The Parkland College Blog

Kaler Science Lecture Series Tackles Energy Storage Solutions

Parkland Planetarium Hosts Kaler Science Lecture Series, April 1

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This April's James B. Kaler Science Lecture at the William M. Staerkel Planetarium at Parkland College will discuss batteries and energy storage.

On Friday, April 1 at 6:30 p.m., University of Illinois associate professor of chemistry Dr. Joaquín Rodríguez-López, will present "Thinking Big About Batteries: A Solution for Energy Storage." Kaler Lecture tickets are $2 or free for Friends of the Staerkel Planetarium.

Rodríguez-López's research group explores new strategies to advance renewable electrochemical energy technologies and environmental sensing. They analyze electrode properties at micro- and nano-scales to improve the performance of nanomaterials and interfaces for batteries, electrocatalysts, and sensors for detecting pollutants, in order to make technology more sustainable.

Rodríguez-López earned his bachelor's degree at Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico, and his doctorate at the University of Texas at Austin. He performed postdoctoral research at Cornell University before joining the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has earned several awards and fellowships for his work and is now a J. Andrew and Susan S. Langan Professorial Scholar.

Kaler Science lectures are filmed by Parkland College TV for later viewing. After the talk, the seats will be cleaned before the 8 p.m. show, "Big Astronomy: People, Places, Discoveries," a program highlighting the staff who work with Chile's world-class observatories and telescopes.

Admission to fulldome shows is $6 for adults or $5 for children, students, or seniors. Please visit for the show schedule or call 217/351-2568 for information about booking the dome.

Celebrate the Arts: Youth Art Contest Announces Winners for 2022

Congratulations to the winners of the second annual Youth Arts Contest!

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Community Education and Giertz Gallery are thrilled to announce the winners for the second annual Celebrate the Arts! Youth Art Contest.

Student entries were featured in an online awards ceremony on March 8, during which placements and honorable mentions were named. First place winners (out of over 80 participants) in the three age categories received a full scholarship to a Parkland summer camp.

Entries were judged by Tanya Scott, curator of education for the University Galleries at Illinois State University; and Matthew Watt, professor of Art and Design at Parkland College.

Congratulations to our winners, and to all the wonderful young artists who continue to inspire us with their talent and creativity!


Ages 7-10:

  1. Emma Lan, “Rooster & Hen Family,” Chinese brush painting

  2. Faith To, “A Rainy Day,” painting

  3. Max Cajavilca, “Bear and the Girl,” drawing

  4. Honorable mention: Avery Anderson, “Flowers,” collage; Walker Chapman, “Mountain Top,” painting; Emma Emry, “Untitled Cat,” painting; Chloe Lee, “Under the Full Moon,” painting; Adela Pena Martin, “A sunset of feelings,” drawing; April Yu, “The Classic of Mountains and Seas-Dijiang,” drawing






Ages 11-13:

  1. Grace Pierce, “Blueberry Pie,” ceramics

  2. Lily Jones, “Pink Dream,” painting

  3. Eireann Byard, “Eco-business park,” drawing

  4. Honorable mention: Matthew Gray, “Falcon,” sculpture; Adrian Schneider, “Rose and Thorn,” digital; Kylah Sparks, “Worm in Apple,” ceramics; Addison Townsend, “Cat Conversation,” photography








Ages 14-18:

  1. Sylvie Leyerle, “Finding Place,” painting

  2. Tracy Li, “Yellow Girls,” painting

  3. Amelia Case, “Two Eleven,” painting

  4. Honorable mention: Honora Hoey, “Implied World,” collage; Grace Kahler, “Spiral,” photography; Joshua Pierce, “Summer Peace,” oil painting; Erin Shin, “The Truth We Hide,” painting; Jeana To, “Self Portraits in Quarantine,” drawing

Staerkel Planetarium to Present Birdwatching Lecture

Parkland Planetarium Hosts Local Birdwatcher, Jeffrey Bryant

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Local avian enthusiasts are invited to join the William M. Staerkel Planetarium at Parkland College for a lecture on birdwatching.

On Wednesday, March 9 at 7 p.m., Jeffrey Bryant will present "Birds: It's Not About What but Where." Tickets are $2 or free for Friends of the Staerkel Planetarium.

Bryant, an avid birder, visits several locations around east central Illinois to observe and photograph various species. For this lecture, planetarium producer and Bryant's wife Waylena McCully will present hundreds of his photos on the dome, along with bird's-eye views of the terrain where the photos were taken. Attendees may recognize several parks and preserves around Champaign County and other nearby locations.

Bryant earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in physics at Ball State University, researching variable star systems. As part of his work for Wolfram Research, he composes blog posts about visualizations of astronomical phenomena using the Wolfram Language.

Please visit for the show schedule or call 217/351-2568 for information about booking the dome.

Musical Ensembles at Parkland College Offer Free Spring Concerts

Parkland Music Ensembles Free Spring Concerts, March 5 and 6

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Parkland College's music ensembles continue to provide free concerts with live performances in the Harold and Jean Miner Theatre.

Saturday, March 5 at 3 p.m.
"Hands Across the Sea" A Joint Concert by the Guitar Ensemble and Concert Band

The Parkland Concert Band, directed by Dr. Matthew Dixon, will perform "Hands Across the Sea" by John Philip Sousa; "English Folk Song Suite" by Ralph Vaughan Williams; "Knightsbridge March" by Eric Coates, arranged by John Cacavas; and "Appalachian Spring" by Aaron Copland, arranged by Robert Longfield.

Director Dr. Young Kim will lead the Guitar Ensemble in performing "Sinfonia No. 3" by Johann Sebastian Bach; "Guacho" by Chiquinha Gonzaga; "Summer on Broad Street" by Georgia Nettleton; and "Fly Me to the Moon" by Bart Howard, among others.

Sunday, March 6 at 3 p.m.
"The Approaching Spring" A Joint Concert by the Parkland Orchestra, Wind, and Guitar Ensembles

The Parkland Orchestra, directed by Dr. Rodney Mueller, will perform "Academic Festival Overture Op. 80" by Johannes Brahms, arranged by Carl Simpson; "Dance of the Hours" from La Gioconda, by Amilcare Ponchielli; "Waltz from Swan Lake" by Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky; and "Symphonic Dances from Fiddler on the Roof" by Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock, arranged by Ira Hearshen.

Parkland's Wind Ensemble, directed by Dr. Jonathan Beckett, will present Themes Like Old Times, a medley of old-time familiar songs; "Rondo from Concerto No. 1, Op. 11" by Richard Strauss; selections from the hit show My Fair Lady; and a musical tribute to Amelia Earhart.

The Parkland Chamber Singers, directed by Dr. Franklin Gallo, will perform "Arise, Beloved!" by Rosephanye Powell; "Ave Verum" by William Byrd; "Bring Me Little Water, Silvy" by Huddie Ledbetter, arranged by Adam Podd; and "Nyon Nyon" by Jake Runestad.

Giertz Gallery to Host "Better Angels: Work by Steven Hudson"

Giertz Gallery Presents "Better Angels: Work by Steven Hudson"

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"Better Angels: Work by Steven Hudson," featuring art by Champaign-based artist Steven Hudson, opens February 14 at Giertz Gallery at Parkland College.

The exhibit, which includes paintings, drawings, and sculpture by Hudson, will run through March 29. An artist's reception will be held on Thursday, February 17 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. featuring live music by the Cobra Lounge Trio. Hudson will present a gallery talk at 6:15 pm. An additional artist lecture will take place on Wednesday, March 2 at 2:30 p.m. on Zoom.

The exhibit, reception, and lecture are free and open to the public. Please register for online events at

"We are delighted to exhibit Steven Hudson's artwork," says Giertz Gallery director Lisa Costello. "He is a local artist with national stature, and we are fortunate to have the opportunity for a solo exhibition. His art deals with existential questions that we all struggle with, and through his inclusion of simple and iconic symbols of mass-produced and disposable objects, the work resonates more profoundly–we can identify with his figures and their predicament."

Hudson records a sometimes beautiful but always melancholy portrait of human vulnerability in the epic tradition of oil painting. His work foreshadows our current environmental annihilation, and his narratives offer stories of survival and transcendence amongst the familiar debris of our time. Navigating the space of an unspecified cataclysm, he creates a twilight time that is far removed from the clutter and pace of our existence.

"I paint, draw, and make sculpture and installation art in a rigorous representational manner that is heavily informed by the academic traditions in figurative art," Hudson says. "I do this because it is the kind of work that I admire most, and because it invokes the centuries-long history of painting. I make artworks that explore the humblest gestures, exposing the fragility of our own day-to-day lived moments."

Hudson is a teaching associate professor in The School of Art and Design at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He holds a BFA from Southeastern Massachusetts University and an MFA from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. His artwork has been reviewed nationally and internationally, including ARTnews, New American Paintings, and the Chicago Tribune. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the National Endowment for the Arts/Arts Midwest Individual Artist Grant and the Illinois Arts Council Fellowship Individual Artist Grant.

Gallery hours are Monday through Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday, noon to 2 p.m.

In compliance with state pandemic mandates, Parkland College has restricted access entryways and door checkers stationed at entrances. For Giertz Gallery, we suggest using the M1 parking lot on the north corner of campus. Enter through the M1 door and follow the gallery signage. The gallery is located in the north side of the X-wing and overlooks the outdoor fountain area.

Giertz Gallery acknowledges support from the Illinois Arts Council Agency. Parkland College is a section 504/ADA-compliant institution; for accommodation, call 217/351-2505 or email

For more information about the exhibit or the gallery, please visit or call the gallery office at 217/351-2485.

[Image: "Hotspot", oil and mixed media on canvas, 60x80 in, 2022]