Michael Lambert was born in Edwardsville Illinois. His parents, church, schools, and community modeled a love of the arts, especially in music, photography, and the performing arts. Michael would often join his father for his after-work “unwind,” listening to a record while lying on the living room floor. His family frequented the St. Louis Municipal Opera performances of Broadway musicals.
Michael’s interests were diverted to theater when, at the urging of a small group of parents, the junior high school music instructor started Edwardsville Junior Theater. Quickly discovering that his real talents were not on stage, but backstage, Michael began working on sets and lighting for musicals and the drama department throughout high school.
During his time at UIUC, Michael experienced a great deal of social and personal development. He left school and began what turned out to be a 35-year career in the building trade, including home building, museum exhibit fabrication and building code inspection/enforcement. Michael recently retired after 17 years with the City of Champaign.
Michael has remained engaged in the arts throughout his years in Champaign-Urbana. He’s done sound reinforcement and recording for bands, photography, video, radio production, and occasional set building for local theater. He has served on volunteer boards, helping found the Preservation and Conservation Association, chaired the board of Greater Community AIDS Project, and chaired The Prairie Ensemble Orchestra Board.
Like so many in the community, the UIUC arts programs have served as an anchor and inspiration for Michael. WILL, Krannert Art Museum, and Krannert Center for the Performing Arts have provided incredible access to the world of art in all its expressions. Michael has found joy seeing the work of world-renowned artists and that of the rising talents of UIUC’s Fine and Applied Arts programs and has been privileged to support these programs, facilities, and artists through attendance and financial donations. Finally, he is proud to participate in the Dance Partner’s Advancement Committee, one of the groups that work to keep the link between the university and the community strong.