Eastern Illinois University will celebrate the formal rededication of the newly expanded and renovated Doudna Fine Arts Center next weekend with the help of three Illinois arts legends. The celebration, to take place Oct. 24-26, will include the dedication of a major sculpture by Ruth Duckworth, a concert by legendary gospel and soul great Mavis Staples, and comedy by the venerable comedy troupe Second City.
The weekend will also include several other special events and performances.
Events begin at 11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 24, with the dedication of Duckworth's major bronze sculpture “Attendant Spirit" at the north entrance. Duckworth is a world-renowned Modernist sculptor whose work has been shown at the Smithsonian and on CBS's "Sunday Morning."
That evening, gospel and soul great Staples will present the rededication concert at 7:30 p.m. in Dvorak Concert Hall. Staples rose to fame as part of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's Staple Singers in the 1960s ("I'll Take You There," "Respect Yourself") and has gone on to a critically acclaimed solo career.
According to a Chicago Tribune review of a recent Staples performance, she "sang with a voice that has long distinguished her from the R&B greats of her era and those who reach for that crown today.” Rolling Stone magazine recently proclaimed, “Mavis Staples is the most underrated diva of the century. She has an almost superhuman ability to implant the pure power of passion and emotion."
Second City -- known for helping to launch the careers of comedy greats including John Belushi, Bill Murray, Mike Myers and Stephen Colbert -- will perform “The Pratfall of Civilization" at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25 in The Theatre.
The rededication ceremony of the Doudna Fine Arts Center, set for 2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 24, on the south side of the building, will include comments by Antoine Predock, the internationally acclaimed architect who designed the center.
Predock will also speak at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25, in the Lecture Hall. Predock is the 2006 recipient of the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal for Lifetime Achievement and the 2007 Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum's Gold Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Design.
Charleston native Krin Gabbard will present a reading from his latest book, "Hotter Than That: The Trumpet, Jazz, and American Culture," at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 25 in the Lecture Hall. A question-and-answer period and book-signing will follow. Gabbard -- the son of two long-time Eastern faculty members, the late Glendon “Gabby” Gabbard and the late Lucy Gabbard -- is a professor of comparative literature and English at Stony Brook University.
A campus and community open house will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25. Tours will be available, and children's activities are planned.
The rededication celebration will conclude at 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 26, with a showcase concert of major ensembles from the EIU music department to rededicate the center’s Dvorak Concert Hall.
All events are free, and the public is invited. However, due to limited seating, free tickets are required to attend the Staples concert, Second City performance, and Dvorak rededication concert. To obtain these free tickets, contact the Doudna Box Office at 217-581-3110 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Doudna is located one block west of Ninth Street at Garfield Avenue on the EIU campus.
The building contains five public venues -- the Dvorak Concert Hall, The Theatre, the Black Box studio theatre, a recital hall and a lecture hall -- and also houses EIU's departments of art, music and theatre arts, as well as the office of the dean of the College of Arts and Humanities.
The Doudna Fine Arts Center offers a full array of arts programming and special activities for area schools. Programming includes the New and Emerging Artists Series, other series and performances, lectures, exhibitions and related events. A division of the EIU College of Arts and Humanities, the Doudna Fine Arts Center’s public arts programs are funded by the New and Emerging Artists Series, the Excellence in Fine Arts Fund, and by the departments and other patrons as listed.