Arts and Culture

Courtesy Jerry Milam / Peoria Riverfront Museum

If the name "Jerry Milam" means anything to you, it's probably because you know something about the Golden Voice Recording Studio he and his wife founded in South Pekin. That's where bands like REO Speedwagon, Styx, and Head East recorded some of their biggest albums.

You never know what you’ll hear traveling Highway 309, but what you do hear ... will be good.

Courtesy Brandon Butler

Few people know rural Elmwood was once a stop on the Underground Railroad.

Chillicothe Town Theatre / Facebook

The small-town theater was an endangered species before the pandemic.

But in 2020, the coronavirus and state-ordered shutdowns that followed meant closing theaters completely—for months at a time.

The Blank Stairs / Facebook

It's been nearly a year since many musicians have performed live. The loss of live energy and fan enthusiasm has been a big struggle.

Corn Stock Theatre

On this week’s episode of Out & About Jenn Gordon talks to Megan Johnston, Anna Oxborrow, and Chris Peterlin from Corn Stock Theatre about "It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play”. It's a clever take on the holiday cinematic classic, where  the story is staged as a live radio broadcast. Seven actors portray numerous characters, and sound effects are done by two Foley artists. The production will air on December 25 at 8pm as part of the WCBU Presents Series.


Art at the Bodega / Facebook

2020 is forcing all of us to spend more time at home. Some are using those extra hours stuck indoors to pick up a new skill or practice. Making art of any kind -- whether it be painting, sewing, or crafting -- has proven to be a creative outlet for many.

Trisha Yocum is owner of Art at the Bodega in Washington. She says hands-on artistic activities help alleviate some of the stresses and worries this year has brought.

Peoria Public Radio File Photo

A 31-foot tall Abraham Lincoln sculpture is heading to Washington.

Peoria and East Peoria students can now visit the Peoria Riverfront Museum for free.

David Alan Badger via Facebook

David Alan Badger says he's made the state of Illinois "the adventure of his life."

Eureka College Theatre

This week on Out and About, Jenn Gordon is joined by Holly Rocke to talk about Eureka College Theatre’s online production of “The Visit.” The tragic and poignant tale by Friedrich Dürrenmatt asks the question, “Is Justice for Sale?"  The performance will be available to stream November 12-15. For more information or to request a FREE viewing code email

Heartland Festival Orchestra

This week on Out and About, David Commanday joins Jenn Gordon to talk about Vivaldi’s brilliant Four Seasons reimagined by cinema composer Max Richter, plus a tango twist with Piazzolla’s The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires. The performance features rising star Francisco Fullana on violin, and Lidia Kaminska on bandoneon. The concert will take place on October 31 at Five Points Washington, with limited seating available.

Courtesy Mike Bailey

You may have noticed several new carved limestone pieces adorning the Peoria Heights Sculpture Walk along Prospect Avenue and the Rock Island Trail.

Central Illinois Ballet

This week on Out and About, artist director Rebekah von Rathonyi and principal dancer Hannah Ray join Jenn Gordon to talk about telling the haunting tale of Dracula through dance.

Peoria Symphony Orchestra

This week on Out and About, Jenn Gordon is joined by Maestro George Stelluto and Principal Trumpeter Sarah Carrillo to talk about the PSO’s upcoming concert "Merry Pranks," set to air on Oct. 24 on WTVP’s Create Channel 47.4.

(AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

Craig Moore wasn’t sure how the public would respond after his record store was closed for 2 1/2 months this spring due to the state’s coronavirus lockdown.

Peoria Art Guild

This week on Out and About, Jenn Gordon talks with Alexander Martin, local artist and one of the founders of the newly formed Peoria Guild of Black Artists. Alexander shares how the guild got started and quickly gained momentum, leading to a curated show at the Peoria Art Guild entitled “A New Renaissance”. The show will remain open through October 30. For more information visit the Peoria Art Guild.

Courtesy Preston Jackson

Artist Preston Jackson is on a mission to create three busts memorializing the late civil rights leader C.T. Vivian.

Peoria Riverfront Museum

This week on Out and About, Bill Conger joins Jenn Gordon to talk about the new exhibit at the Peoria Riverfront Museum. "GUITAR: The Instrument That Rocked The World" takes visitors of all ages on a fascinating and engaging exploration of the art, science, sound, history and pop culture behind the world's most popular instrument! The exhibit features a unique collection of more than 70 instruments - ranging from the rare and antique to the wildly popular and innovative - along with performance video, models and more.

Big Picture

This week on Out and About, Doug and Eileen Leunig (founders of Big Picture) and Trent Miles, join host Jenn Gordon to talk about “Giving Voice” an online magazine featuring articles, videos, and podcasts submitted by youth in our community.  The students will work with a professional writer and mentor to hone their writing skills, and they will be paid for published articles. To find out more about this initiative visit Giving Voice.

'WCBU & WGLT Present' Set To Debut In October

Sep 25, 2020

WCBU and WGLT Present is a limited, short-run series featuring cultural arts organizations throughout Central Illinois who are unable to perform in front of a live audience because of COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings. 

Contemporary Art Center of Peoria

This week on Out and About, Preston Jackson and William Butler join Jenn Gordon to talk about their joint exhibit, Walking the Line, which celebrates the 25th anniversary of the first art exhibition in the gallery. Preston Jackson is the founder of the Contemporary Art Center, and William Butler serves as the Executive Director.

Peoria Riverfront Museum

Internationally renowned wildlife photographer Tom Mangelsen gave a retrospective of his work and life experiences Thursday night as part of a virtual lecture presented by the Peoria Riverfront Museum and Wildlife Prairie Park.

On this week’s episode of Out and About, George Stelluto and Mae Gilliland Wright join Jenn Gordon to talk about the Peoria Symphony Orchestra’s shrewdly innovative approach to moving forward with their 123rd Season which includes access to concerts through an expanding partnership with WTVP. Learn more at Peoria Symphony Orchestra.

Courtesy of the Media History Digital Library / University of Wisconsin-Madison /

A 97-year-old silent film once thought lost forever was recently rediscovered amidst a collection of old film reels donated by a Peoria man to the Chicago Film Archives.

Arts Partners

On this week’s episode of Out and About, Jenn Gordon talks with John and Jeff Heintzman about the 9 new sculptures featured along Washington Street. The Walk is open year round and offers art inspired by music, math, nature an more. In lieu of public tours, John Heintzman narrates a video tours providing an in depth look at the artists and art featured on this year’s Sculpture Walk Peoria. For more information or to take the video tours visit Sculpture Walk Peoria.

Tim Shelley / Peoria Public Radio

It's clear Peorians have strong opinions on the Columbus statue in upper Laura Bradley Park after the park district listened to more than 90 minutes of public comments at a forum on the monument's future on Wednesday.

Peoria Riverfront Museum

On this week’s episode of Out and About, Bill Conger joins host Jenn Gordon to talk about the current exhibit at the Peoria Riverfront Museum, Ken Hoffman: 50 Years in Peoria. Hoffman arrived in Peoria in 1969, accepting the position of professor of painting at Bradley University. Beginning with a mural work painted in 1970, this exhibition explores the 50-year artistic journey which has realized these humorous, unmistakable, and often very large-scale paintings of animals in suits.

Breanna Grow / WCBU

This is the second of two stories exploring how the Peoria Riverfront Museum has adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic. This story was produced in partnership with the Pulitzer Center. For more stories about the effect of COVID-19 on museums, please visit the Prairie State Museums Project at

Tim Shelley / Peoria Public Radio

The man behind the large African animal sculptures placed around Peoria last summer now wants to create a permanent, free art installation for the community.