Greenwood Cemetery in Decatur

Halloween is centuries-old tradition. The fall holiday has transformed from a day of remembrance to a fun celebration of the supernatural that supports a multi-million dollar horror movie industry and an almost equally lucrative candy-selling business. Spending on Halloween is expected to reach $7.4 billion this year. While that may pale in comparison to spending for other holidays, it still means Halloween is big business in addition to big fun.

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Anastasia MakOur Illinois Artist of the Month is Anastasia Mak, a native of Ukraine who made our state her home and the subject of many of her paintings. She is inspired by Illinois artists, subjects, places and the state’s friendly people. Read on to learn more about Anastasia and see more of her artwork on her website.


ILI: How long have you been an artist or when did you start? Was there a single incident or moment when you realized this was your passion and if so, tell us about it?
Mak: I have been drawing/painting ever since I was able to handle pens, brushes and markers — which, I am told, started at around 2 years of age. My mother was very happy because I have always been able to occupy myself with art for hours, and she didn't have to constantly entertain me. Also, ever since I remember, I have wanted to be a professional artist. When I was 11 though, my dad broke it to me that it would probably not be feasible to earn a decent living in the arts, and when I go to college, I should study something "more useful." I remember that moment so clearly — we were sitting on a bench in New York's Central Park, having that conversation, and I was thinking: "Now what? My life has no meaning!" — at 11! So, well, in college I studied business. And then became an artist.

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Cooler temperatures, shorter days and colorful leaves are all a sign that fall has arrived in Illinois.

Illinois’ scenic byways are a great way to enjoy the fall, offering unparalleled views of changing tree canopies, wildlife sightseeing opportunities and other outdoor activities.

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American Gothic, by Grant WoodGood news: If you’re looking to travel and see priceless works of fine art, you don’t have to travel far. The Art Institute of Chicago may be just the ticket for you. The museum was recently awarded the title of No. 1 Art Museum in the world by

The Art Institute houses a world-class collection of artwork, ranging from antiquities to very modern pieces. The building is equally historic. And for those of you planning travel to Chicago, the museum is only closed three days out of the year: Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.

So the next time you are in the mood for a bit of art, remember: You don’t have to travel to Europe to see classic and modern art work. Your destination is right in your very own backyard.

Learn More:
See TripAdvisor’s full ratings.
Visit The Art Institute’s website.
Read all about it in the Chicago Tribune.

Salisbury folk artist George Colin

Illinois recently lost a treasure when 84-year-old folk artist Adolphe George Colin passed away. George and his wife Winnie spent many days in their Salisbury gallery surrounded by dozens of his works and countless personal mementos. Born in California, George’s family moved to Springfield when he was 7 years old. A Lanphier High School graduate, George worked at Pillsbury Mills for almost 30 years before quitting his day job to devote all his time to art.

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