Parkland pieces on public display
CHAMPAIGN – For the first time ever, the Parkland Art Gallery will have an exhibition of paintings culled from the Parkland College Permanent Collection. The show opens today.
"Many people don't realize that we have a collection; these artworks are spread throughout the campus," said Lisa Costello, director of the art gallery. "It's fascinating to see some of them on exhibit as a group."
Costello decided to show some of the 400 pieces from the permanent collection because she's interested in bringing the collection up to snuff.
"I realized we could do a show just on the paintings; this is a just sampling of what we have," she said. "My big goal is to get all of the works out on public display. A lot of the pieces are in offices so are not readily available unless you know where to go. And a lot of them are in the library."
This first exhibition will focus on oil, watercolor and acrylic paintings, created mainly by faculty and students.
Retired faculty member John Ekstrom, whose painting "Downtown" is part of the exhibition, will speak during the reception from 6 to 8 p.m. this evening. Live music will be performed by Jordan Kaye and Friends in the Gallery Lounge. Also, artist Chris Starkey will give a free talk at 2 p.m. Wednesday at the art gallery about his work.
Ekstrom's "Downtown" on permanent display in the D-Wing, was part of the Art-in-Architecture program. Started in 1977, the state program requires that a certain percentage of the cost of construction of a new public building be set aside for the purchase of art work by Illinois artists.
Ekstrom's "Downtown" depicts a lively section of Champaign.
"This work documents a time and place in our community and is a part of our history," Costello said. "It is a wonderful example of what this collection is all about."
Other artists represented in the show are Don Lake, Cindy Smith, Dennis Lewis, Birute Simaitis and Paula McCarty.
The multi-faceted permanent collection features works donated to the college through the Parkland Foundation; works obtained through its Fine and Applied Arts student purchase awards; and pieces obtained through the Illinois Art-In-Architecture program. High-level Parkland student-generated works also are part of the collection.
To find the art gallery when classes are in session, use the M6 parking lot at the north side of the campus. Enter any door and follow the ramps uphill to the highest point of the first floor, where the gallery is located. The gallery windows overlook the outdoor fountain area.
The Parkland Art Gallery summer hours are from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday.