Photo courtesy Fox Valley Music Foundation
The story of The Venue begins with the Fox Valley Music Foundation.
The Fox Valley Music Foundation is a not-for-profit organization comprised of music lovers, music educators, arts enthusiasts, and people who have spent many hours, days and years in this business of music. The Foundation’s reason for being is to preserve, promote and present the wonderful music of the Fox Valley area of Illinois while providing music education to people of all ages and from all walks of life. The Fox Valley Music Foundation works closely with local entities, including the Paramount Arts Center, the City of Aurora, Invest Aurora, Aurora Downtown (a nonprofit organization comprised of property and business owners), and Water Street Studios in Batavia. We have received grants from the City of Aurora, Invest Aurora, Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley, Kane County Office of Community Reinvestment, and the National Endowment of the Arts. Funding has also been received from local area businesses and private citizens—without this help, The Venue would not exist.
In 2014, the Fox Valley Music Foundation was officially formed, however, many of the principals worked together for years in the management and operation of the Blues on the Fox festival held annually in Aurora. The concept for The Venue started to develop during the course of working those festivals, especially during the ones taking place between 2010 and 2014. We took the thought, and sprinkled it with a little bit of Old Town School of Folk Music, added some S.P.A.C.E. and House of Blues spice, and threw in a dash of City Winery while letting it all simmer on a Reggie’s stovetop: a music Venue stew of grand proportions was created!
In the winter of 2017, the Fox Valley Music Foundation entered into a Redevelopment Agreement with the City of Aurora for the repurpose of an old Woolworth department store building located in the heart of the downtown district. The Foundation’s new home is called The Venue and its purpose is to provide a space for the presentation and enjoyment of music.
Interior demolition work began in earnest during the middle of the following March, and major enhancements to the infrastructure of the building began in the summer. The finishing touches to the interior walls, ceilings and floors are taking place as of this writing and The Venue will open its doors for business on June 1, 2019, with a sold out show featuring headliner Toronzo Cannon.
The new music performance space and home to the Fox Valley Music Foundation, is strategically located at 21 South Broadway. This space will provide life to the music and sounds of the Fox Valley, serving as a unique home and listening room for performing artists. The Venue will provide a place for collaboration and participation by area musicians. Our planned education programs will enhance the knowledge of the rich history of music in the Fox River Valley of Illinois.
Studies have shown that music builds community by facilitating connections. Music encourages celebration and collaboration as well as qualities for a healthy community including empathy and social cohesion. Through the development of The Venue, we seek to be an integral facet of this particular kind of growth in the Fox Valley. In an online article for Greater Good Magazine , author Jill Suttie writes: “Nowadays, music has the potential to make us feel connected to all of humanity. The more we use music to bring us together—literally and figuratively—the more potential for increased empathy, social connection, and cooperation." This is our intent with the creation of The Venue.
Please join us this summer as we open our doors for the very first time. Visit themusicvenue.org to view our lineup of concerts and reserve tickets.
Steve Warrenfeltz is President of the Fox Valley Music Foundation and owner of Kiss the Sky, a record store, live music venue, and cultural center in Batavia, Illinois. He is an Aurora resident and very proud parent to three children.
Steve contributed this story to the #EnjoyAurora blog—contribute your own, and help us tell the world why the Aurora Area is such a great place to live, work, and play, by writing in to email@example.com.