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).
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).
Thanks so much to everyone who came out for the 2019 Holiday Art Sale by Oak Street Art and Friends.
We had a fantastic time in the Logan Historic Arts Neighborhood of Murphysboro, Illinois, and loved meeting so many nice people last weekend (November 16-17, 2019). What a great turnout! Please see artist list, photos, and Murphysboro Times story below.
Special thanks to Michael Jones and the General John A. Logan Museum for use of the building and for so much great support throughout the year!
Thanks to everyone who came out for Murphysboro’s (first of 2019) First Friday Art Walk / Open Studios & Museum night! In the new Oak Street Art headquarters (photo below), we had a steady stream of visitors all evening. We love our great southern Illinois community and are proud to be a part of the Logan Historic Arts Neighborhood.
Visitors came just to look, talk, make new friends, enjoy munchies, and even to buy some local art by our members (jewelry from Sue Gindlesparger, ceramics from Darby Ortolano, weaving/textiles from Shirley Krienert, leather from Cathy Schmidt, and photography from Ann R. Fischer).
See map below for additional sites of September's First Friday, including the individual studios of Oak Street Art members Luca Cruzat and Rachel Malcolm Ensor, as well as the General John A. Logan Museum, Pat's Prairie Garden, and GeekBetty Vintage and More.
Onward to next month! Hope to see you for the second First Friday on Friday, October 4, from 5 to 8 p.m.
In a multidisciplinary activity combining literature and art, two second grade classrooms at the General John A Logan Attendance Center created dream catchers under the instruction of leatherwork artist and Oak Street Art member Cathy Schmidt (pictured below in white Oak Street Art apron).
The students worked very hard on their individual projects. The smiles below show their enjoyment, pride, and success in creating art!
The participating teachers have agreed to head up the Children’s Art Tent at the annual Oak Street Art Fair in April 2019. Keep checking back for more details on art activities in these classrooms.
As part of Oak Street Art's mission to nurture connections between art and our community, two artists from the group participated in the recent STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) event at the Murphysboro Youth and Recreation Center.
Cathy Schmidt (leatherwork) and Shirley Krienert (fiber and mixed media) led participants in the creation of their own dream catchers. The event was well attended. Check out some sample work below!
A few weeks before the 2018 Oak Street Fine Arts Fair, we spent a fun morning talking with reporter Chanda Green as Byron Hetzler snapped photos.
We loved the new feature story, Collective Souls: Oak Street Artists Nurture the Connections between Art and Community. Pick up a copy of the (beautiful, full-color, glossy) magazine where The Southern Illinoisan is sold, and see Chanda's story and Byron's photos online at the Life & Style website here.
Oak Street Art