Beginning March 7, Oak Street Art printmaker Luca Cruzat has all-new work on display at the General John A. Logan Museum at 1613 Edith Street in Murphysboro, Illinois.
Cruzat's site-specific Birthplace installation will run through April 30, 2020. A number of visitors joined Cruzat for the reception at the museum on Saturday, March 14, from 3 to 6 p.m. See photos below, courtesy of George Mendez.
Cruzat offered the following statement about this unique exhibit: "The environment shapes my artistic practice. Since 2017, my current studio is located in the land of John A. Logan’s birthplace. The museum and the archaeological site are dedicated to research and to preserving the history of the Logan family, owners of the land. John A. Logan made history at a national level by his involvement in the civil war and politics. At this moment, efforts are being made by the museum to excavate the foundation of his home. All of this motivated me to work on the Birthplace installation at the General John A. Logan Museum."
For more about Cruzat and her work, see her Oak Street Art page here or her website here.
Second-graders at the General John A. Logan Attendance Center in Murphysboro created their own quilt square maps with Oak Street Art metalsmith Sue Gindlesparger on February 26.
Gindlesparger designed the project to complement students' other lessons for Black History Month. After reading the book Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt by Deborah Hopkinson (illustrated by James Ransome), students created their own maps in the style of quilt squares.
Using paper of various patterns, textures, and colors, students used scissors to cut out shapes representing key aspects of a place special to them. They learned how to layer and overlap the different pieces to create a unique collage resembling the kind of quilt square Sweet Clara made out of fabric scraps. Clara stitched the squares together as a guide for her and other enslaved people to escape slavery along the Underground Railroad.
Gindlesparger was assisted in the classrooms by Oak Street Art members Ann Fischer (photography) and Luca Cruzat (printmaking).
Please see photos below of Gindlesparger introducing the lesson, of creative students at work, and of a completed all-classroom "quilt." The final image is made up of the squares made by each of the students in teacher Tabitha Harris' second-grade class. Thank you, Mrs. Harris!
Work by Oak Street Art printmaker Luca Cruzat has been selected for inclusion in the Four Rivers Print Biennial exhibition, running February 5 through March 27, 2020. Luca's piece Antipodal: I Am South and North (pictured below) was selected by juror Mark Pascale from among 229 pieces submitted by 87 artists. This was truly a national competition with entries coming from across the United States.
All are welcome at the First Friday reception for the exhibit on Friday, February 7, 2020, at 5 p.m. at Carbondale Community Arts' Artspace 304 at 304 W. Walnut St. in Carbondale, Illinois. A closing reception will be held Saturday, March 21, 2020, from 3 to 6 p.m. From 3:30 to 4:30, Pascale will give a lecture, with juror awards announced afterward. RSVP for the closing reception here. The gallery hours are Wednesday through Friday from 12 to 5 p.m.
From the opening reception invitation: "The juror for the 2020 Four Rivers Print Biennial is Mark Pascale. Pascale is a lithographer who has been active in the Chicago art world for nearly forty years, as a curator, researcher, and professor. Pascale is the Janet and Craig Duchossois Curator of Prints and Drawings at The Art Institute of Chicago, and concurrently Senior Lecturer in Printmaking, at School of the Art Institute."
For more about Cruzat and her work, see her Oak Street Art profile and lucacruzat.com.
Oak Street Art members brightened up a winter day with second-graders at the General John A. Logan Attendance Center in Murphysboro on January 22. Led by Oak Street Art stained glass artist Stephanie Dillard, students in six different classrooms learned about stained glass and used colorful tissue paper to make their own colorful window images.
Along with lesson assistant, Oak Street Art metalsmith Sue Gindlesparger, Dillard showed the children illustrations in the book Draw Me a Star by famed paper artist Eric Carle (author of The Very Hungry Caterpillar). Based on the story in the book, the artists asked the children, "Where does art come from? Where does it begin?". Students enthusiastically shared their thoughts about how making art begins with their own ideas and feelings.
Beginning with cardboard-framed waxed paper "windows," students used bits of torn tissue paper to create their own paper collages by using glue-water to attach the paper and also to glaze over the top of the paper bits. Using this technique, the collages, when held up to the light, look like stained glass. Some children chose to make representations of animals, landscapes, planets, people, and other objects, while others created abstract designs.
Dillard and Gindlesparger were also assisted in the classrooms by Oak Street Art members Cathy Schmidt (leather) and Ann Fischer (photography).
Please see photos of creative students below.
Oak Street Art metalsmith Sue Gindlesparger will exhibit her piece, Don't Invade My Garden, Don't Steal My Soul, as part of the Women's Voices: The Need to Create exhibit at the Southern Illinois University Carbondale University Museum.
Below, see an image of Sue's work, along with her statement about the piece in the show, which highlights the work of 23 women artists working in a variety of mediums. Sue made the new piece specifically for this exhibit.
Running from February 3 through March 21, 2020, the exhibit is open to the public during regular museum hours (see poster below). Everyone is welcome for an opening reception on Friday, February 7, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m.
Statement from artist:
“Don’t invade my garden, don’t steal my soul” evokes the feeling of vulnerability and strength. A woman looks out from the window of her soul, and raises a fist in her garden. This breastplate/necklace is a protection piece fashioned in a quilt pattern.
This artwork is about rape and abuse, pain and self-healing. Abuse is a cancer in our
society. The pain that occurs because of it, traps a person’s soul. The breastplate is a
personal defense and a cry for decency. No one has the right to assault another
person’s body or mind.
I created this piece out of brass to simulate gold. Gold is a precious material, just like your soul. I cut the design in each piece, and joined the pieces together with jump rings to resemble chainmail, which is a type of armour.
Led by leather artist Cathy Schmidt, Oak Street Art members worked with local 4-H club students to help them create their own stamped-leather key rings. See photos below.
The children and teens learned about the origins and characteristics of leather as a material, learned how to dampen the leather before stamping, got to select stamps for their own designs, and got to strike the stamps (hard!) with a mallet to emboss the leather. Finally, Cathy assisted them in attaching the final rivet and metal ring for their finished product.
Thanks to Rebecca Needham, Jackson County 4-H Program Coordinator, for hosting us at the University of Illinois Extension office in Murphysboro. Cathy's assistants for the night were Oak Street Art members Sue Gindlesparger (metalsmith) and Ann R. Fischer (photographer).
Work by Oak Street Art member/ceramic artist Darby Ortolano will be on display in the Time and Place exhibit at the Cedarhurst Center for the Arts in Mt. Vernon, Illinois. The two-person exhibit also features paintings by Jan Kappes.
The exhibit begins January 12, 2020 in the Regenhardt Gallery at Cedarhurst, with an opening reception Saturday, January 11, at 6:30 p.m. Just before the reception, the two artists will be giving a gallery talk at 6:00 p.m. [Post-script from Oak Street Art: The gallery talk was wonderful. Below is a shot from visitors mingling at the reception afterward.]
According to Darby, her imagery comes from her memories and experiences with nature in the different places she has lived: The tropics of Trinidad, the lush woods of New York State, the beaches of Florida, the tree lined streets of New York City, and the beautiful hills of southern Illinois. Darby says the resulting sculptures are a mixture of these associations along with her intuitive process of working with clay.
For a preview of some of Darby's new work for the exhibit, see photos below and also the online gallery here.
Darby is a graduate of the Kansas City Art Institute, is a former faculty member at John A. Logan College, is a member of the Shawnee Hills Pottery Trail, and has a studio in the Logan Historic Arts Neighborhood of Murphysboro, Illinois.
Happy holidays from Oak Street Art! 2019 has been a big year for us. In addition to holding our annual Oak Street Art Fair (with 30+ artists, 7 live musical acts, and children's art projects) in April, we also held two First Friday Art Walk open houses in September and October. Then in November was our Holiday Art Sale with our own members and a few friends.
We also continued our work in the community by creating art lessons and working with second-grade children at the Gen. John A. Logan Attendance Center. Beyond that, we coordinated children's art projects for Father's Day gift making at the Murphysboro Youth and Recreation Center and a winter holiday ornament-making project as part of the Murphysboro Hometown Christmas celebration.
In a happy surprise, Oak Street Art was given a WSIU “Good Neighbor” award for June 2019! According to WSIU, this award “recognizes those who make a positive impact in the community.” We are grateful for second-grade teacher Tabitha Harris for nominating us.
Another big deal was officially moving our headquarters to the old Jones House (401 S. 16th St., Murphysboro, Illinois) in the Logan Historic Arts Neighborhood, thanks to generous space-sharing by the Gen. John A. Logan Museum and director Michael Jones. People-wise, we said goodbye to a few old member/friends moving on to other projects (thank you, Shirley Krienert and Rachel Malcolm Ensor) and welcomed a new one (welcome, Stephanie Dillard).
Below is a photo of our December holiday get-together with the six current members. FRONT row, left to right: Darby Ortolano (ceramics), Sue Gindlesparger (metals, jewelry), Luca Cruzat (printmaking), Cathy Schmidt (leather), Stephanie Dillard (stained glass). BACK row, all alone: Ann R. Fischer (photography).
Oak Street Art members worked with over 100 children to help them create their own holiday ornaments as part of the Murphysboro Hometown Christmas 2019 celebration! Artists participating included Sue Gindlesparger (metalsmith), Luca Cruzat (printmaker), Cathy Schmidt (leather artist), Stephanie Dillard (stained glass artist), Rachel Malcolm Ensor (painter), and Ann R. Fischer (photographer).
Shown in the photos below by George Mendez, children delighted in exercising their creativity by choosing shapes, choosing colors, writing their names, and painting their ornaments to bring home.
Their work began inside the Murphysboro Youth and Recreation Center just after the tree lighting ceremony on Friday, December 6, in Town Center Park in Murphysboro.
Photo credit: George Mendez
Second-graders Make Leather Medicine Bags and Symbols with Help from Oak Street Artist Cathy Schmidt
A week before the Thanksgiving holiday, second-graders at the General John A. Logan Attendance Center in Murphysboro learned about traditional Native American medicine bags and the art of symbols from Oak Street leather artist Cathy Schmidt.
"What makes you happy?" and "What makes you feel good and safe?" were among the questions Schmidt used to prompt students to design their own personal symbols. In response, one child said her kitten made her happy, so she thought of cat ears for her symbol. Children then used markers to draw their own symbols onto rocks. In the photo below, Schmidt shows children a variety of traditional symbols and their meanings in various Native cultures.
After creating their rocks, children followed along as Schmidt taught them to make their own leather bags by weaving leather cord through holes in a leather disc to become a drawstring. When they finished their bags, their newly decorated rocks were ready to go inside as a starting piece of personal treasure that they could use to remember times they felt good.
Schmidt was assisted by Oak Street Art members Stephanie Dillard (stained glass) and Ann Fischer (photography).
Oak Street Art