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Creative Living Series

All programs begin at 10:00 a.m. • Coffee and conversation offered at 9:00 a.m.
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Past Seasons
Click here to see a brochure from any of our past 53 seasons!

2016-2017 Speakers

Rick Guidotti

Rick Guidotti

On Beauty: Positive Exposure

October 20, 2016

Rick Guidotti has spent the past two decades reframing our perceptions of beauty. Formerly a fashion photographer working with supermodels, he now travels the world to capture images of people living with differences such as albinism and autism, using his camera to celebrate and embrace the beauty in those with genetic, physical, behavioral and intellectual differences. Guidotti presents On Beauty—this award-winning documentary directed by Joanna Rudnick and Chicago’s Kartemquin Films, ventures outside conventional standards to expose the unexpected beauty that radiates through his lens—and talks about the empowering effects of a little glamour, allowing people the freedom to feel “I am amazing.”

Andrew Carroll

Andrew Carroll

Here Is Where: Discovering America’s Great Forgotten History

November 17, 2016

Andrew Carroll has journeyed across America by car, train, plane, helicopter, bus, bike, kayak and on foot to find the unmarked historic sites where extraordinary events occurred: the train platform where the brother of Lincoln’s assassin saved the life of Lincoln’s son; the farm where a teenage boy’s brainstorm led to the creation of television; the remote Hawaiian island where World War II really began. From inventions to deaths to body snatching—through conspiracies, scandals, tragedies and triumphs—Carroll demonstrates that what we know as “history” is only a small cross-section of the past.


Mary Fons

A Thirtysomething Quilter Tells All: Notes on the Industry from a Quilt Mafia Daughter

January 19, 2017

Mary Fons came to the craft of quilting in her late twenties. “To make a quilt is to make functional art,” she says. Mary is co-host of the nationally-airing PBS show Love of Quilting and co-hosts the Quilt Your Heart Out podcast with her mom, quilt legend Marianne Fons. As a writer, Mary has been published widely and is currently pursuing a Writing MFA at the School of the Art Institute; she teaches writing and performance at the University of Chicago. Her fabric line Small Wonders launched in 2015 and she writes the Quilt Scout column at Quilts.com. Mary is a proud Chicago Neo-Futurist and award-winning slam poet. To read her popular blog, Papergirl, visit maryfons.com.

David Catlin

David Catlin

Making Theater

February 16, 2017

Actor, playwright, director and teacher David Catlin is also a founding ensemble member of Lookingglass, a collaborative, inventive, and transformational theater company that has created and produced over fifty world premieres. Catlin shares the journey he began in 1988 at Northwestern University with seven fellow students to redefine the limits of theatrical experience—including the use of circus arts, trapeze, Spanish web and aerial dance— and make theatre exhilarating, inspirational, and accessible to all. Lookingglass Theatre Company has created over sixty world premieres, toured to regional theatres across the country, won multiple Joseph Jefferson awards and is the 2011 Tony Award winner for outstanding regional theatre.

Robert Martin, PhD

Robert Martin, PhD

How We Do It: The Evolution and Future of Human Reproduction?

March 16, 2017

What does “natural” really mean when it comes to sex, pregnancy and parenting? Dr. Robert Martin, emeritus curator of biological anthropology at Chicago’s Field Museum, discusses reproduction from the basic biology of sperms and eggs to the complexities of birth control and assisted fertility. Martin presents a look at our evolutionary past in terms of child-rearing practices and other aspects of reproduction, offering insights into what worked, what didn’t, and what it all means for the future of our species.


Mary Badham

Gregory Peck, Harper Lee & Me

April 20, 2017

At age 10, with no prior acting experience, Mary Badham was chosen for the role of Scout Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird, which earned her an Oscar nomination for best supporting actress. She maintained contact with Gregory Peck, occasionally accompanying him on lecture tours. With an interest in spreading the message of tolerance and compassion in Harper Lee’s book on which the film was based, she has spoken to audiences across the country and internationally. Badham relates her experience working with the famous actor and why she waited until she was older to read the book.

Creative Living Series is a Past
National Endowment for the Arts Grant Recipient

Past Speakers Include

Rebecca Eaton, Dr. Temple Grandin, Maya Angelou, Billy Collins, Carol Marin, Charlie Trotter, Phil Ponce, John Bredar, Dr. Michael Roizen, Beverly Sills, Martha Stewart, Dr. Joyce Brothers, Rick Kogan, Wally Phillips, Joan Benny, Rick Steves, Studs Terkel, Joseph Epstein, Amy Dickinson, Ann Patchett, Geoffrey Baer, Rick Bayless, John Callaway, Scott Simon, Robert Wittman, Bill Kurtis, Sarah Paretsky, Gene Siskel, Eddie Ross, Leslie Hindman, Jeffrey Lyons, Beekman 1802 - Josh Kilmer-Purcell & Brent Ridge

Three Ways to Order…Phone In, Walk In or Mail In!

Phone: (815) 338-5300
Hours: Monday - Thursday, 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM,
Friday and Saturday, 10:00 PM - 6:00 P.M. and 2 hours before performances.
Visa, MasterCard and Discover accepted
Order by June 18 to retain your current series seats.
New subscriptions available June 20

Download PDF of Current Season Brochure for full details.

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Creative Living has entertained and educated audiences since 1964.
We continue to leave our creative imprint on the community we serve.