Crossroads Cultural Connections was recently named by Illinois Humanities as one of 27 organizations across the state to receive a $10,000 Foreground Rural Initiative grant. This first-of-its-kind program is dedicated to supporting the arts and humanities in rural and small towns in Illinois. Illinois Humanities will also partner with grantees on the co-creation of place-based “hubs” that will host community programming in 2023 in the regions where they are located.

Crossroads Cultural Connections is a nonprofit dedicated to bringing the transformative power of music and the arts to Henry County, Illinois and the surrounding area. Crossroads provides opportunities to experience live music and the arts in a variety of ways, including its two main programs, the visiting artist school program and concerts. Its goal is to add cultural, social, and economic vitality for decades to come.

The organization launched its first programming at the beginning of 2022 and by the end of the year will have completed seven visiting artist school programs, five of which have already completed and reached approximately 4,500 students, teachers and family members of students in the county. The organization has also hosted four free concerts in addition to the concerts that accompanied school visits, the Sunday Getaway Concerts and the regular suggested donation concerts this year. In its first year, Crossroads will have hosted and/or partnered on 89 public events and will have brought over $25,000 of outside dollars in the form of grants into Henry County.

“While we are proud of the work we have done, there is much room for growth and improvement as we continue to strive to increase our impact while making the efforts sustainable indefinitely,” says John Taylor, president of Crossroads Cultural Connections. “In the short term we have equipment that needs to be purchased. Looking further into the future, we would like to work towards raising enough funds to make as many of the events as possible free, while still being able to pay artists a living wage.”

For a calendar of upcoming events, to volunteer and for more information, click here.