Daniel BurnhamChicago is known for its location right on Lake Michigan, but have you ever wondered how its lakeshore became such an important aspect of the city? Architect Daniel Burnham is to thank for that.

Burnham was born in Henderson, New York in 1846 and moved to Chicago when he was 8 years old. While he was never good at school, he always had a knack for drawing. At age 18, he moved back east for his studies but failed to pass admissions exams for Harvard and Yale, pushing him to move back to Chicago at age 21. It was there where he started his career as an architect at the Loring & Jenney architectural firm.

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This past week, former Notre Dame and University of Illinois basketball player Brian Randle of Peoria was hired as an assistant coach for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Last year, at the age of 35, Randle was promoted to development coach for the Minnesota Timberwolves, and will now work with NBA’s recently named top coach Monty Williams at the Suns.

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Did you know actress and singer Jennifer Hudson was born on Sept. 12, 1981? Born and raised in Chicago, as a young girl she sang in her church choir, which started her love for singing and performing. Later, in 1999, she graduated from Dunbar Vocational Career Academy in Bronzeville.

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Eliza Von Zerneck is a freelance illustrator and designer from Peoria. Her favorite medium to work in is acrylic paint. When her residency at the Prairie Center of the Arts was put on pause because of COVID-19, she found new ways to create art in her own home. Lately, she has been using scraps from my mom’s fabric trunk to make patchwork illustrations and soft sculpture pieces.

How long have you been an artist or when did you start?

I’ve been a fan of art much longer than I’ve been an artist. I scribbled with crayons and markers during school just like everyone else, and I loved being praised for my drawings by my teachers, but the real seeds were planted in the evenings when my parents would read me picture books. I couldn’t fathom how someone could create those intricate illustrations, but I loved looking at them while my mom read the words out loud.

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Michelle Smith is a Springfield, Illinois artist. Smith recently won a The Ralph Lauren Design for good Polo shirt. Her design on the iconic polo can be viewed and purchased here: https://rlauren.co/2ZW0pse

What does being able to live and work in Illinois mean to you? As Illinois is all I really know, it has always been, and always will be home. I am very proud to be able to say, not only do I live and work in Illinois but I am born, raised, educated and STILL in Illinois!

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