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Artist Collaboration
Artist Rita Grendze facilitated a hands-on interactive workshop as a means to introduce artists to new ways of thinking, working and ways to incorporate new practices into their own. Rita lead attendees in exercises that allowed artists to experience mini-collaborations on the spot. She discussed the historical context of collaborative work, methodologies for practice and ways to set parameters with an artistic partner. She discussed ways to work locally or with a silent long distance partner, tips for balanced dialogue and most importantly, how to go about choosing an artistic partner.

Art for Social Change
Cairn & Cloud: A Collective Expression of Trauma and Hope
Stoneware, porcelain, gold lustre, thread, grid, stones
October 14 - November 4
Cairn & Cloud is a collaboration by Corinne Peterson, director of the Cairn Project and workshop participants. The rocks and cloud pieces in Cairn & Cloud were carved and shaped by more than 500 adults, teenagers, and children who participated in 50 Shaping Clay, Shaping Life workshops. They formed the clay rock to incorporate their memories of trauma and created the porcelain tokens to represent their inner light. Viewed together, the dark rocks and white cloud stand for transformation of individual feelings of loss, into a collective expression of healing.

Art for Social Change
Storytelling Cafe: Voice Box
October 23
In recognition of Illinois Arts & Humanities Month and Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October, the Oak Park Art League is proud to present Maureen Muldoon and Cathy Richardson of Voice Box for a Storytelling Café that brings stories of light from darkness and raises awareness to issues surrounding domestic violence. Presented in tandem with the Art League’s Art for Social Change gallery exhibition "Behind the Wall", this thought-provoking event features curated storytelling that interplays with artwork to cultivate a deeper understanding of the complex narratives associated with domestic violence.The professional lineup of storytellers includes Muldoon, Nestor Gomez, Alma Castillo, Lisa Ebel and Lette Sullivan. Grammy-nominee Cathy Richardson of Jefferson Starship punctuates each story with a music response, and her powerful voice will stir emotion and motivate action to end violence and build hopeful futures in our community.

Art for Social Change
Over The Wall Courtyard sculpture installation in partnership with Thresholds
Oct 14 - Nov 4
This public mural in OPAL's garden courtyard delivers a powerful message about the healing process associated with mental illness, which includes ups and downs, setbacks and progress. Presented in partnership with Thresholds and features the work of local artists William Douglas, Adam Barron, Darrin Dillard, and Kenneth Saez, with Kathy Osler as curator.

Chicago Architecture Foundation's Open House Chicago
October 15 &16
The Oak Park Art League was pleased to welcome more than 1,200 visitors to our historic E.E. Roberts Carriage House Gallery and art studio for Chicago Architecture Foundation's Open House Chicago event this weekend.

Art for Social Change: Behind the Wall exhibition 
Oct 14 - Nov 4  The Oak Park Art League's Art for Social Change: Behind the Wall exhibition was curated by Chuck Gniech. This show raises awareness to issues surrounding domestic violence. Art for Social Change programs are made possible, in part, by the Rotary Club of Oak Park-River Forest, Illinois Humanities, Oak Park Area Arts Council, Riveredge Hospital, and Illinois Arts Council Agency.

ARTifact: Margot McMahon "A Farewell to Arms"
July 8 - Aug 5
The Oak Park Art League’s ARTifact Invitational merges the study of historical artifacts with contemporary art-making practice; the selected artist creating original works that are inspired by and from a dialogue with objects, ornament, or architecture found within the historic Village of Oak Park. Oak Park artist Margot McMahon launches this initiative in conjunction with OPAL’s Hemingway exhibition. Through her body of drawings, paintings and sculpture, Margot creates a non-violence statement in her portrayal of a youthful Ernest Hemingway as he was writing “A Farewell to Arms”. A bond of man and machine, Margot’s Hemingway sculpture engages with a Corona #3 typewriter*, the same model used by the author in the early 1920’s.

A Moveable Feast: Hemingway Events
July 8 - August 5
The Oak Park Art League celebrates Ernest Hemingway with exhibitions, a book discussion and a series of writing events, as our historic Carriage House Gallery doubles as a Writers Salon during the month of July! The Opening Reception on June 8th, kicks off the month long calendar of events in the OPAL gallery. More details in Hemingway archive HERE
Recap of the Hemingway Writers Salon and Chain Story in partnership with the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame HERE

Garden of Good: Sylvia Shaw Judson Sculpture Exhibition
April 8 - Sept 30
Nestled among the foliage of the Oak Park Art League’s garden courtyard, reproductions of Judson’s iconic sculptures interplay with nature and the early 20th century architecture of the Art League’s historic Carriage House Gallery.

garden walk 16
Oak Park & River Forest Garden Walk
June 24
OPAL's courtyard garden was a featured stop on the annual OPRF Garden Walk featuring "Garden of Good" an exhibit of Sylvia Shaw Judson's 
sculptures. Artist Members demonstrated drawing and sculpting in various gardens on the walk.

West Suburban Consortium of Young Artists exhibition 
April 23
OPAL participated again in an art exhibition at the Cheney Mansion for a consortium of schools from local communities. This one-day show, which was open to the public, featured over 500 selected works from young artists, grades 1st - 8th. OPAL Artist Members volunteered their time, engaged with students and offered positive feedback on their artwork. OPAL also presented a figure drawing demonstration, which emphasized the importance of life drawing as skill-building tool for all artists. 

NEW WEBSITE and Member Management System
April 6
A vibrant and growing membership paved the way for OPAL's subscription to new member management software through the platform ClubExpress.   A new website is part of this exciting transition. With powerful software capabilities, ClubExpress will automate the membership renewal process, plus provide a comprehensive events calendar with class registration, member news and email tools that will allow OPAL to target the specific interests of our members. 

best in class
Best in Class Award
March 23
The Oak Park Art League received one of three "Best in Class" awards at the Oak Park Area Arts Council Annual Meeting at Pleasant Home.

 WIG OUT! Annual Costume Ball Fundraiser
Saturday Feb 27  
Oak Park Art League’s 2nd Annual Costume Ball Fundraiser, Wig Out! at Wire was a great success. Everyone wore fabulous wigs & costumes and danced their faces off! Thanks to our community leaders for their willingness to get on stage and compete in our Big Wig Lip Sync Battle! Village President Cathy Adduci took home the trophy against Mayor Anthony Calderone and Mayor Anan Abu-Taleb. Bryan Northup and Jennifer McNulty won His & Her Royal Hairness at the end of the night! Eileen Molony took fantastic photos, as usual. To view complete album & download photos go to:

President Exhibition
February 18 – March 18
Looking to the cultural heritage of Oak Park, this satellite exhibition at Brookdale Oak Park featured work of the Art League Board of Presidents, past and present, including: Jennifer McNulty, John Chapin, Ginny Pitre-Hay, Ken Reif, Keith Taylor, Marcia Palazzolo.

Group Critiques 

The Oak Park Art League started to offer professional development opportunities for artists to receive group feedback on finished work or artwork in progress. Monthly critiques are open to both emerging and experienced artists and provide artists a critical forum and multiple perspectives for evaluating artwork.These informative meetings are designed to help artists of all levels advance technical and conceptual skills,  develop narratives, speak to the formal qualities of their own work and the work of others and network and engage with other artists in the community. Meeting topics are structured to align with OPAL’s exhibition themes and begin with a short presentation by an experienced artist as a platform for group discussion.


GUEST LECTURE: Cheryl Jefferson The Art of Influence: Breaking Criminal Traditions
Introduced as a Tedx Talk in 2013, Jefferson now brings this lecture to the Oak Park Art League for our first Art for Social Change event, as she presents the compelling artwork and narratives associated with this controversial subject matter. Cheryl’s coproducer, artist Richard Laurent, will present his own body of work for BCT and discuss his approach for creating artwork and narratives that instill social change.

Art for Social Change Series begins
The Oak Park Art League started "Art for Social Change" consisting of lectures, exhibits and workshops presenting topics that bring attention to both global and local concerns through the universal language of art. As an instrument for raising awareness, art has the power to engender equality, heal, and influence attitudinal change, and the Art League’s intimate gallery provides a space and forum for stimulating public dialogue and motivating civic action.


Juried Artist Member Exhibit 
Nov 9 – Dec 4
OPAL changed the format fall artist Member exhibit to a juried exhibit.

"In selecting works for this exhibition, I looked for artists that push the boundaries of producing and presenting art; artists who are experimenting with materials and technologies, whether traditional or new; and artists whose work appears to convey a message.  Works that encourage me to interact with the artist and ask questions about the concept behind the piece are of particular interest.Finally, I selected works that ideally will complement and respond to one another in the OPAL gallery." Caroline Older, Exhibition Judge


cRock & Doodle A Community Friendraiser with the School of Rock & Sugar Beet Co-Op
Sunday, Oct 18
cRock & Doodle took place in the courtyard of the Oak Park Art League. Activities included a judged doodle contest, BYOB (Bring your own bread), a beer tasting by Exit Strategy, and a soup tasting provided by area restaurants: Healy’s West Side, Karl’s Craft Soup, Kinderhook Tap, Munch, Native Foods Cafe, Skrine Chops and Starship. School of Rock provided open mic music and several local businesses donated to our raffle. OPAL organized a soup drive for the month of October to benefit the Oak Park & River Forest Food Pantry.

Expanded Satellite Exhibits
Monthly exhibits at West Suburban Medical Center began in October and feature OPAL Artist Member group or solo shows. 
Art in The Atrium is a partnership with Loyola Stritch School of Medicine, happening bi-annually this venue features a solo exhibit by select OPAL Artist Members.


Snap Shot Tour Launched

Early 20th Century Oak Park Art, Architecture, and Literature

Due west of Chicago, on its own urban grid, is the Village of Oak Park. At its center is the Frank Lloyd Wright Historic District. Dotted with broad lawns, majestic oak trees, and a venerable collection of Victorian-era homes, this three-quarter square mile swath was a proverbial playground for Wright and his developing Prairie style. It was also the birthplace and childhood stomping ground for American literary great, Ernest Hemingway. Within walking distance from Hemingway’s birth home and Wright’s first home and studio is the Oak Park Art League and its charming Carriage House gallery, which grew to become a mecca for notable regional artists. Together, these historic sites present the art, architecture, and literary landscape that helped define Oak Park as the cultural destination that it is today.


Salon de paris
Art Dans La Rue
Tues August 4
Debuting an outdoor exhibit of Artist Member artwork, Salon De Paris, OPAL was a key attraction at the annual European Themed festival.

Mon, Aug 31
During this 75 minute lecture, teaching artist Kaye Buchman presented a chronology of artist’s sketchbooks will be presented with artists ranging from English landscape painter JMW Turner to Mexican self-portrait artist Frida Kahlo. The manner in which the sketchbook supported the artist’s overall body of work and the materials and methods they used will be discussed. At the end of the lecture, attendees are invited to share their own sketchbooks with the group.

Terrain 15Terrain Biennial  
Sun, Aug 23 – Wed, Sept 30
Centered in the historic village of Oak Park, Illinois, the 2nd Terrain Biennial was an international exhibition of site specific art made for front yards, balconies and porches. OPAL was a host site partnered with curator, SAIC professor and artist Tom Burtonwood, who selected Chicago artist Bernard Williams to install his large-scale sculpture in our garden courtyard. 
Terrain Exhibitions first opened in 2011 and is committed to producing spontaneous interactions between the viewers and artworks by creating opportunities for artists to make site responsive installations that redefine the definition of public art.

 Oak Park & River Forest Garden Walk
June 26
OPAL's courtyard garden was a featured stop on the annual OPRF Garden Walk featuring a group exhibit by eco-artists entitled Sculptural Awareness. Artist Members were dispersed into various gardens to paint and scuplt while admirers wandered beautiful gardens.

West Suburban Consortium of Young Artists exhibition
May 2
OPAL participated in an art exhibition at the Cheney Mansion for a consortium of 13 schools from local communities. This one-day show, which was open to the public, featured over 500 selected works from young artists, grades 1st - 8th. Several OPAL Artist Members volunteered their time, engaged with students and offered positive feedback on their artwork. OPAL also presented a figure drawing demonstration, which emphasized the importance of life drawing as skill-building tool for all artists.

high school showArea High School Student Show
May 5
In conjunction with our Muses & Mentors theme for May, OPAL invited  three area high schools to participate in a one night, judged exhibition that featured the artwork of 45 students and their fine art instructors on. Our thanks to Oak Park/River Forest High School, Proviso Math & Science Academy, and Trinity High School for bringing these talented student artists to the Art League.

Sculptural Awareness Exhibit
April 1 – July 31
Featuring the work of five local artists whose contributions to OPAL’s courtyard exhibition both engage with nature and raise awareness about environmental concerns. Woven work by Oak Park fiber artist Karen Gubitz ornaments a parkway tree, her chosen materials made of the earth and give back to the earth as the sculpture naturally deteriorates.  Oak Park sculptor Margot McMahon’s avian-themed trio perch on a fallen branch and deliver a message about the state of our natural environment.  Chicago sculptor Josh Garber’s large-scale sculpture of tree branches and plastic shrink wrap speaks of human consumption and how mankind intersects with the natural world.  Oak Park artist Susan Nadis knits with recycled plastic bags and T-shirts to create three-dimensional complex forms that echo a natural river along the garden fence (June installation). Oak Park glass artist Bryan Northup uses recycled glass bottles as vessels for history – glass “pods” with a collection of notes, artifacts, mementos and other ephemera OPAL which at the conclusion of the exhibition will serve as a time capsule for a future unearthing at the Art League’s Centennial in 2021.

keller GL

April 13th
Rebecca Keller gave an engaging lecture detailing her Excavating History projects, which use site-based research as the imagination-fuel for artmaking. Keller’s site-complicit artwork draws on archives, oral histories, memories, and mythologies; the resulting exhibitions, programs and performances re-examining historic sites through the lens of contemporary experience.

Sat, March 7
For OPAL's first themed fundraiser, supporters decked themselves out in prom attire from various decades gone by. Awards for King & Queen were distributed, VIP cocktails were sipped, and finger foods and desserts from local restaurants were passed around. Featured entertainment at the RETRO PROM included a "Jimmy Fallon style"  lip sync battle with local celebs, John Hoerster OPRF Head Football Coach, Rick Tanksley, Oak Park Police Chief Anthony Ambrose, and Oak Park Deputy Police Chief taking the mic. Held at Wire in Berwyn, IL

CTP bus tourChicago Tree Project Bus Tour

March 22
The Oak Park Art League hosted a bus tour of the Chicago Tree Project with Margot McMahon providing narrative. The Chicago Tree Project is a joint partnership between the Chicago Park District and Chicago Sculpture International that features work from ten Chicago area sculptors who give new life to dying trees in the form of public art in parks across Chicagoland. Climate change, stressed parkway trees, drought, volatile weather and wind cause an unprecedented number of trees to die and the Chicago Tree Project creatively saves these important trees to provide a habitat for insects which feed animals and birds. Tree sculptures on view included Oak Park sculptor, Margot McMahon’s avian-themed tree “Flock” featuring large blue song birds in flight in a grand old elm in Jackson Park.

The Oak Park Art League hosted a series to help local artists market their art through social media and web platforms in 2015. Each session addressed a different facet of modern day art marketing and were held in the Oak Park Art League Gallery.
January 26th - Eileen Molony, Photographing Your Art
February 9th - Norman Lawrence, Website Potential
February 23rd - Elaine Luther, Blogging for the Artist
March 9th - Amber Schultz, Twitter
March 23rd - Sarah Corbin, Instagram
April 6th - Amber Schultz, Facebook for promoting art

van gogh liveVan Gogh Live Performance
February 15 
“A Walk Through the Wheatfields” The missing journals of Vincent van Gogh. A one-man show written and performed by Terrence James Coffman with cameo appearances by Art League personalities! Live at the Oak Park Art League Carriage House Gallery.




 GEUST LECTURE: Ron Grossman: Time for Another Art World Revolution?
November 17
The European avant garde stormed America in 1913 at the Armory Show in New York City, bringing with them all of their “isms” – Post-Impressionism, Cubism, Fauvism and later, Dadaism, Futurism and Constructivism. The works of Picasso, Gaugin, Duchamp and Matisse shocked the American art world, and introduced the public to the visual language of European modernism, which forever changed the aesthetic landscape for American artists, collectors, critics, and art institutions. The Oak Park Art League invited History Professor and Chicago Tribune Writer Ron Grossman to discuss a century of art in America – where we have come from and where we are headed. In his call for an “art world revolution”, Grossman, a self-proclaimed philistine, ponders if the “isms” have become commonplace and challenges a new generation of artists.


October 19
OPAL staffed the wine  and beer tent with volunteers all afternoon/evening pouring beer and wine for tips (100% of the tips we earn goes back to OPAL)

Photography Tour – Early 20th Century Oak Park & E.E. Roberts with Jim Nedza
October 11
walk with Jim Nedza to explore the architecture of E.E. Roberts in a tour that will present the varied vocabulary of Roberts’s work that begins with the Art League’s own 1902 historically significant architectural gem! With a keen eye for detail, as seen on his widely popular website, Nedza will share his insights and offer suggestions on how you can use your camera to capture the best exterior elements of each of the unique structures featured on this two block walking tour, from lacy Victorian fretwork to the low-slung roofs of the Prairie Style.

Summer Concert: Rebecca Rego and the Trainmen
Sept 26
The Oak Park Art League presented its second Courtyard Concert Series with music by Rebecca Rego and the Trainmen


ADLR14Art Dans La Rue
August 5
Along with all the other festivities on the street the Oak Park Art League presented fun and creative activities for all!
12-4pm - Create a Mini-Masterpiece! for kids
4-6pm - Pop-Up Plein A.I.R. (Artists in Residence) paint the street scenes of our "Paris in Oak Park" 
6-9pm - Portrait and figure artists painting & sculpting French-inspired model 

Summer Concert: Ella Gill & Scott Daniel
July 18
A magical evening of music, art and dessert as the Oak Park Art League Summer Concert Series presents singer/songwriter Ella Gill accompanied by award-winning Scott Daniel on fiddle.

July 14
Chicago artist, Tony Tasset, discussed his work Artists Monument, recently featured at the Whitney Museum 2014 Biennial. The multicolored grid of Tasset's sculpture displays the names of 392,486 modern and contemporary artists, ranging from Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol to emerging artists with a single exhibition to their credit. In  partnering big name artists with the nearly unknown, Tasset uses this public monument as an equalizer, artists  alphabetically sequenced and hierarchy dispelled

GUEST LECTURE: Father Zerafa, Recovering the Stolen Caravaggio
May 19
 Father Marius J. Zerafa, the Dominican priest who masterminded the rescue of Caravaggio’s stolen painting St. Jerome Writing, will talk at the Oak Park Art League May 19th. Father Zerafa, who was Director of Museums in Gozo and Malta when the painting was stolen in 1984 from St. John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta, was contacted by the thieves, demanding half a million Maltese lire. He will share his story of the painting’s theft and recovery, while  providing insight on Caravaggio’s masterpieces in Malta.

Spring A.I.R. Benefit
May 16
OPAL hosted its first Artists In Residence Benefit where guests toured the Oak Park home and garden of the historic Caldwell House, designed in 1909 by George. W. Maher. 531 Linden Avenue
while enjoying wine, hors d’oeuvres, and desserts, fine art raffle and notable artists available on-site for quick portraits.