Ellnora Krannert was an open-hearted woman with a vision: an inviting space where everyone was welcome and could naturally meet and merge in a celebration of the arts. Her revolutionary philosophy was instrumental in the design of Krannert Center, and since 1969 it has been our guiding principle in bringing a global community together to share life-affirming experiences—including festivals packed with guitar goodness.
A little bit of Ellnora lingers just about everywhere around here. With her husband, Herman, she founded Krannert Center (plus Krannert Art Museum at the University of Illinois and much more in Indiana), donated the bust of Beethoven that sits at the entrance to the Foellinger Great Hall, and set the aesthetic tone of the building through choices in interior colors and materials.
Ellnora's degree in music from Brenau College, extensive art collection, and attention to the 85-acre Normandy Arboretum speak to her passion for placing beauty at the center of our lives. Another fond wish was to ensure that the Midwest was not merely a hub for agriculture and industry—as it was in the 1960s—but a hotbed of culture. If she had only known the seismic six-string celebrating that would result.
What better name could there be for a culmination of riffing, sizzling, picking, bedazzling artistry from around the planet? Ellnora would be grinning with glee.