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

April. The month when we really start to wake up from our midwestern winter funk and remember the outdoors again. Could we have a snow storm this month? Sure. But we can be pretty confident that by its conclusion, we can confidently proclaim that it REALLY is spring, and rest easy knowing we’ll soon be complaining about the heat and humidity. Perhaps 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 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 the big show in season 8

the Champaign-Urbana Design Organization (CUDO) has been around for over a decade, and although it started out as a professional organization for graphic designers, it has now become inclusive of anyone who loves art and design. President Justin Klett describes their current mission as “bringing together artists, designers, and enthusiasts into a unifying network in the Champaign-Urbana region, and building a stronger community through the sharing of resources and information.” One branch of CUDO that embodies this mission is CUDO Plays, an annual board game design competition. The contest is a six-month process, culminating in a grand exhibition where the public is invited to try all submitted games.

This year’s show runs April 9 from noon to 7 p.m. at the Broadway Food Hall. You’ll find games suitable for all ages, skill levels and interests, and that’s free. Open games will take place from noon to 5 p.m., there will be a draw at 3 p.m. and an awards ceremony at 6 p.m. Plus, all of BFH’s delicious dining options will be there for your culinary needs.

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

A group of students are gathered in a group.  They wear white shirts covered in different colors of powder.  They throw colored powder in the air.  Photo from the Facebook event page.Photo from the Facebook event page.

Holi 2022

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

Every year, this event is organized 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 (which you don’t have to be white anymore), maybe sunglasses or goggles, and let your colors fly.

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

See sakura blossoms

Keep an eye on Japan House’s Facebook and Instagram feeds, because it’s Sakura Watch time. Trees are budding, and once they bloom, there’s a short window to experience their magic. This is a spring event not to be missed.

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

Nite Lite Egg Pursuit

There are very few opportunities for adults to relive precious childhood experiences, but without real children. This is your chance! On April 15 at 8:10 p.m. sharp, you’ll be released into the egg-hunting landscape of Hessel Park armed only with a flashlight, your cunning, and your speed. It might not hurt to get those elbows out while you free yourself from the crowd (I don’t really condone violence, I’m just offering – you know – some body positioning tips.

I’ve never attended this event, so I don’t know what sort of prizes await you in each egg. If you want to try your luck with bigger packages, you need to get your hands on the Bronze, Silver, or Gold Eggs. Register on site from 7:15 p.m. to 8 p.m. It’s $10 to enter and you must be 18 or older.

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

United in anger

The Spurlock Museum hosts a dialogue about the film United in Anger: An ACT UP Story Jhe grassroots movement to end the AIDS crisis April 14 at 7 p.m. at the Knight Auditorium. The documentary details the various actions taken by AIDS activists to get the US government and the media to pay attention to the epidemic that was claiming the lives of so many people. 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, CUPHD Administrator. There will be a preview of the film shown at the event, but you should watch it beforehand. It’s available on Kanopy, and accessible with your Champaign or Urbana library card, or if you’re affiliated with the U of I.

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

A narrow dirt trail, framed by tall prairie grass that bends and touches.  The path leads to a grassy meadow.  Photo by Sam Logan.Photo by Sam Logan.

Earth day for all

Celebrate Earth Day at one of CU’s beloved natural spaces, Meadowbrook Park. From 1 to 4 p.m. on April 23, there will be plenty of ways to mark the day. There will be live music, the Piato food truck, kite flying, nature art, milkweed planting, insect discovery and much more. Find all the details on the Urbana Park District website.

Photo from the top of the Japan House Facebook page.