CHAMPAIGN - Champaign's newest art gallery, newsstand and coffee shop will celebrate its grand opening Monday with an array of musical entertainment.
Verde Gallery and its associated business, Verdant News & Coffee, will open in the former Urban League of Champaign County office at 17 E. Taylor St., just west of Radio Maria restaurant.
The gallery and coffee shop will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. that day, with the Green Mountain Grass bluegrass band performing from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. and the Tom Paynter jazz quartet playing from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m.
?We'll also have an all-day children's art contest for ages 3 to 13,? gallery manager Jennifer McLane said. Children will be provided with the materials they need, and prizes will be awarded, she added.
The gallery's first featured artist will be Toni Putnam of Champaign, whose encaustic paintings and bronze sculptures will be on display through March 31. To create encaustic paintings, wax is mixed with pigment and remelted onto wood, prepared paper or linen, McLane said.
The gallery also has a small section featuring more functional art, such as pottery and blown glass, McLane said. Some works of handblown glass will be on display for the opening, and the collection may increase in coming weeks, she added.
McLane said the coffee shop will serve a variety of coffee beverages, bottled drinks and smoothies, as well as pastries, bagels and other light fare. The newsstand will sell national and international newspapers and magazines, including the London Times, she added.
During Monday's grand opening, the coffee shop will offer free brewed coffee as well as free samples of pastries and mixed coffee drinks.
Usual hours for the gallery will be 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. It will be closed Sundays and Mondays.
Hours for the newsstand and coffee shop will be 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. It will be closed Sundays. Andrea Johnston is manager of the newsstand and coffee shop.
Karen Kulas and Curt Tucker are the co-owners of the gallery, newsstand and coffee shop. They are chief executive officer and president, respectively, of Verdant Systems, a business that highlights best practices in the social service field.
Verdant Systems' office is at 335 N. Fremont St., just a few doors north of where the new multistory Volition building is to be built. Kulas' husband, Mike Kulas, was a founder of Volition, which develops video games.
McLane, the gallery manager, received a bachelor's degree in art from the University of Illinois in 1999. She does drawings, paintings and sculpture installation work.
Eventually, the Verde Gallery intends to offer children's art classes, as well as classes for adults and special interest groups, McLane said. The phone number for the Verde Gallery is 366-3202.