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Get your Culture here: Six experiences to have in April 2022 : Culture : Smile Politely

April. The month when we truly begin to awaken from our Midwestern winter funk, and remember outside again. Could we have a snowstorm this month? Sure. But we can be fairly confident that by its conclusion, we can confidently proclaim that it is ACTUALLY spring, and rest in the knowledge that we will soon be complaining about the heat and humidity. Possibly because of this awakening, April is full – full I tell you – of a variety of experiences worth having in the outside world. I humbly offer up six suggestions for your consideration.





A close up of several wooden cube game pieces on a wooden board with squares. The cubes have different symbols on each side: X, O, triangle. Photo from CUDO Plays Facebook page.Photo from CUDO Plays Facebook page.

CUDO Plays Season 8 Grand Exhibition

The Champaign-Urbana Design Organization (CUDO) has been around for more than a decade, and while it began as a professional organization for graphic designers, it’s now become inclusive of anyone who loves art and design. President Justin Klett describes their current mission as “ bringing together artists, designers, and enthusiasts in a unifying network in the Champaign-Urbana area, and building a stronger community through the sharing of resources and information.” One arm of CUDO which embodies this mission is CUDO Plays, an annual board game design competition. The competition is a six month process, which culminates in a Grand Exhibition where the public is invited to try out all of the submitted games.

This year’s exhibition is happening April 9th ​​from 12 to 7 pm at Broadway Food Hall. You’ll find games appropriate for all ages, skill levels, and interests, and it’s free. Open gaming will occur from 12 to 5 pm, there will be a raffle at 3 pm, and an awards ceremony at 6 pm Plus, all of the delicious food options at BFH will be there for your dining needs.

Maybe you’ll be inspired to join in the game design fun next season!

A group of college students are gathered in a group. They are wearing white shirts that are covered in different colors of powder. They are throwing colored powder into the air. Photo from Facebook event page.Photo from Facebook event page.

Holi 2022

Celebrate the arrival of spring with the Indian festival of Holi on April 10th from 12 to 5 pm at the Arboretum. There will be food, music, and performances, in addition to the most important part of the celebration: throwing colored powder on the people around you. The colors are meant to “rreflect and represent this vibrant season.”

Every year, this event is hosted by the UIUC chapter of Asha for Education, an international organization that promotes basic education for underprivileged children in India. The event is open to all ages; children 6 and under are free, and general tickets are $15 online and $18 at the event. Wear a white shirt (that you don’t need to be white anymore), maybe some sunglasses or protective eyewear, and let your colors fly.

A close up of pink and white Sakura blossoms hanging on branches. There is blue sky peeking through the branches. Photo from Japan House Facebook page. Photo from Japan House Facebook page.

See the Sakura blossoms

Keep an eye on the Japan House Facebook and Instagram feeds, because it’s Sakura Watch time. The trees are budding, and once they bloom there is a short window to experience their magic. It’s a truly must-not-miss spring event.

A time-lapsed photo of people running with flashlights: Multicolored streaks of light through a grassy area at night. There are dark silhouettes of trees in the background. Photo from Champaign Park District Facebook page.Photo from Champaign Park District Facebook page.

Nite Lite Egg Pursuit

There are very few opportunities for grown up people to be able to relive treasured childhood experiences, but without actual children there. This is your chance! On April 15th at 8:10 pm sharp, you’ll be released into the egg hunting landscape at Hessel Park armed with only a flashlight, your cunning, and your speed. It might not hurt to pop those elbows out while you’re freeing yourself from the crowd (I’m not actually condoning violence, just – you know- offering some body positioning advice.

I have never attended this event, so I don’t know what sorts of prizes await you in each egg. If you want a shot at some bigger prize packages, you need to get your hands on the bronze, silver, or gold eggs. Register on site from 7:15 to 8 pm It’s $10 to participate, and you must be 18 years or older.

A graphic with a black background and pink triangle with the words United in Anger A History of ACT UP on one side, and a photo of a ground of people gathered together in protest. Some are holding signs in the air. Photo from Facebook event page . Photo from Facebook event page.

United in Anger

Spurlock Museum is hosting a dialogue on the film United in Anger: A History of ACT UP The Grassroots Movement to End the AIDS Crisis on April 14th at 7 pm in the Knight Auditorium. The documentary details the various actions taken by AIDS activists to make the US government, and the media, pay attention to the epidemic that was claiming lives of so many. The discussion will be led by Mike Benner, Executive Director of the Greater Community AIDS Project of East Central Illinois (GCAP); Jerry Carden, founder of the Gay Community AIDS Project; Susan Johnson, Care Coordinator for the Champaign Urbana Public Health District (CUPHD); and Julie A. Pryde, Administrator for the CUPHD. There will be a preview of the film shown at the event, but you should watch it beforehand. It’s available on Kanopy, and can be accessed with your Champaign or Urbana library card, or if you are affiliated with the U of I.

Also if you haven’t seen in yet, please make time to visit “Sewn in Memory”, an exhibit featuring AIDS quilt pieces made for Central Illinois men who lost their lives to AIDS-related illness.

A narrow dirt trail, framed by tall prairie grasses that bend over and touch. The trail opens to a grassy meadow. Photo by Sam Logan.Photo by Sam Logan.

Earth Day for Everyone

Celebrate Earth Day in one of C-U’s beloved natural spaces, Meadowbrook Park. From 1 to 4 pm, on April 23rd, there will be a plethora of ways to recognize the day. There will be live music, the Piato food truck, kite flying, nature art, milkweed planting, insect finding, and much more. Find all of the details at the Urbana Park District website.

Top photo from Japan House Facebook page.

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