With all of the election stress this week, we could all use some GOOD news, am I right?

And every month, we at QuadCities.com, along with our media partners at KWQC-TV6’s “Paula Sands Live,” present What’s The Good News, a look at some of the awesome people and positive news happening around the area!

So, what’s the good news for November? Here ya go…

Quad City Arts Visiting Artist Series Takes On An Online Educational Tone

Quad City Arts has launched its new collection of online educational materials for the 47th-annual Visiting Artist Series that’s designed to help people during this time of remote learning and home schooling.

The site, https://www.quadcityarts.com/vas-educational-resources.html, offers exclusive content from a wide variety professional artists and ensembles, such as ballet fusion company Hiplet, pianist Barron Ryan, steel pan artist John Patti, Mexican folk/rock quartet Jarabe Mexicano, and National Players theatre company.

Their contributions include brief demonstration videos, study guides, workshop-style videos, and more. This collection of resources replaces the traditional in-person educational residency activities for this fall and spring 2021.

​Access to the Educational Resources site is free and open to teachers, parents, and other educators looking for supplementary arts materials and content, Margot Day, performing arts director for Quad City Arts, said this week.

“It was really a huge team effort and a lot of experimentation, doing new work, just because you’ve got to…We’ve got to,” she said. Two of the

The home page for the new Visiting Artist Series Educational Resources page.

previously scheduled artists last spring (concluding the 2019-20 school year) had to be canceled because of Covid, and they are among the ones featured on the new site – John Patti and Harabe Mexicano.

“We decided to include them, to tide them over until hopefully they can see us in person in the future,” Day said. The videos on the site were made for the series, and are in shorter segments than a typical in-person visit.

“We were really specific about what we wanted – we wanted to make sure it was educational, and it was pretty brief so it fits in with the new condensed schedule for teachers,” Day said. She asked for three videos under 10 minutes each (usually 5-8 minutes).

And she asked for two supporting educational documents or study guides. People who use the site (including homeschooling parents) have to register for free.

“Everything on the site right now is meant for students, meant for an educational purpose,” Day said.

In the last two years, she’s asked for more educational materials from artists, including biographies and study guides.

“The primary focus has always been the performances,” Day said. “Now it’s really flipped because if you’ve got a study guide piece that looks really empty, it’s not engaging, it really does stand out because that’s what you see first. The videos are meant to be complementary, but we don’t have a way to have them on the screen at the same time.”

What they normally have is a 45-minute, in-person performance and engagement with students, and now they had to have something captivating and engaging in 5 to 8 minutes, she said.

“Everything we asked for is nothing we anticipated asking for,” Day said. “This is all new.”

Quad City Symphony Switches To Virtual For Rest of 2020 Shows

Because of increasing cases of Covid-19 in the area, the Quad City Symphony Orchestra is switching to all-digital concerts for the remainder of November and December.

Brian Baxter is executive director of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra.

Orchestra executive director Brian Baxter said their coronavirus task force has been closely monitoring the local Covid epidemic and reviewing guidance from government authorities at the federal, state, and local levels.

“We’ve been consulting with the Scott County Health Department since this whole thing began, to try to make sure we’re following best practices, doing the right thing – both for our own musicians and staff, as well as our patrons, to try and make things as safe as possible,” he said Tuesday.

The affected QCSO concerts, which will be presented all online, include:

  • Masterworks II: Beethoven Violin Concerto | November 7 & 8
  • Masterworks III: Beethoven Symphony No. 3 | December 5 & 6
  • WVIK/QCSO Signature Series II: Holiday Brass | December 12 & 13

For Masterworks, the reduced-size orchestra will perform Saturday night from the Adler Theatre (with no audience) and the recorded concert will premiere at 2 p.m. Sunday, with digital access available for 30 days.

The Holiday Brass will be livestreamed from Central DeWitt Performing Arts Center on Saturday, Dec. 12, then be available for digital access starting Sunday, Dec. 13 for 30 days. That ensemble has about 15 players, Baxter said.

Figge Asking People To Adopt A Painting

The public is invited to be a part of the Figge Art Museum’s next major exhibition, For America: 200 Years of Painting from the National Academy of Design, opening Feb. 20, 2021.

Drawn from the collections of the National Academy of Design in New York, over 90 works made between 1810 and 2013 by historical and

The Figge Art Museum is at 225 W. 2nd St., Davenport.

contemporary masters such as Winslow Homer, William Merritt Chase, John Singer Sargent, Andrew Wyeth, Jaune Quick-to-See-Smith, Charles White, Jane Freilicher, Hank Willis Thomas, and many others will be available for adoption as part of the Figge’s “Adopt-a-Painting” initiative.

Adopters will receive an adoption certificate and be listed on a label next to the adopted work at the Figge Art Museum from Feb. 20 to May 16, 2021.

“This is an opportunity to have your name alongside some of the most prominent artists in American history,” said director of development Sara Volz. “Adoptions support the travel of the works to our community and allow adopters to showcase their support in an unprecedented way.”

For America: 200 Years of Painting from the National Academy of Design will be the second exhibition made possible by the Figge’s Major Exhibitions Endowment, which allows the museum to bring a major exhibition to the community every other year. The exhibition features representative works and portraits given to the Academy by some of the most recognizable names in American art and presents a unique history of American art through the lens of the Academy, exploring ways in which artists have represented themselves and their country.

RIMF Foundation Helping To Fund Internet Access To Students

The Rock Island-Milan Education Foundation (RIMEF) Board of Directors has awarded $40,277.66 to fund internet access for Digital Equity in the Rock Island-Milan School District (RIMSD) over a period of 3 years. The vote was made at the RIMEF’s board meeting last Thursday after a presentation from RIMSD IT Director, Troy Bevans. Mr. Bevans stated the goal for the District’s technology is a sustainable approach reaching beyond the current COVID-19 crisis. The RIMEF’s funds will provide 26 indoor/outdoor antennas and 3 years of internet service for 28 Cradlepoint cellular routers currently placed throughout Rock Island and Milan. This technology is part of the District’s ROCKfi (Reaching Our Community’s Kids with fidelity) network allowing any RIMSD student to connect through their district-issued Chromebook or personal device.

Support of the Digital Equity program is made possible through two $5,000 grants from the Doris and Victor Day Foundation and the Rock Island Community Foundation. Another $2,000 grant was received from the Rauch Family Foundation. The total from these great charitable organizations was added to over $6,000 the RIMEF received from its targeted Birdies for Charity appeal and $28,000 from the RIMEF’s annual distribution. “The Rock Island-Milan Education Foundation is very grateful to our generous donors. Their contributions have allowed us to help our students and their families during this difficult time,” said an appreciative John Phillips, RIMEF Board President.

In 2019, the Rock Island-Milan Education Foundation provided over $300,000 to the Rock Island-Milan School District and its students in the form of teacher grants, programs, and scholarships. Last Spring the RIMEF awarded $90,000 in scholarships to the Class of 2020 and has recently awarded another $58,000 in PRIME Grants to RIMSD teachers and administration to provide programs and tools to assist with remote learning.

To Bee Or Not To Bee

The sting of a single bee has elevated the graduate school project of a Western Illinois University alumnus into a home for an endangered species.

Ross Smith received his master’s degree in Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration (RPTA) in 2018. For his final project, Smith transformed two underutilized baseball diamonds in Hampton, IL, into a prairie area for the Rock Island County Forest Preserve District, where he has been employed since 2015.

“The baseball diamonds were underutilized, compared to neighboring diamonds and with the Dorrance Forest Preserve hosting diamonds, and grant funding available, it was a no-brainer,” said Smith. “We did a multi-year count of the number of users and the county board approved the new use for the property. This went hand-in-hand with the project I needed to complete to graduate.”

The Illiniwek Forest Preserve Project was created through this process and, in mid-August, the site became one of just a few nationwide to boast sightings of the endangered Rusty Patched Bumble Bee. The sighting was confirmed by an entomologist at Black Hawk College in Moline, IL. The species was added to the Endangered Species list in 2017 and was the first bumble bee in North America to find protection under the Act.

“The bee has a small, little rusty patch on its abdomen, below its wings,” said Smith, a Perry, IL, native. “We put signage about it on our trails so people know to watch for it.”

For more information about WIU’s RPTA program, visit wiu.edu/RPTA.

A Beautifull Award For A Beautifull Project

Moline’s Sarah Stevens has gotten a Beautifull Award for a Beautifull Project.

Stevens was awarded a $10,000 Nation of Neighbors grant by Royal Neighbors of America (RNA).

Founder of The Beautifull Project (TBP) in 2018, Stevens works as an online curator and author of content that encourages women of all body types, ages, and ethnicities to embrace their bodies and to live more confidently, freely, and fully in them.

“Too often, as women and young girls, we hear messages that we’re not good enough,” Linda Wastyn, an RNA chapter leader who nominated Stevens, said Monday in a virtual award presentation. “We’re too smart, too aggressive, we’re too quiet, too big, too little. Too few people take the reins to do something about that, and change how society talks about women.”

“Sarah’s one that has taken the reins and says, stop, this isn’t good,” she said. “She’s sharing stories of women who have said no, I’m not going to listen to what society says about me. I’m good as I am. This award will allow her to take that to the next step, to educate, make a difference in our society.”

TBP – centered on thebeautifullproject.com — has grown into a multimedia platform that showcases the stories of women who navigate the world in diverse bodies, through diverse life circumstances, with diverse world views. Many of these women are faced with the challenge that the world often expects them to shrink in order to fit in. TBP encourages them to take up space instead.

“This gift is truly transformational for a project of this size, making possible things that were impossible just a few short weeks ago. I am both honored, and still a little shocked,” Stevens said of the Nation of Neighbors grant.

“When I started talking to women about their relationship with their bodies, I never imagined we would be in a position to expand,” she said. “This gift will allow me to give any woman who wants to come along for the journey the tools to find her way back to believing in herself. That is powerful, and I am so deeply grateful. It will help us create a world where every body belongs.”

Birdies For Charity Raises Over $12 Million For Local Charities

Despite the PGA Tour 2020 John Deere Classic being canceled this summer due to Covid concerns, it helped raise $12.22 million for 465 local and regional charities, through the annual Birdies for Charity program.

Tournament officials Friday also announced that each participating charity will receive a 5-percent bonus in addition to the money raised

Even without an actual golf tournament, the Birdies program raised over $12 million this year.

through the Birdies for Charity program.

This year, because of Covid-19 protocols, all checks will be mailed to participating charities. There will be no in-person check pickups.

“Thanks to the incredible ongoing generosity of individuals, companies and family foundations, the John Deere Classic is pleased to announce that despite cancelation of the tournament we were able to raise $12.22 million, including a five percent bonus, for 465 deserving charities,” said JDC tournament director Clair Peterson.

“In particular, Deere & Company and the John Deere Foundation played leading roles in helping us maintain the charitable impact the tournament has on the community.”

The $12.22 million figure is the fourth-largest donation amount in tournament history, according to tournament records. Last year, $13.8

JDC tournament director Clair Peterson.

million was raised for 542 charities.

In the 2019 tournament, players recorded 2,091 birdies from Wednesday through Sunday during the John Deere Classic pro-am and tournament rounds at TPC Deere Run in Silvis. Individuals who pledged a penny per birdie would donate $20.91 to their designated charity or charities. Other individuals, foundations and institutions donated lump sums.

With the 2020 donations, the John Deere Classic now has helped raise a total of $133.1 million for charity since the tournament began in 1971, with $130.54 million – 98 percent – coming since John Deere assumed title sponsorship in 1998.

The $12.22 million total works out to $32.58 for each of the Quad-Cities’ 375,000 residents, again making the John Deere Classic the No. 1 in per capita contributions on the regular PGA Tour, a distinction it has had for over a decade.

WIU Continues Its Food Pantry Through Nov. 18

The Western Illinois University Food Pantry will continue implementing the appointment-only system through the remainder of in-person classes on campus, through Wednesday, Nov.18. The Pantry is now located in Horrabin Hall, room 10.

The appointment form, located here will be re-used every week to fill out an appointment time. There will not be a weekly form. An appointment must be made to visit the WIU Food Pantry.

Patrons are asked to fill this form out in advance of Thursdays or Saturdays. The Pantry hours are Thursdays noon-5 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m.-noon.

Social distancing and facial coverings are required to visit the Pantry.

Questions or concerns can be directed cv-hendrickson@wiu.edu, bn-vantine@wiu.edu or d-buchanan2@wiu.edu.

Advertisement

Sean Leary is an author, director, artist, musician, producer and entrepreneur who has been writing professionally since debuting at age 11 in the pages of the Comics Buyers Guide. An honors graduate of the University of Southern California masters program, he has written over 50 books including the best-sellers The Arimathean, Every Number is Lucky to Someone and We Are All Characters.