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.

An Interview with Steven Stoll


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!


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

An Interview with Lana Reed of the Quincy Art Center

img_2913-2When you think Quincy Art Center, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? It may be stunning artwork displayed in brightly lit galleries. It could be a room full of bustling children in paint-covered aprons, blissfully exploring their creative side. If you are fortunate enough to work closely with the Art Center, then our staff might be your first thought.

This is my fourth week interning here and I cannot tell you how amazing these people are! I am nearly one third of the way through my twelve week journey here, and over the coming weeks I will be interviewing the core staff members who help make this organization what it is. I was lucky enough today to walk, talk, and sip a little coffee with our Director of Marketing & Development, Lana Reed.

When did you first get involved with the Quincy Art Center?

Answer: I began as an intern in the summer of 2011.

What were you going to school for at the time?

Answer: Bachelor of Arts, with an emphasis in painting. After two years of completing my general education credits, I decided to go live with my sister in Italy for a few months. Historic and architectural buildings had been turned into apartments. Art was everywhere, and I loved it. It was on this adventure that I realized I was interested in all aspects of art, and that I wanted to get my degree in this field.

Where did you go to college after returning from Italy?

Answer: HLG. Hannibal-Lagrange University made the most sense for me at the time. It was close enough to home, and they had a study abroad program. I joined the honors program so that I could live abroad in a castle in England for a semester. It was pretty cool.

What made you choose the Art Center?

Answer: I didn’t choose the Art Center. The Art Center chose me (laughs). No, but seriously. I was nearing the end of my four week internship here; emptying a trash can in the back room when I was asked if I wanted to work here. I didn’t think it was going to work since I still had a year left of school at HLG, but the Art Center and my school worked together to make it happen! I had a job in my field and hadn’t even graduated yet. I was all high kicks and hoorays!

When you aren’t at the Art Center, what can we find you doing?

Answer: After work on Monday’s I actually stay here for three more hours to lead live figure drawing for fun!

I know it’s fun here, but I said OUTSIDE of the Art Center Lana…

Answer: (laughs) Oh yes! Okay, well on Tuesday’s I usually get really into Volleyball! It’s what I had been doing with my Tuesday evenings, but now my husband and I are actually starting a Dave Ramsey Financial Peace Class this week for the next nine weeks! On Wednesday’s our friend group gets together to watch bizarre movies. Thursday’s are for grocery shopping dates. Friday and Saturday are my wild card days, and Sundays are usually spent at church, with family, and relaxing.

Wow! I like how intentional you are with your time.

Response: I try to be. It keeps me balanced, happy, and sane!

Lana Reed is the Director of Marketing and Development for the Quincy Art Center and has been involved in the organization for nearly six years. Reed has been the primary Staff Coordinator for the Beaux Arts Ball for the past five years. She is a Quincy Area Chamber of Commerce Ambassador, as well as a volunteer for The District. Lana helped spearhead the Painting Planters Project this past summer that recently won a Design Award from The District.

Stay tuned for more interviews with our crew!

Meet Our New Marketing Intern, Sara Lockett!


Sara hails from the Quincy area. Growing up in the small town of Liberty, IL community involvement has been interwoven into her value system. Spending most of her time outside as a child she has always had an appreciation for nature, art, and all things lovely. She’s spent nearly eighteen years involved in the performing arts, through various dance styles, at Heinze Dance Academy.

Currently Sara is finishing up her bachelor’s degree at Western Illinois University. She is majoring in Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration, with a double minor in Marketing and Art. After completing her Associate’s Degree at John Wood Community College, she took some time off from school to exercise her management skills in the world of retail. Sara currently delights in working part-time with the creative individuals at 2thirty4 Restaurant & Lounge in Quincy, IL. In addition, she has fun being involved in various special events in the local area.

In her free time, Sara loves being with her six-year-old daughter Amaria and their tribe of friends. She enjoys traveling, hiking, kayaking, and spending time outdoors. Sara is a curious spirit who is always in a state of continued learning. She is passionate about health and happiness for the mind, body, and soul. Practicing mindfulness, yoga, and meditation help her stay balanced and grounded.

Sara will be spending twelve weeks, full-time with us at the Quincy Art Center! She is graduating from Western Illinois University this spring. Sara plans to move to Michigan this summer with her daughter, and work for a non-profit or community based organization.