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
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.
Five Oak Street Art Members' Works on Exhibit in 2019 LOCALITY Biennial at Carbondale Community Arts
Five Oak Street Art members have pieces included in the LOCALITY Biennial at Carbondale Community Arts in Carbondale, Illinois.
Oak Street artists Luca Cruzat (printmaking), Rachel Malcolm Ensor (painting), Ann R. Fischer (photography), Sue Gindlesparger (metalsmithing/jewelry), and Darby Ortolano (ceramics) all have one or more pieces on display.
The exhibit will be open for viewing through September 13. About half of the exhibit is in the CCA main gallery (Artspace 304 at 304 W. Walnut St.), and the other half is in the Civic Center Corridor Gallery across the street at 200 S. Illinois Ave.
The free public reception will be Friday, September 6, from 5 to 7 p.m. See the event page at www.facebook.com/events/643913182798007.
Two Oak Street Art members have art work (images below) in the 28th Cedarhurst Biennial at the Cedarhurst Center for the Arts in Mt. Vernon, Illinois: Painter Rachel Malcolm Ensor and ceramic artist Darby Ortolano.
The juror for the Biennial, Wassan Al-Khudhairi, was the Chief Curator of the Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis. The call area of submission for this competition was very wide: all of Illinois south of Interstate 80 (Chicago), as well as the metro areas around St. Louis, Evansville (Indiana), and Paducah (Kentucky).
The exhibit runs from July 28 through October 6, 2019 in the New Semantics Gallery at Cedarhurst (click for details). View the complete set of selected works here.
Ortolano and Ensor are both graduates of the Kansas City Art Institute, and each have held college-level faculty positions in the area. Both have studios in the Murphysboro Historic Art Neighborhood, home to the General John A. Logan Museum.
Oak Street Art painter Rachel Malcolm Ensor, whose paintings are hanging at the Longbranch Cafe and Bakery through July 1, 2019, will discuss African Americanisms: Aesthetics of Freedom. See the flyer below. Come join Rachel for the talk on Friday, June 21, 2019 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Longbranch.
Rachel Malcolm Ensor's "American Quilt Series #2" Selected for National Biennial Exhibit at St. Louis Artists' Guild
Oak Street Art member Rachel Malcolm Ensor is thrilled that her painting "American Quilt Series #2," shown below, was selected for the Ann Metzger National Biennial exhibit (see flyer below) hosted by the St. Louis Artists' Guild.
The exhibit is an all-media, all-content juried exhibition which brings together modern and contemporary art from artists across the United States. Exhibit juror Hannah Klemm is the assistant curator of modern and contemporary art at the St. Louis Art Museum.
The opening reception is Friday, January 11th at 5 p.m. at the St. Louis Artists' Guild, 12 North Jackson Avenue, St. Louis, Missouri. The awards ceremony is at 6:30 that same evening.
A series of paintings by Oak Street Art member Rachel Malcolm Ensor will be on display at the Varsity Center in Carbondale, Illinois, from February 8 through March 5, 2019.
Rachel has chosen the title "Sojourn: American Quilt Series" for the show and will be glad to meet you at the artist's reception on Friday, February 8, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Varsity Center (418 S. Illinois Ave. in Carbondale). Please see the flyer below.
Given the influence of art from the African Diaspora in Rachel's work, it is especially fitting for this show to run during African American History Month (February). We invite you to read Rachel's artist statement below, immediately following the flyer.
by Rachel Malcolm Ensor
After a career teaching art history I have returned to my original passion, which is
painting. Color is a language that I use to express ideas, thoughts, and goals. The
American Quilt Series reflects on my depth of experience and knowledge
regarding modern art, the African Diaspora, and textile traditions handed down
to me from my grandmothers. This series reflects a strong parallel with African-
American folk quilters, especially their use of asymmetry and irregularity of form.
Time spent with my grandmothers and their textile traditions, quilting-tatting-
embroidery-pattern making provided a foundation for my work. Influences of
early twentieth century modern painters, American abstract expressionists,
African writing systems, textiles, and the African Diaspora in the Americas all
contribute to my work.
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