Did you catch our new look? Arts Alive! is redesigned this month in celebration of our 8th anniversary. Arts Alive! will continue supporting and cheerleading the wealth of arts and culture found here in central Illinois by providing the area’s only monthly resource magazine dedicated to the arts. And we’ll also continue to update our look to keep pace with our partners in the arts.

Yes, the arts are very much alive in central Illinois. Our Midwestern culture is helping attract new employees and businesses to this area. We encourage and support new talent-just look at what’s going on this summer in central Illinois.

We thank the businesses who’ve supported the arts through sponsorship of Arts Alive!, as well as supporting independent organizations. As Fast Company magazine reported last month, "Today, we’re in the midst of a design revolution in business…their big ideas are helping create a world of new products and services. This is about how ’design thinking’ can help all of us re-imagine the day-to-day practices of businesses."

J Mays of Ford Motor Co. views design as the heart of Ford’s effort to differentiate itself, to gain a distinctive edge. Roger Martin, dean of the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, said, "We need to think and work like designers, have attitudes like designers, and learn to evaluate each other as designers do."

Central Illinois business leaders who envisioned Peoria NEXT are helping us redesign how we think. We call designers dreamers, and business leaders visionaries. They may think with different sides of the brain at times, but as the saying goes, "Two heads are better than one." The annual Heartland Partnership meeting this year, entitled "Unspoiled. Untapped. Unleashed" follows last year’s "I Had No Idea" topic-examples of redesigned thinking in central Illinois.

Adrian van Hooydonk, BMW Group DesignworksUSA president, also reported in Fast Company that "Making talented people confront the unfamiliar often fuels innovation." That is why he mixes design engineers, graphic artists, color experts, ergonomic specialists, computer wizards, and fashion designers with BMW’s car-design gurus: to spur maximum creativity from everyone. Hmm, sounds like the premise of the "Discovery Forum 2004-A Celebration of Creativity" held in central Illinois a few weeks ago…

Change and redesign are progressive. There’ve been many changes in our arts community, in our business community, and in the pages of Arts Alive! through the years. We’re very much alive. Be an innovator! Be a designer! Be a visionary! Celebrate art! AA!