Mendota H.S. junior among student artists to be honored at NCI ARTworks Mad Hatter Ball

Fourth annual event will be live-streamed Nov. 20


PERU - The fourth annual North Central Illinois (NCI) ARTworks Mad Hatter Ball - a virtual celebration this year - will recognize eight high school students for their outstanding artistic achievements as a live-streaming event on Friday, Nov. 20, beginning at 7 p.m.

To join in the Mad Hatter Ball LIVEstream celebration free of charge, click the link on the North Central Illinois ARTworks Facebook page or website at

“The Mad Hatter Ball celebrates the artistic achievements of eight outstandingly talented students and their drive to further their artistic efforts,” said Jennifer Antkowiak Etscheid, executive director of NCI ARTworks. “It’s important to have artistry and beauty in our lives any time, and especially with all that’s going on in the world these days. Our virtual, annual arts celebration is the perfect opportunity to bring art and beauty into our homes through student performances and presentations, and to recognize their spirit, talent and artistry.”

The 2020 Mad Hatter Ball Student Honorees are from high schools in LaSalle, Mendota, Ottawa, Peru, Princeton, Seneca and Streator.

Mendota High School junior, Faith Anderson will present several works of visual art. The daughter of Mike and Kara Anderson, she plans to study audio/visual engineering and music in college and work with the technical side of music productions. Her art embodies sentiments in a favorite quote by Morten Lauridsen: “to write music that satisfies me, that will attempt to satisfy both head and heart, that will be gracious for the performer, and will communicate with the listener.” Anderson has participated in the Big Northern Conference art show and the IVCC art show this past year. She has studied saxophone, piano and voice and dance for many years. She has been in the Madrigal ensemble, Show Choir and Jazz Choir at Mendota High School and has been in 13 theater performances. Anderson was selected for The Illinois Music Education Association, the Big Northern All-Conference Choir and attended three Junior Rhythm Express camps. She sang the National Anthem at the high school, and earned 10 “superior” and three “best of day” ratings at the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Solo Content in the past two years.

Other honorees include Aubrey Garretson, a senior at LaSalle-Peru High School, who will present a flute performance; Lucy Kleczewski, a senior at St. Bede Academy, who will present a piano performance; Trent Kloepping, a Princeton High School senior, who will give a performance on the upright bass trombone; Mary Riva, a senior at Ottawa High School, who will play the violin performance; Sebastian Serratos, a LaSalle-Peru High School junior, who will present a piano performance; Dan Stout, a senior at Streator Township High School, who will give a performance on the saxophone; and Peyton Weber, a junior at Seneca High School, who will give a piano performance.

Local celebrity Sean Walsh will reprise his role as the Mad Hatter host introducing the student performances. He will also interview the students about their selection, artistic inspiration, continuing education and career plans as they receive their awards live at the NCI ARTworks’ Westclox ARTworks Center in the west wing of the Westclox building in Peru.

The event will also feature the selection of the first Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum honorees for the Mad Hatter Ball. Sangita Allen, the 2019 Queen of ‘ARTs, will announce the winners as those who received the most votes cast online during the event. Voters may vote for as many candidates as they wish, as many times as they wish. Winners will be offered a prize basket full of goods purchased from local businesses. For details about the candidates and voting process, visit

NCI ARTworks also will offer an “Un-box An Un-Birthday Present” virtual game from Nov. 1 through the end of the Mad Hatter Ball on Nov. 20. Etscheid said the “Giving Grid” campaign allows donors to select boxes and donate the amount listed on the box. There are 10 boxes that have been pre-selected to each have a $50 prize. Winners will be contacted shortly after purchase if they are one of the winners. At the end of the event, a randomly-generated number will be announced from among the Giving Grid boxes sold, and the person who purchased that box will win the $500 grand prize.

The virtual Mad Hatter Ball is produced by Mario Data, owner of Ladd Sound Production.

“The Mad Hatter Ball checks all the boxes for a wonderful event for the entire family,” said Sue Gillio, event chairman and owner of Music Suite 408/408 Fine Arts Factory/The Paintbox. “It’s an upbeat, positive, inspiring and entertaining evening, free for everyone to enjoy from the comfort of home. And, there’ll be games and contests with prizes for an extra touch of whimsy.”

The non-profit NCI ARTworks supports and is expanding the arts community in LaSalle, Bureau and Putnam counties through artistic collaboration, educational outreach, and art space development. Mad Hatter Ball proceeds benefit NCI ARTworks programs and activities throughout the area and at the Westclox ARTworks Center in the west wing of the Westclox building in Peru. For more information visit