Rock Island native advances to Australian Open semifinalsMadison Keys, a 19 year-old tennis player native to Rock Island, Illinois, advanced to the Grand Slam semifinals at the Australian Open yesterday after beating legendary tennis player Venus Williams.

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Illinois artist of the month: Hannah K. FreemanBalancing society’s need and desire for man-made products with limited natural resources is the regular theme Illinois artist Hannah K. Freeman employs in her work. Freeman, born in Jacksonville, makes time for creating oil paintings while working as an instructor in graphic design at Eastern Illinois University. She disputes any notion that opportunities for artists exist primarily in cities, finding calls for artwork for exhibitions come from Illinois towns of all sizes, statewide.

 

 

ILI: How long have you been an artist or when did you start? Was there a single incident or moment when you realized this was your passion and if so, tell us about it?

FREEMAN: Without a doubt, I was born an artist. While other children were into video games and television shows, I spent my childhood drawing on everything in sight – walls, Kleenex boxes, couches; nothing was sacred. I would spend hours locked in my room handcrafting cards for friends and family and posters and signs for holidays and special events. I was the kid who carefully crafted a handmade valentine for each classmate and loved every minute.

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annabelle-volgman

It’s a sad fact that more women die from heart disease than men. Dr. Annabelle Volgman of Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center has dedicated her career to changing that reality.

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William Crook Jr.A young Bill Crook left Illinois to travel around the country, then returned home to Springfield to begin a career as an artist. His love for his home state has inspired much of his work, including drawings of the state capitol, Lincoln’s home and historic sites throughout the state. He continues to document the life and times of Illinois. Read on to learn more about Mr. Crook and see more of his artwork on his website.

 

 

 

ILI: How long have you been an artist or when did you start? Was there a single incident or moment when you realized this was your passion and if so, tell us about it?
CROOK: I've been doing pen and ink drawings for about 43 years. I began when I was a design student at University of Illinois in Urbana, and was inspired by the so-called underground comics movement of the '60s and 70s, especially the work of Robert Crumb. I had work published in a number of small press publications, but unfortunately the pay was non-existent. This was during the Vietnam War, and I dropped out of college, hitch-hiked to Mexico and camped on a Pacific beach at Tenacatita Bay. It was there, experiencing the overwhelming beauty of the land and the sea, that I decided to be an artist.

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operation-spinello

John Spinello of Bloomingdale may not be a household name, but his invention is a happy memory for millions: the ‘Operation’ game.

Spinello, a native of Chicago’s west side, was a sophomore at the University of Illinois in 1962 when an industrial design assignment resulted in the prototype for the game many of us remember for its funny bone, bread basket and a startling buzz for a wrong move.

He sold the invention in 1964 for $500. While he never made another dime on the game, he and his wife and children have had a good life. Enjoyment watching generations of children delight at the game, however, doesn’t pay the bills, and Spinello finds himself in need of a $25,000 operation of his own. Toymaker friends and fans of the game initiated a crowdfund website to help pay for his oral surgery as an expression of gratitude for his creation of an iconic family game.

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