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