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 Artists Council in 2022 and the continued growth of our Southern Arts Fund are exemplary of Artspace 304’s commitment to the regional arts community.
SOUTHERN ILLINOIS MURAL PROJECT
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 five murals in 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. Recently, we collaborated with the School of Journalism at Southern Illinois University to offer a youth video workshop that focused on documenting the Black Lives Matter movement and the creation of the Africana Studies Program at SIUC.
ALL SOUTHERN HIGH SCHOOL THEATER PROJECT (ASHSTP)
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. ASHTSP is a collaboration with Southern Illinois University’s McLeod Summer Playhouse, which allows students to work with professional directors and learn all aspects of musical theater performance. ASHTSP 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 Agency, the City of Carbondale, and the Neil and Mary Ellen Dillard Scholarship Fund.
2022 ASHSTP PERFORMANCES
The ASHSTP cast performed nearly sold-out shows of Grease on July 28-31, 2022 at the McLeod Summer Playhouse. Directed by Matthew Williams, Grease performances included students and recent graduates from nine high schools in Southern Illinois.
POETRY OUT LOUD
Poetry Out Loud is a national arts education program that encourages the study and writing of poetry by offering free educational materials, and grants high school students across the country the opportunity to recite work at a yearly national competition. Artspace 304 works with all Southern Illinois high schools to coordinate regional applications for the program, which helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history. Poetry Out Loud is presented by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency, a state agency.
The Poetry Out Loud 2023 Region 1 Contest took place Friday, February 10 at Artspace 304. Winner, Leo Dunahee (11th grade) from Nashville Community High School and Runner Up, Rebecca Drake (12th grade) from Massac County High School will represent Southern Illinois at the State Contest in Springfield on Monday, March 13 at 10:00 am. The contest is open to the public at the LRS Theatre at the Hoogland Center for the Arts, 420 South Sixth Street, Springfield, IL.
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.
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