Archive for Peoria

Reimagine Success: Creative Space Gives Freedom

Peoria’s Prairie Center for the Arts  Provides Space to Let Creative Minds Explore the Possible

Prairie Center of the Arts is a hidden gem in downtown Peoria. Founded in 2003, the center is located in a 120 year old building that was once home to a rope manufacturer. The warehouse is now occupied with a large gallery space on one side, and a printmaking shop and artist studios on the other.

The Center offers residencies to artists with studio space and equipment that allows them to work without distraction. Dawn Gettler came to Peoria from Chicago as an art resident a couple of years ago, and when she was offered the program manager job at the Center, she moved here full-time two years ago. She says, “I found that I could buy a house here and afford a studio and get a job in the arts. I sort of re-evaluated what it meant to be successful, and for me that meant being able to make work and sustain a lifestyle, which I can do in Peoria.” Read the rest of the story here.

IMG_4676

Artist resident Josh Cox doing a screenprinting demo.

Where Are the Local Police When You Need Them?

I live near Bradley Park, and I often take my children and dog there. Last week, the unthinkable happened: An unleashed pit bull attacked another dog being walked by its owner.

The pit bull’s owner yelled to his dog, and then he started yelling at the other dog’s owner. His dog was attacking her dog, not the other way around. No one was helping the woman, so I ran over and yelled at the pit bull’s owner, “Your dog should be on a leash.” He approached me holding his dog by the collar in one hand and a can of beer in the other, screaming at me to “Shut the f&%@ up.”

He was within two feet of me. Honestly, I was scared he was going to hit me. I told him repeatedly not to get any closer, and I pulled out my phone and dialed 911. He yelled some more and finally walked away, gathering his friends. At least one other person called 911. I told the dispatcher that he was leaving and where he was walking, thinking a police officer would surely show up soon.

The true crime of this story is that no officers ever arrived. I called again when the man reappeared in the park several minutes later to pick something up that he left behind. I asked if any police were coming and the dispatcher said no, because I had said the guy was leaving. Really? There were plenty of witnesses willing to talk, not to mention a bleeding dog. I gave a description of the man, said he was still there and that we were leaving because I was afraid of him and I had my daughter with me. Again, no cops arrived. Approximately 30 minutes later, after we returned home, the police called and wanted to talk.

When I asked the officer why no one responded, he said that at the same time, he got a call about a guy who broke his leg at the RiverPlex, and that took precedence. Really? Don’t the Fire Department and EMTs deal with a broken leg? I questioned his logic and he said, “How would you feel if you were the guy with the broken leg?” I responded that there was a loose pit bull in a public park attacking another dog and children were present. He seemed to shrug.

Is there only one police officer on duty at a time in this city? I later learned that this officer was from the Park District, where my call was dispatched.

When I call 911, I expect an officer to arrive on the scene, even if the situation has dissipated. I don’t care whose jurisdiction the emergency falls under. Someone better respond, and in a timely manner.

This story was published in the June 6, edition of The Peoria Journal Star.

Not Your Typical Bar

Blue is a cozy neighborhood bar sandwiched between a tax service and liquor store on Main Street by Sheridan Road. Husband and wife James and Jessica McGhee have operated the pub since July 2009. “We’re the bar for people who don’t like bars,” Jessica says.

In fact, it’s comparable to a café, but with spirits, featuring mix-matched, comfortable chairs, random art, and shelves filled with board games that patrons are encouraged to play. Even the eclectic mix of music has been carefully curated by the by the owners and includes artists like The Smiths, The Pharcyde, and Postmodern Jukebox , as well as local artists The Amazing Kill-O-Watts. It’s not unusual to see people playing a game of Jenga or Connect Four while imbibing IPAs. Read rest of story here.

Emily Blue