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New Exhibit Opens Today at the Sousa Archives — Capturing the Blues of 1990s Urbana-Champaign with Jack Van Camp

Big Time Sarah Streeter Performing at the Blind Pig Champaign, Illinois January 13, 1996

Big Time Sarah Streeter Performing at the Blind Pig
Champaign, Illinois
January 13, 1996

The Illinois towns of Urbana and Champaign are located on the “Central” railroad line which runs directly from Chicago to New Orleans through the heart of Memphis Blues. The railroad line, and later the U.S. Interstate highway system, transported a variety of blues styles across Central Illinois, from the Chicago Blues of Big Daddy Kinsey, Jimmy Rogers, and Luther Johnson, to the Delta Blues of David “Honeyboy” Edwards, and the Texas Blues of Anson Funderburgh and the Rockets. These blues musicians and many others, such as gospel group the Blind Boys of Alabama, and local favorite Gerald “Candy” Foster, frequently performed at Champaign’s Blind Pig Club and High Dive Club during the 1990s.

Jack Van Camp, a native of Danville, Illinois, has been a photographer since the 1970s. Although he began as a nature photographer, the avid blues fan began taking his camera to music shows held in Champaign’s Blind Pig which was located at 6 Taylor Street and currently is now the location for the Cowboy Monkey, the High Dive which was originally the location of the 1906 Varsity Theater, and many other local venues during the 1990s.  This new exhibit of black and white photographs represents a sample of images that were taken by Jack Van Camp between 1994 and 2001 that document Urbana’s and Champaign’s vital blues scene and the exceptional musicians who performed for our community.

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