Regional Arts

Central to our mission at Artspace 304 is the support and appreciation of regional arts and culture. Participation in these programs shape and affirm our communities’ character, while reinforcing a productive and vibrant local economy. Many of our regional artists demonstrate their commitment to community work by creating opportunities for participation in the arts for our area residents, especially younger members. The creation of our Arts Council in 2022 and the continued growth of our Southern Arts Fund, and the convening of the first Arts Amaze SI Regional Conference in March 2024 are exemplary of Artspace 304’s commitment to the regional arts community.

Southern Illinois Mural Project

Welcome, Carbondale! is an initiative of the Southern Illinois Mural Project (SIMP), an Artspace 304 program, in collaboration with the City of Carbondale, SIUC, local businesses, and private donors. Welcome, Carbondale! murals are all located in downtown Carbondale, in our ever-growing outdoor museum for residents and visitors. Stay up to date with murals as they are completed through the following link.

Our regional involvement includes the Southern Illinois Mural Project, with a goal of engaging local artists to showcase the history of our region via large-scale visual storytelling. By funding regional community arts organizations as well as the work of individual artists, the Southern Illinois Mural Project hopes to empower underserved communities and to cultivate public art throughout the region. Through the Southern Illinois Mural Project, we have placed ten murals throughout Carbondale, Herrin, Marion, and Murphysboro. We plan to expand our public arts program to include sculptural work and further fund additional projects.


Artspace 304 has facilitated arts education and cultural experiences for the young people of the region for decades by partnering with local schools and communities, and by providing opportunities for engaged learning and family participation. We offer a variety of cultural events throughout the year that captivate and advance the different interests of the youngest members of our community. 


The All Southern High School Theater Project brings together high school students from across the region for a summer of theater workshops, rehearsals, and hands-on internships. ASHSTP TM  enables talented high school students to work with professional directors, musicians, and choreographers to learn all aspects of musical theater performance. ASHSTP TM interns gain experience in stage production and design as part of the Summer Youth Employment in the Arts Program, underwritten by the Illinois Arts Council, the City of Carbondale, and the Neil and Mary Ellen Dillard Scholarship Fundand contributors to the Rising Star Fund.

ASHSTP 2024: Schoolhouse Rock Live! Jr.

The All Southern High School Theater Project (ASHSTP) is a partnership between Artspace 304 and John A. Logan College. This summer, ASHSTP will provide up to 35 regional high school students with life-altering experiences ranging from a Drama Camp, to a Traveling Troupe, to a professional-level stage experience of song and dance in the production of Schoolhouse Rock Live! Jr.

Information on ASHSTP Virtual Auditions here.

Buy tickets now to secure your seats for Schoolhouse Rock Live! Jr.  This perennial favorite is a fun time for the whole family. Choose from seven dates at the O’Neil Auditorium on the John A Logan College campus. 

Poetry Out Loud  helps students master public speaking skills, build self confidence, and learn about literary history. The program is presented by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, and is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.


Poetry Out Loud is a national arts education program that encourages the study and writing of poetry at the high school level. Teachers are provided free educational materials and a template for holding student recitation competitions. Students have the opportunity to grow their recitation skills through local, regional, and national competitions. 

Each fall, Artspace 304 seeks participants from Southern Illinois high schools to prepare for a regional competition held in February. English or Arts educators, librarians, homeschool teachers, or others who want more information can follow the links below.  In addition, the Poetry Out Loud curriculum includes everything required to hold a juried recitation competition. Students can progress from their school competition to a regional contest. Two students from each region move on to state and then, two from each state are selected to compete in Washington DC at a national level. 

Artspace 304 is the Region One Coordinator and acts as a resource to our region’s teachers who want to participate in the Poetry Out Loud program. We are incredibly proud of the students who competed in this year’s Region One contest and congratulate the two students who won a place in the State competition in Springfield in March, 2024: Winner, Nico De Guzman from Chester High School and Runner-up Leo Dunahee from Nashville Community High School.


Made possible through the Illinois Humanities Council, the Foreground Rural Initiative aims to support the humanities in rural communities. In  2023, Artspace 304 worked with local arts educators and facilitators to create after-school art programs for middle school students. Artspace 304 hosted two exhibitions of student work from our region, entitled Our World, Many Lenses. The culmination of the after-school art programs put on display the students’ artwork, which focused on self-expression, storytelling, and embracing diverse perspectives through narrative drawing and painting.

Artist Services

As Southern Illinois’ regional arts council, we support artists and organizations in the area by providing a variety of services; these include efforts to identify arts funding opportunities, guidance in the grant writing process, access to exhibition spaces, and timely seminars highlighting new opportunities for regional artists.


Support local artists by browsing our selection of unique items!

SHOP 304