WIUM Tristates Public Radio

The Trickledown Effect of State Budget Cuts

Jun 9, 2015

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner told state museums to be prepared to close their doors.  If that happens, a long-running concert series in west central Illinois will need to find a new home.

The Hickory Ridge Concert Series last fall celebrated its 20th anniversary at Dickson Mounds Museum in Lewistown.  But Dickson Mounds is one of the museums that might be forced to close, at least temporarily.  Hickory Ridge Producer Chris Vallillo is disappointed with the governor’s plan.

“I simply cannot conceive of anyone shutting down the Illinois state museum system as any logical or reasonable thing to do,” he said.

The June 20 show by Max and Ruth Bloomquist might be the final Hickory Ridge Concert Series performance at Dickson Mounds Museum -- at least for a while.

Vallillo said the June 20 concert featuring Max and Ruth Bloomquist will be held at Dickson Mounds as scheduled.  But he said he’s been told to plan on holding concerts after that at a different venue. 

“It’s my intention to keep the series going,” Vallillo said.  He’s still exploring options, though he hoped to eventually return the series to the 140 seat auditorium at Dickson Mounds.

“Working with them (Dickson Mounds) has been a privilege and they are absolute professionals.”

Vallillo also called Dickson Mounds one of the greatest cultural resources in this part of the state.  He said a “Tunes for Tots” program he hosted at the museum last week drew school children from throughout the region.

“One woman from Peoria said, ‘There’s nothing like this that we can take our kids to even in Peoria,’” said Vallillo. 

“So it’s this wonderful place.  It’s not this depository of artifacts. It’s actually a cultural center for west central Illinois.”