Author: quincyartcenter

The Mission of the Quincy Art Center is to educate the public by promoting the growth and appreciation of the visual arts through exhibitions and programs.

The Times They Are A-Changin’ | Staff Updates!

If you haven’t heard the news yet, the Quincy Art Center is going through some internal changes! Steven Stoll, our education coordinator, has stepped back from his current duties to take a position at Dot Foods. Steven will stay on as an Exhibition Preparator and instructor but will pass all things education to Kayla Obert.

 Instead of seeing Kayla’s lovely face at the front desk, Elizabeth Rankin and Vicki Sandercock will be there to greet you! Elizabeth and Vicki have helped with tours, taught classes, and worked the front desk over the weekends. If you haven’t met them yet, make sure to stop in and say hello!

 While we will miss seeing Steven pretty much every day, he will still be around and involved in the Art scene in Quincy. Steven has done an awesome job providing art opportunities for our community and now it is his time to focus on his own personal artwork. This time of change is a perfect opportunity to reflect over the past 3 years and get some good stories from Steven.

What is the craziest thing one of your students has said to you? 

There are two really good ones that I will never forget. One time I had an Art Club student finish her project early and so she was drawing with some crayons until everyone was finished. I walked around to look what she was drawing and ask her what it was. She said, “this is a picture of me bringing a beer to my daddy” and the image had her carrying a silver platter with a Bud Light on it.

The second time was in the Art After School Program at St. Francis. I had a student ask me, “Mr. Steven, have you ever had a small animal, like a chipmunk ever live in your beard?”

I heard you really laid down the law on teens inappropriately dancing at the Beaux Arts Ball. Is this true?

This is true. The other staff and I were chaperoning & dancing on the side of all of the high school kids. The song “Get Low” by Lil Jon and The East Side Boyz started playing. If you don’t know, this song has some filthy lyrics in it. I noticed some of the kids singing along, and once the chorus came around (which is the filthiest) they all start screaming the lyrics. I quickly took off my QAC name tag and held it in the air like I was a police officer. I yelled “I am Quincy Art Center staff! This is Inappropriate! Watch those dirty mouths! Get it together!” They looked at me in shock.

Out of all the exhibitions, which one has been your favorite. Why?

My favorite exhibit would have to be Susan Chrysler White’s solo show in the Katherine Gardner Stevenson Gallery. Her approach to painting and her process really inspired me within my own studio practice. I remember this was the only show where I would go in the gallery on my breaks. I would sit and dissect the steps on how she executed those monster paintings. Her approach was like the act of printmaking- working with a bunch of layers with some elements of collage.

Did the resident Art Center ghosts ever scare you?

I’ve had a few bump-ins with the QAC ghosts. Besides randomly hearing footsteps, or voices in the other room while I was the only one in the building, there is one creepy moment that really stuck with me. Elizabeth Rankin, a QAC instructor, and I were downstairs late at night working on some painting examples for some art parties that were coming up the next day. We got to a drying stage and one of the paintings was looking perfect, so we both went upstairs to the kitchen to get glasses of water and something to eat. We went back downstairs to check up on the drying process and if it needed any other small touch-ups. When we looked at the painting, “someone or something” took their finger and made a 3-4” vertical swipe through the wet paint. Let me remind you we were the only ones in the building. Freaky, right?

Would you like to say anything sappy about working at the Art Center?

The Quincy Art Center will always hold a special place in my heart, even though I’m not leaving entirely I will miss seeing everyone every day. The staff has really become a family to me the past three years. This position has made me grow professionally as well as personally. With such a small staff, we get to know each other so well.  I will miss our “question of the day”, Monday weekend recaps, staff field trips, and our post-opening celebrations.

Congratulations to Steven, Kayla, Elizabeth, and Vicki on their new positions! Stop by our location and congratulate them anytime we are open which is Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Steven will be in and out of the Art Center and has pledged to be on the Halloween Art Crawl so everyone can see his new artwork!

I am Retiring!

I am retiring. The time has come for the torch to be handed to another artist. It has been my pleasure to facilitate the figure drawing group since 2012. Yes! It has been 5 long years in which I have grown artistically, met some amazing people, and formed friendships. Here is a little look into chapters of the past, the impact the program has had on my life, and a few good memories I will never forget!

2012: True Love

I had just graduated from college and need $$$. I need it bad. Jen would ask “Lana, do you want to clean the studio?”  Yes. “Lana, do you want to teach a class?” YES. “Lana, do you” YES!

So I found myself leading drawing group, a totally new experience for me and a little scary at first to be honest. There is nothing like asking someone to disrobe and stand in awkward positions in front of a group of strangers. Finding models was tough, so I turned to friends, family, and the regulars who frequented Spring Street Bar on Tuesday nights. Hey, I was just out of college.

The handsome Jake Reed (yes, he is my husband now!) was one such individual who took on the challenge and took off his clothes. Ladies calm down, he has retired from modeling, but you can see one of my first drawings of him above.

2013: Earl

EARL. If you have ever visited one of our sessions you have probably heard this story. To help find nude models, I put out an ad on Craigslist. Lo and behold someone answered! Earl.

Earl showed up in a red corvette, he had driven across the state to grace little Quincy, IL. He showed up early and prowled around the Art Center’s exhibits. I was nervous. This was my first nude model that I didn’t know. There was a summer storm brewing and things were feeling weird. To my surprise, the session began and was running pretty smoothly. Earl was an experienced model and while he told us some strange stories about his nudist colony days, he was doing a pretty good job. Then the heavens opened and the rain came down, the fire alarm went off, and everybody panicked.

Except for Earl. Throughout the alarm going off, he stayed cool, calm, and totally naked lounging on our stage. I want to mention a few things to really set the scene for you. Earl was retired and at least 65 years old. He was reclining on a zebra blanket we used for padding. He was completely nude and looking majestic.

That’s when the Quincy Fire Department walked in the door to make sure everything was ok. After a strained conversation and avoiding all eye contact with the Firemen, our building was deemed safe and we proceeded with drawing since Earl was still striking a pose.

2014: The Beautiful People 

I don’t have a great story for this year, but there were lots of beautiful people who modeled and stopped by to draw. The attached drawing shows either Emily or Bobbi. Both ladies were gorgeous and modeled numerous times for the Art Center. Emily taught classes, helped around the Art Center, and moved half across the world to spread her love of art to the children there. Bobbi, moved to Georgia where she is continuing her education.

Another model, Kayla had been quite pregnant when she modeled for our group. While this drawing isn’t one of my best, it is totally an emotional snapshot of that time. Her baby is growing into a beautiful little girl. This past fall that “baby” showed up to ArtFest and painted a rock. I like to think she feels comfortable at the Art Center and creating since she has been immersed in it since the womb.

I have mentioned just a few of the models over the past years, but all of them have been great! I hope all of them look back at their modeling days with a certain sense of pride.

 2015: Friendships

 I think it took a while for everyone to get comfortable enough to share their drawings. Somewhere along the way, the artists became open to learning from each other and a sense of comradery pervaded. It became a custom to layout the drawing at the end of the evening and share thoughts and ideas. These “critiques” were and are not brutal, but more of a cheerleading squad for each other. If you ever show up in the future “Hey, I really like what you did here” and “Very Emotive” are some of the phrases you might hear.

This environment was perfect for aspiring art majors and over the past year students from John Wood Community College, Culver-Stockton College, and Quincy University have joined our group to draw and learn. Occasionally, one of the students will stick around and become a model and a comrade.

One person who started attending was a bearded guy named John. He was a free-lance graphic designer and loved to paint and draw. Over the weeks, we talked more and more and we became friends. Friends meet friends, love developed, and now John is married and my neighbor. Not to be a creeper, but I can literally look out my window and see his house. This “stranger” continues to attend the figure drawing sessions and even dressed up in a pirate costume to model!

2016: Artistically Speaking

I have once heard that it takes 10 years of practice to become an expert. I can attest to the fact that if you repeatedly practice drawing every Monday for 5 years, you will improve too. I can look back on my drawings and see that there has been millions of tiny improvement over the years, and there is a still lot of room to get better! Artists are not born with a paint brush in their hands. The road to a good painting is paved with a lot of crappy ones. Yes, feel free to quote me on that J

2017: Retirement

 Making art is a life long struggle to create, explore, reflect, and strive to be better. That being said, I plan on continuing to attend the sessions once they start back up in August as well as my own personal practice. I hope that you, our dear reader, will be dually inspired to express your creativity too and join us on Monday nights!

Maybe Mondays aren’t for you, but with the ever changing adult classes, kids classes, and special events the Art Center provides all year long, there is always something for everyone. GET INVOVLED! Perhaps you will meet the love of your life, make a new friend, meet your future neighbor, hone a skill, or develop a passion. What are you waiting for?

Kayla Obert, Organizer Of All Things Art

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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.

An Interview with Steven Stoll

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Steven Stoll: featured artist in The mARkeT Reveal Gala, art education extraordinaire, and best beard running three years in a row! If you don’t know Steven Stoll, our Art Education Coordinator & Exhibition Preparator, then you should! Get to know the legend.

How excited are you to reveal your artwork to it’s new owner at The mARkeT Reveal Gala event this weekend!?

  • So excited! *laughs*

 

Is this your first time creating a commissioned piece of art?  

  • Yes, in this setting.

 

As an artist, why is this event so unique?

  • Honestly, this is just a really cool event for Quincy to be doing. It’s an excellent way to support local artists within our community, as well as raise money for the Art Center.

 

What’s on your artistic bucket list for the year?

  • Short term, I have about five or six giant charcoal drawings that will be on display next month at the St. Patrick’s Day Art Crawl. I’m also working on some large sculptures that intermix ceramic, foam, and fabric.

 

What makes you feel accomplished?

  • Having a studio practice. It feels like my own adult club house. My formal education was in ceramics and I really enjoy how I feel when I’m in the studio. It’s as if everything else shuts off and I become a different person. It’s where I’m most in my element.

 

Where did you receive your formal education?

  • I attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago for four years.

 

What did you enjoy most about your time in Chicago?

  • Constantly being pushed, motivated, and surrounded by like-minded individuals. There was a communal aspect to the creative process. A former instructor of mine, William J. O’Brien, encouraged us to think about drawing as a vehicle into other materials. I’m constantly using that advice and thinking about new and interesting ways to expand my art practice.

 

Is what you’re doing now what you always wanted to do growing up?

  • I never saw myself working in a museum setting, or a non-profit for that matter. I always pictured myself doing more of the fabrication side of things in a ceramics studio. It’s really cool working here though. I enjoy the exhibition preparator aspect, as well as meeting kids who are highly motivated by the arts. I love constantly meeting new people.

 

What’s your philosophy in life?

  • To use your time wisely. My dad taught me many things by example. He was a problem solver and would spend his free time in productive ways, usually pursuing his passion. He showed me that you could spend your time during the day to make a living, and your time outside of work to make a life.  

 

Do you have a quote or mantra that you live by?

  • Yes! It’s by one of my favorite artists, Constantin Brancusi.
    Create like a god, command like a king, work like a slave.”

 

To see Steven’s artwork revealed at The mARkeT Reveal Gala purchase your ticket at: https://reg125.imperisoft.com/QuincyArtCenter/ProgramDetail/3533353132/Registration.aspx

 

One Mom, Four Kids, & a House Full of Art!

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Shannon Slee of Quincy, IL shares an amazing testimonial of the importance of the Quincy Art Center in her family’s life, and the lasting impact it has left on her children. 

“I’ve always been a crafty person. Whether indulging in photography, scrapbooking, sewing, crafting home décor, or other modes of art, it has been an important part of my life for as long as I can remember. When I started having children life changed drastically. Now a mother to four children ages four and under, my days are a blur of diaper changes, sippy cup refills, snack distribution, nose wipes, butt wipes, toddler dispute refereeing, hugs and sloppy wet kisses, nap time battles, and general exhaustion. My ability to pursue my love for art in the ways of the past has become a memory, limited by the intermittently beautiful and ugly chaos of parenthood.

Instead of disappearing from my life, however, art’s importance in it has transformed into something different but even more profound. In many ways I can credit this to the blossoming love my 4-year-old son has for art thanks to the “Pint Sized Picassos” class at the Quincy Art Center. A friend invited him to go to this class with her a year ago. Although he was very shy, he went outside of his comfort zone and attended with her. After the first class it was clear that he had no regrets about that choice! Ever since then, he searches for the artistic possibilities in just about everything he sees and is constantly coming up with ideas for projects. This year, both he and my 3-year-old daughter attend this class at the Art Center together and look forward with great excitement to Fridays each week when they get to go.

The endless possibilities of things they can create brings both of them joy and confidence and is so visibly nourishing to their little souls. And of course my 1½-year-old daughter, who wants to do everything that big brother and sister do, is right there with them in everything. Watching their creativity blossom has been one of the great gifts of this season of life. My oldest, in particular, uses it to express his love for parents, grandparents, siblings, and friends by coloring pictures and creating collages for them on a daily basis. My refrigerator is bursting with art—layers upon layers of pictures, paintings, and projects—on all sides.

As for me, I have mountains of unfinished projects and unscrapbooked memories and artistic dreams that are currently on hold. But I have been able to facilitate more toddler-friendly and preschool-aged arts and crafts projects than I can count. Many of the ideas I come up with for projects have been inspired by works of art the children have brought home from their class at the Art Center.  I have diligently used photography to record the precious and fleeting moments of a time in my and my children’s lives that will be gone in the blink of an eye…and more than a few of those photographed moments include smiling or concentrating faces of children with paintbrushes, markers, crayons, glue, and scissors. What’s more, after a near-tragedy in our family where our son very nearly died, we worked together as a family to use art as an act of worship to proclaim the goodness of God. Art is manifested all over our lives.

While it has taken on a very different role in my life than it played several years ago, art continues to be of exceptional importance to me, and now, to my little flock. I am so grateful to the Quincy Art Center for the way they have rekindled my artistic spirit by inspiring my little ones to see through creative lenses. What a treasure it is not only to pursue art in its many delightful forms, but to do so with the people who are most special to me.”

-Shannon Slee