following year he joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. In July 1998, he returned to St. Petersburg to perform in the Second World Cello Congress under the direction of Mstislav Rostropovich.

Misha is a founding member of the Pittsburgh Piano Trio, which has released three CDs on the Minstrel label to resounding critical acclaim.


Tickets for Behind the Scenes are available in advance at the Atlanta Public Library, as well as at the door on the evening of each event. Seating is limited and advance purchase is recommended. Individual event tickets are $12.50 for adults and $7 for students under age 21 and under. Discounted series tickets for all four events are also available for $40 for adults and $25 for students. There are group rates as well for groups over 10 people. Email to arrange tickets for your group.

Visit the library's website at to learn more about all the library's programs in 2012-13.

Seasonal weight limits on Logan County highways begin Jan. 20

During the winter months, soils will freeze and thaw repeatedly. This can cause problems for local roadways that are not designed to support heavy traffic. Heavy loads during these freeze-thaw cycles can cause significant damage.

Beginning Jan. 20, the seasonal weight limits will be in effect on all Logan County highways. These roads are marked with five-sided blue signs and are posted with weight limit signs. Any vehicle in excess of the weight limits needs to have a permit issued by the Logan County Highway Department.

Permits are available by visiting, by calling the highway department office at 217-732-3059 or by visiting the office at 529 S. McLean St. in Lincoln. There is no charge for the permits. Permits will be valid only on certain days when conditions are suitable.

Hauling on township roads in Logan County during this time period will need to be coordinated with the respective township road commissioner.

Again this year, the highway department is asking for cooperation to help keep our roads in good condition.

United Way of Logan County to hold annual meeting Jan. 9

The United Way of Logan County will have its annual meeting Wednesday, Jan. 9, at 5:30 p.m. Board members will elect new officers, and new members of the board will be approved.

The public is invited to attend, but to allow for space accommodations, please contact the office, 217-735-4499, by 4:30 p.m. Jan. 9.

The regular monthly meeting will follow the annual business activity.

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"Predictions": Local artists' expressions of a future world

The art exhibit "Predictions" opened on a snowy and blustery evening to a steady stream of gallery visitors. "Predictions" is the premiere event for the Logan County Art Association. The show began Dec. 20 and runs until Jan. 12 at the Lincoln Art Institute.

"Predictions" was selected as the theme for the show to coincide with the end-of-world predictions mainly represented by the end of the Mayan Long Count calendar on the winter solstice. Nine artists from Logan County contributed to the exhibit, crafting their art to address their personal views on the future, whether the world ends or, if not, how we as a species move into and create the future.

Christopher Tice, professor of art at Lincoln College, created a multi-layered piece he calls "Utility," essentially his view of what the world would resemble after a fire consumed the planet. The piece is an amalgam of ordinary objects he placed on a container and finished off in his backyard forge. While the melted objects retain their shapes and seem random, Tice has created symmetry on the surface. He then mounted a video projector above the piece that shows a subtle movement, a cycle to time, in his words. "I am trying to create a visual effect on a physical surface," Tice explained.

For the exhibit, Lincoln High School teacher Jason Hoffman submitted three pieces that explore his current focus on the link between a museum exhibit and one for an art gallery. "My pieces explore a survival aspect, whether it is the end of the world or a new beginning, and how we as individuals respond to mortality," he said. To Hoffman, art is something he thinks about every day -- how what he sees can be translated into something that speaks about the issues we face in everyday life.

Moses Pinkerton, the host for the exhibit, also contributed several pieces. "If a piece of my art turns out right, people should be able to look at one of my works and tell what it is saying," he said. He is not a big fan of the abstract movement. His piece "Ripe," a hand holding an Earth burgeoning with possibilities, is a personal view about the potential available to all of the occupants of our planet.

Bonnie Mayo's two paintings strongly express her optimism, with themes showing the sun rising on a landscape still occupied and changed by people. For her, art is "a process of thinking about a subject for several weeks and then getting to a point where it is time to put paint on canvas," she said. "I wake up one day and know the time is right to create the actual painting." She is also careful to use a frame that accentuates the focus and colors of her art.

While the photos accompanying this article give a sense of what the artists want to convey, the exhibit definitely needs to be seen in person to appreciate the creativity.

The show "Predictions" is open at the Lincoln Art Institute, 112 S. McLean, until Jan.12. Pinkerton may be reached there at 217-651-8355 for more information.


City Christmas tree pickup program starts Jan. 7

The street department in Lincoln will pick up Christmas trees starting Jan. 7 for Ward 1, Jan. 8 for Ward 2, Jan. 9 for Ward 3, Jan. 10 for Ward 4 and Jan. 11 for Ward 5. Trees must be by the curb by 7 a.m. on the day of the scheduled pickup.

Trees must be free of all decorations and not in a bag. Wreathes will be picked up if they are free of wiring.

HSLC board election Jan. 30

A general membership meeting of the Humane Society of Logan County will be on Jan. 30 in the Steinfort Room at Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital, 200 Stahlhut Drive.

The annual election for three seats on the board of directors of the Humane Society of Logan County will be at this meeting.

Anyone who is current with their dues and has been a member for at least three months prior to the election may declare their intent to seek election to the board of directors. If you are interested in serving on the board, you may send a letter of intent to the board secretary, Wanda Stevens, at

Atlanta Betterment Fund board introduces 'Rt. 66 Reinterpreted' Art Project

ATLANTA -- In celebration of Route 66 and all it stands for, Atlanta -- located on the Mother Road, midway between Chicago and St. Louis -- announces its first "Rt. 66 Reinterpreted" Art Project.

Modeled on Chicago's "Cows on Parade" exhibit, the Rt. 66 Reinterpreted project presents artists the opportunity to create their own take on one of the 20th century's most iconic and recognizable symbols: the U.S. Route 66 highway shield.

Participating artists will be provided a blank, 2-foot-by-2-foot wooden cutout of the Route 66 sign, painted white, which will then become their personal canvas. The only requirement in creating a reinterpreted shield is to incorporate the text "Illinois U.S. 66" somewhere on the face of the shield, in whatever size, shape or color the artist desires. Everything else about the design, style, background and color of the reinterpreted shield is left to each artist's imagination and creativity.

The project is open to anyone 16 years old and above. Up to 50 entries will be accepted in this year's project, as determined by the date applications are received. All 50 entries will be displayed outside along Route 66 in downtown Atlanta from May 1 to Aug. 31, 2013.

The board of directors of the Atlanta Betterment Fund will select 10 shields out of the 50 entries as finalists. Shields selected as finalists will be judged on originality of design, overall concept and quality of execution.

Voting will then take place May 1-Aug. 31 to select the top five shield designs as winners of the 2012 project. Anyone, anywhere may vote, either in person at selected Route 66 attractions in Atlanta or online via Atlanta's website at The top five vote-getters will be the winners of the year's Rt. 66 Reinterpreted project.

At the conclusion of the project, the five winning shields, along with the names of the artists who created them, will be displayed on a permanent basis in the Atlanta Route 66 Park. Entries selected as one of the top five winning designs will also be showcased at the International Mother Road Festival in Springfield Sept. 27-29, 2013.

Artists wishing to enter the Rt. 66 Reinterpreted Art Project must submit a completed application form, along with a $25 entry fee. Completed applications are due on or before Feb. 1. Applications received after Feb. 1 will not be accepted.

Completed Rt. 66 Reinterpreted shields should be carefully packaged and returned to: The Atlanta Betterment Fund, 114 SW Arch St., Atlanta, IL 61723. Shields should be submitted between March 1 and April 5, 2013. Shields received after April 5 will not be accepted.

The Atlanta Betterment Fund sponsors the Rt. 66 Reinterpreted Art Project.

All decisions regarding judging are final. Entries selected as finalists will be notified by April 30, 2013. Entries selected as one of the top five winning designs will be notified by Sept. 1, 2013.

Click on the "Route 66 Art Project" logo at for more information, including project guidelines and an application form to enter the Rt. 66 Reinterpreted Art Project. Or contact:

William Thomas
Atlanta Betterment Fund
114 SW Arch St.
Atlanta, IL 61723


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