Month: March 2017

Kayla Obert, Organizer Of All Things Art


Who is Kayla Obert? Most likely you have been greeted by her lovely face upon entering the Quincy Art Center, but did you know she is part of the glue that keeps this organization running smoothly? Kayla’s official title is Arts Programs & Office Manager. Helping to coordinate, organize, and understand programs, events, and people such as: ArtFest, Q-Fest, smART kids, class registration, volunteers, and opening receptions is her specialty. Kayla was sweet enough to take some time out of her busy schedule to let us get to know her a little better! 

How long have you been with the Quincy Art Center?

  • I started as a weekend worker in May, 2014 and in August of that year I was offered the front desk manager position. I became full-time here in July, 2016 working for the Art Center and the Midsummer Arts Faire, which is now referred to as Q-Fest.

Is there any difference between Midsummer Arts Faire and Q-Fest aside from the name change? 

  • The main difference is that we are now collaborating with more organizations, four in total. They include The District, Quincy Art Center, Great River Restaurant Association, and the Quincy Arts Festival organization (formerly Midsummer Arts Faire). We also changed the date to the first weekend in June.

What do you like to do in your free time?

  • I am usually playing on my guitar, learning covers, or writing my own songs. When the weather’s nice you can usually find me gardening or playing sports outside. I try to squeeze in time for my own art such as painting and jewelry making.

What do you consider your major values?

  • “Family & Faith First” that pretty much sums it up. I am the second of seven children, and every Sunday night is family dinner at my parents’ house. When it’s warm out we grill and play backyard volleyball. I have lots of aunts, uncles, and cousins that I’m also very close to.

What part of your job do you enjoy most?

  • I really like meeting and connecting with all the local artists. Getting to know them and their styles to the point where you can recognize their work without even seeing a signature is pretty cool. I also really love my co-workers!

What is the next big opportunity for local artists to get involved?

There are a few coming up!

  • First is the Biennial Quad-State Competition. Local artists can enter up to five pieces of art by April 9.
  • Second artists can further enhance their skills by taking classes here year-round. Or they can propose & submit a class to teach.
  • Third is Q-Fest on June 3 & 4, and ArtFest on September 16. For Q-Fest there are volunteer opportunities for artists to help with hands on activities or donate small art pieces to be sold in the Young Collectors Gallery. For ArtFest we are always looking for artists to do demonstrations, or offer a free hands-on activity.

If anyone has questions can they just get a hold of you? 

  • Yes, absolutely! For any questions regarding Q-Fest specifically I can be reached at (217) 779-2285.  For all other questions call the Quincy Art Center at (217)223-5900, and I can assist them personally.

I know that you often refer to inspirational/motivational quotes. Do you have a favorite one currently?

  • Haha, yes! Lately my motivating quote has been “Stop Saying, Start Doing.” One of my favorites is “If you really want something you’ll find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse.”

Elizabeth Rankin-The Interview

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The Mini & Massive Glass Exhibit  will feature established and emerging Midwest glass artists creating small-scale and large-scale works that shrink or enlarge their subject matter, co-curated by Jennifer Teter and Elizabeth Rankin. The opening reception is on Friday, March 17 from 6 – 10 p.m. in conjunction with Art Crawl. It will be on view through May 5, 2017.

Why did the Executive Director & Curator, Jennifer Teter, select you to co-curate this show?
Probably because I graduated with a degree specifically in the glass medium in 2015 from Southern Illinois University. I think she knows I’m pretty passionate about glass and that I haven’t had a chance to work with it in a while.

How did you two come up with the theme “mini & MASSIVE?”
We came up with a preliminary list of artists. Under-exaggerating and over-exaggerating of objects seemed to be a common theme. All of the pieces had the same conceptual direction.

How did you decide who to invite to this show?
We wanted to keep it local and in Illinois. We heard about a collection that some people had in Illinois, and it was a process of elimination from there. Artists we reached out to who couldn’t do it gave us contacts of those who could, which is how this show came to be!

What can you tell us about the diversity of this show?
The different glass processes add to the diversity. There’s sort of an industrial feel mixed with food, technology, and a feminine mystic. The subject matter, as well as the technical processes involved, make the pieces equally diverse.

What does this exhibit have to offer to the people of Quincy and the surrounding areas?
There is something about glass that seems so unattainable. It’s so fragile and expensive. There’s also a certain danger level involved that discourages people from accessing it. Many people in this area haven’t experienced glass art to its fullest. We haven’t had an entire glass exhibit in a long time and I feel really honored to have opportunity to co-curate this show.

Can you tell us a little more about what technical processes have been used here? 
Sure. Jennifer’s art deals with fusing and sand blasting. Janusz’s pieces are created through the casting process which is the process I was most drawn to in school. Carmen, Jeff, and Kit are all flame workers, while John and Nadine’s work is blown, and hot sculptured glass.

What is the ultimate outcome you hope to achieve from this exhibit?
To encourage people to look at glass critically in an artistic way. I am hoping that individuals will look into other pieces by theses artists, and other glass artists in general.

What has been your favorite part of bringing this exhibit to life?
Going to pick up the pieces! Being able to see the studios that these glass artists work in, and just talking with the artists has been so amazing.

How do you plan to guide the viewers experience through this exhibit?
We tried to do a little bit of mirroring. We thought about eye flow and how to keep the viewers eyes moving from piece to piece, yet still allowing them to rest and observe certain pieces. The more sculptural objects are meant to be viewed in the round and are more interactive. A lot of these were meant to be displayed on a wall. To discourage people from interacting with certain fragile pieces we put them towards the edge of the room.

What’s your favorite piece/artist, and why?
I really like Jennifer Crescuillo’s pieces best. She actually went to the same school as me, and I knew of her. She calls her pieces “future fossils.” I just really like the nostalgia of them. They remind me of childhood and are definitely some pieces that I want to own.

By the way, Happy Birthday! What sort of artistic endeavors do you have in store for year 29!?
Thank you! I’m going to have a booth at Q-Fest this summer, so the next few months I will be making lots of pretty things to sell! I will of course continue to teach art classes here at the Art Center. I’d really like to expand the amount of adult classes we teach here, and hope to do so if there is interest. Aside from that, I’m excited to work with glass this summer in my outside studio. I hope to go on more nature walks, and sketch more in general.


the mARkeT Reveal Gala

The mARkeT Reveal Gala was a French inspired one-of-a-kind event supporting local artists, and benefiting the Quincy Art Center! The evening consisted of heavy hor d’oeuvres prepared by Bittersweet Confections, BoodaLu Steakhouse, Cakes by Karen, The Cheese People, Quincy Country Club, Revelry, and Thyme Square Cafe. Specialty cocktails and drinks were provided by Martinis at 515 and Mississippi Belle. The evening was complete with music, live spectacles, and of course the unveiling of custom artwork!

Twenty-nine artworks, created by sixteen different artists, were revealed to their commissioned owners for the first time! Featured local artists included Jennifer Bock-Nelson, Steve Bohnstedt, Jeffrey Bruce, Linda Buechting, Joe Conover, Judge Robert Cook, Jamie Green, Robin Henehan, Howard Kuo, Zachary Meyer, K. Nadine Mitchell, Brad Pogatetz, Larry Siwek, Steven Stoll, Ann Miller Titus, and Laura Wright.

With over 200 attendants present, guests were able to experience the surprise and delight of this truly unique event. Thank you to all who donated your time, energy, food, beverages, funds, decorating expertise, and laughter! We love providing opportunities for growth and appreciation of the visual fine arts in our community, and without your support this simply wouldn’t be possible. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Visit the mARkeT Reveal Gala for more event photos!

To get involved with creative upcoming events check out our Volunteer Opportunities.