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).
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!
A photograph by Oak Street Art member Ann R. Fischer has been accepted for the Detox exhibit at the New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art in New Harmony, Indiana.
Detox includes both visual and literary art "based around the aspects of conservation of natural resources, climate change, recycling, and carbon footprints," according to the call for entries. Ann's piece Cicada Wing Mandala (below) highlights the beauty and symbolism of cicadas, a group of species whose behavior is changing in response to climate change.
The exhibit will be up from December 7, 2019, through January 25, 2020. Everyone is welcome for the opening reception on Saturday, December 7, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. (Facebook event RSVP here.) Opening day is a great time to be in town, as it coincides with the popular Christmas in New Harmony events, including a fine art fair at The Rapp-Owen Granary.
For more about the gallery, see them on Instagram, Facebook, or the web.
Oak Street Art