NORMAL — Illinois State University offers artistic and cultural events to enliven this holiday season. Performances of holiday-themed music, an exploration of the winter night skies, and an historic mansion decorated for the season are all on the calendar in December.  

Illinois State’s annual Music for the Holidays concerts will be held at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Dec. 2 and at 3 p.m. Dec. 3, in the university’s Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are $15 for general admission, $12 for faculty/staff and $10 for students and seniors.

The annual Music for the Holidays concerts will feature traditional holiday music performed by instrumental and vocal ensembles from Illinois State’s School of Music. Tickets can be purchased at the College of Fine Arts box office, located in the Center for the Performing Arts, or by calling (309) 438-2535.

The Illinois State University Planetarium will present the holiday themed Season of Lights show weekends Dec. 1-16. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Fridays and 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays. Tickets are $4 for adults, $3 for children ages 5-12 and seniors, and $2 for children ages 3-4.

Season of Lights, narrated by National Public Radio’s Noah Adams, recounts the historical, religious and cultural rituals practiced during the time of the winter solstice and examines some of the more lighthearted seasonal traditions. For more information, call the Planetarium’s Skyline at (309) 438-5007.

Those interested in giving the gift of art at the holidays can find plenty of treasures at the 33rd annual Printmakers’ Exhibition and Sale from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 8 in Illinois State’s Center for the Visual Arts, room 123.

Original artwork by Illinois State faculty, staff, and students will be on sale, with most prices ranging from $2 to $100. The event will feature silent auctions for larger works. Proceeds from the sale benefit the university’s Printmaking Program and students.

A sale of original ceramic artwork by Illinois State students will be held that day in the Center for the Visual Arts.

Historic Ewing Manor, operated by the Illinois State University Foundation, will be decorated for the holidays and open for special tours from 5-8 p.m. Dec. 14.

Visitors will have a chance to tour the mansion’s rooms and learn more about the influential Ewing family. There is a suggested donation of $10 per person for the tour. The grounds of Ewing Manor are open seven days a week from 8 a.m.-dusk and are a popular destination throughout the year.

Holiday illumination on the house and grounds will surely make a visit to Ewing Manor extra special this season.

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