The McLean County Arts Center (MCAC) is gearing up for its big annual event — the Sugar Creek Arts Festival, which draws over 100 artists and up to 10,000 visitors from across the Midwest and beyond. But there’s plenty to see at MCAC in the meantime.
“Pure Color,” the Illinois Prairie Pastel Society Juried Member Exhibition, is currently taking up about half of the Brandt Gallery with 22 paintings by selected by Chicago artist (and Illinois State University alum) Dan Addington.
In his juror statement, Addington said surprise, authenticity and mystery are three of the key elements he looks for when curating a juried exhibition. “In each of the included works, some or all of these elements were evident to me as I viewed the work,” he concluded.
On the other half of the Brandt Gallery there’s “Amble,” a coordinating selection of 19 oil paintings and pencil drawings by Deana Moore Schoolcraft and David Stratton. Schoolcraft grew up in a farm near Saybrook in McLean County, and her paintings seek to capture the beauty of the prairie; Stratton, another ISU alum, creates compositions based on photographs taken while hiking.
Moving on to the Armstrong Gallery you’ll find “String and Hollows,” an exhibition in which MCAC permanent collection prints by Swiss-German artists Paul Klee are juxtaposed with sculptures by Nisa Blackmon of Illinois Wesleyan University.
“Every three years we have an exhibition to highlight our permanent collection,” said MCAC curator Maggie Kunze by email. “The curator before me, Lisa [Lofgren], found the Klee prints in our collection and thought it would be great to showcase them. Nisa had applied for a show and Lisa saw that her work would pair beautifully with Klee’s. I was glad to get to see the idea to completion after Lisa left!”
All three exhibitions are on view through July 12. Here are some of the highlights we captured!