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Peoria Civic Center starts new fund to attract new artists from all genres

 Peoria Civic Center Authority chairwomen Yvonne Greer-Booth announces the new fund at a new conference with state Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth, D-Peoria.
Camryn Cutinello
Peoria Civic Center Authority chairwomen Yvonne Greer-Booth announces the new fund at a news conference with Illinois state Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth, D-Peoria.

The Peoria Civic Center will use a new grant to diversify their programming.

The Civic Center has received a $500,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to create an Audience Building Fund that will be used to attract new artists.

Peoria Civic Center Authority chairwoman Yvonne Greer-Batton said people in central Illinois won’t have to drive to Chicago or St. Louis anymore to see these artists perform. She said the Civic Center will seek to host artists from all genres, and the fund will help them to keep ticket prices affordable.

“It's better, it's more,” Greer Batton said. “It's more opportunity. It's more diversity. It keeps us on the map and the entertainment industry.”

Illinois state Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth, D-Peoria, said that the grant also will boost the local economy by creating more spending for restaurants, hotels and bars.

“The idea of doing this audience-building grant was, I thought, a win-win opportunity to be able to encourage some hyper-local tourism to keep people here in the community as opposed to going to other places,” Gordon-Booth said. “But then also wanting to pull people into our community, so they can spend some of those good tax dollars right here in Peoria.”

The Civic Center will create a committee to find and bring new artists to Peoria. Greer-Batton said the center will pay into the fund as it hosts concerts so the facility can continue to attract new artists.

Grammy-award winning singer and rapper Monica will perform on Aug. 19, with, and musical duo Black Violin taking the stage on Oct. 20.

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Camryn Cutinello is a reporter at WCBU. You can reach Camryn at cncutin@ilstu.edu.