art suppliesOriginating back to the early 1900s, Black History Month is an opportunity to place a spotlight on the history, the culture and the feats of Black people. The Black community continues to excel as pioneers and innovators. Illinois is home to a large number of artists and entrepreneurs. We appreciate and highlight the pronounced dedication to their craft. This is a list of a few Black Illinois artists who produce breathtaking bodies of art:

Dwight White II – This artist and creative consultant is from the greater Chicago area. He challenges himself in pursuit of an insightful agenda to promote expression and authentic conversations. As a strategist and multi-disciplinary creative, White devises a conglomerate of radiant colors, beauty, power, experience, life, and raw emotion into his paintings and his words. Check out his work at http://www.dwhiteart.com/artwork.

Martha A. Wade – Observant of her artist father while being raised in Oak Park, Wade’s desire to become engulfed in her own world of art grew. In 2000, Wade attended the University of Michigan for a Bachelor’s in Business Administration. She was fearful to chase her dreams of becoming an artist. However, she returned to school in 2008 to pursue her passion in which she received her Masters of Art Management. Years later, Wade’s art may be found within the country but also internationally in countries such as Scotland, Ireland, and Sweden. Her art is a composite of boldness, meditative practice, muse, existential realities, the highest self, and the feminine essence. You may view her art at http://www.wadecreate.com/favs.

Natalie Osborne – Influenced by the Chicago atmosphere and the intricacies of various expressive worlds like fashion and graffiti, Osborne presents original contemporary work highlighting the beauties of black women. She advocates and creates artwork to support the mission of criminal justice organizations such as the Innocence Project. She encourages other creators to continue pursuing their skill, and if they are feeling lost, she advises they find a cause and allow their art to speak for it. She is very popular among interior designers. If interested in viewing some of her current pieces, go to https://bettershared.co/collections/natalie-osborne.

Nikko Washington – Raised in Hyde Park, Washington has absorbed the cultural essence of his environment and incorporated its aesthetic touches into his body of artwork. He currently holds the position of artistic director for SaveMoney, a Chicagoan hip-hop collective. In this role, Washington has been asked to design album covers for a number of musicians, like Kami, Vic Mensa, and Towkio. He specializes in different art styles and forms. From painting to screen-printing and graphic design, Washington produces an explosion of color and emotion when he encounters a canvas. To preview his work, visit https://www.nikkowashington.com/.

Tyler Clark – Affiliated with many top celebrities and companies, this Chicago artist experiments with unique forms of art. She creates 2D and 3D crafts by incorporating hair, fabrics, and jewelry. Her pieces display a flare of women’s empowerment and a sort of authenticity. Clark’s artwork has repeatedly been featured in galas and exclusive events. She remains an inspiration to young girls and urges the acceptance of Black beauty as she continues making strides in the art industry. Check out her work at her personal art website: https://inspiredbytyler.com/.

pexels patrícia paixao 4134527Today is National Popcorn Day – a day to grab Illinois’ state snack to celebrate. First originating in 1988, National Popcorn Day fell on the same day as the Super Bowl for years, giving people a fun way to celebrate the day.

Popcorn has special roots right here in Illinois. Since 2003, popcorn has been Illinois’ state snack. There are more than 300 popcorn farms throughout the state which led second and third grade students at Cunningham Elementary School to propose that popcorn become the state snack. Their teacher, Fran Hollister, helped get former Senator Larry Walsh to sponsor a measure to make popcorn the state snack.

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halloween g5a7c2d7e6 1280Ghost seekers will be excited to learn that Illinois now ranks fifth in ghost sightings in the U.S. A new study conducted by CardsChat.com that claims to have collected every reported ghost sighting since 1972 has found that Illinois has the fifth highest number of spirit sightings in the past 50 years. The group reported a total of 62,482 ghost sightings across the United States-showing at least 2,398 of those were at locations across Illinois. Other Midwestern states that made the list include Michigan at No. 4, Ohio at No. 3 and Indiana at No. 8. In 2012, Illinois sightings hit their highest number since 1972 with 3,697 reported sightings. However, that number has dropped in the last decade, going from 1,297 reported sightings in 2016 to only nine reported sightings in 2020. According to votes taken by participants in the study, the DeSoto House Hotel in Galena was voted as the spookiest spot in the state. Illinois not only has spooky places, it also has some scary ghost stories.

One of the most famous ghost stories in Illinois is the story of the “Resurrection Mary,” a story which fits into the broader category of urban legend known as the “vanishing hitchhiker” myth. The story takes place on the roads near Resurrection Cemetery in Justice, located a few miles southwest of Chicago. Since the 1930s, several men driving northeast along Archer Avenue between the Willowbrook Ballroom and Resurrection Cemetery have reported picking up a young female hitchhiker. This young woman is usually wearing a white party dress and is said to have light blond hair and blue eyes. There are other reports that she wears a thin shawl, dancing shoes, carries a small purse, and possibly that she is very quiet. When the driver nears the cemetery, the young woman asks to be let out. The woman then disappears into the cemetery never to be seen again.

Whether you believe in ghosts or not, as Illinoisans get ready to celebrate Halloween dressed up as ghosts, they may be just as likely to run into the real thing.

HalloweendecorationsHalloween is that special time of year for families and children, and many go all out to make the most of the spooky holiday- some even starting the decorating process in the spring and summer. With all the work people across Illinois put into their displays, it is no wonder that Illinois is so highly ranked nationally in states that decorate the most for the holiday. Many residents put in a personal touch, including bats over windows, ivy that slinks over walls, spooky spiders, a bubbling cauldron or even some crumbling tomb stones.

While many residents take great pride in their costumes and decorations, many do not know the length some of their neighbors go to for the holiday. After analyzing more than 1,000 Halloween decoration search terms on Google, a study by Lombardo Homes says 41 % of Americans start decorating for Halloween in the first week of October. The survey, which polled 998 homeowners, also found that Illinois ranks second for states that decorate the most for Halloween. In keeping with the state’s many patches of farmland, the most popular Halloween decoration in Illinois is a scarecrow. The top five states that decorate the most are Utah, Illinois, New Jersey, Texas and New Mexico. According to the study, the average person in Illinois spends $145 per year on Halloween decorations and costumes for themselves and their family. In addition, the most popular Halloween costume in Illinois is a witch. Whether you are an adult or a child, Halloween is a magical time in Illinois and there are so many different ways to have fun and express your creativity.

To check all out the full results of the study and compare your spooky season to other states, view the full study.

49761728407 fe387f46b3 bThis year, the state of Illinois was recognized by the Springfield Historic Sites Commission with the 2021 Historic Preservation Award to honor and recognize efforts to preserve historical buildings in downtown Springfield.

The state has made a strong effort to preserve many old buildings in Springfield, including the Illinois State Armory, Old State Capitol dome, former State Journal Register building and the Chase/Marine building. This recognition comes as Central Management Services continues to optimize the state’s real estate portfolio and redevelop several properties for the state to use in the upcoming Capital Complex Master Plan for 2050.

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