STORIES FROM THE LEAGUE
In October 2016, the Oak Park Art League joined the This Place Matters campaign in partnership with the National Trust for Preservation to bring attention to our historic carriage house and to celebrate our cultural significance through community storytelling.
Share your story about OPAL:
As a young girl I made my way to the art league most every Saturday morning from about 5th grade to 8th grade. That was over forty-five years ago. Those mornings in every/any art class I took made a huge difference in my life. As I write this I can still see the early morning light against the still life arrangements. I felt so at home there.
Cathy Hayes, Architect
My father's (Anthony "Tony" Claps, Artist,1894-1964) dedication to OPAL grew over thirty years (1940s, 50s, 60s). As a member teacher, and board member, OPAL was an important part of his life. Lasting friendships were built in those meetings, classes, shared suppers, and special events. There was a strong sense of family with fellow artists who shared ideas and talents. It may have been a different time in a different world, but the lasting effect of beauty in creation is never ending and was my father's gift.
Mary Angeles Claps
The Oak Park Art League is one of those institutions that ties histories together: its rich past is vital to the story of art in Chicago as well as Oak Park and nearby neighborhoods. Since the early 20th century, as practitioners have settled on the city’s periphery to work as well as live, they have fostered creative communities that are both local in character and intimately connected to the art institutions and associations of the city and beyond. The Art League still links “here” and “there”-- hometown and region—for artists, for art students, and for art-lovers.
Wendy Greenhouse, Art Historian
Oak Park, IL
My mother (Elaine Tatman) always had a very strong interest in the arts and my family was very proud of her when in the early 1980's, once her children were off to college, she decided to take art classes at the Oak Park Art League. It was wonderful to see her fulfill her joy for painting and pursue her love of art. She always spoke highly of OPAL for what she had learned and the creativity, encouragement and guidance OPAL provided through educational programs. My mom passed away in 2009, and there are no items I treasure more than her paintings she completed as gifts for family. It is impossible to entirely convey how much her art means to me.
Joining the figure drawing group at OPAL offered me a weekly opportunity to draw from live models. I was in my 30s and regarded the “old-timers” who had to be in their 60s and 70s, as the real pros. Eventually, I found myself leading the group ....booking the models, setting up the space on the second floor, and gradually becoming the “old-timer.” Now, as I retire from leading the Sunday figure drawing workshop at OPAL, I look back on the experience of the last 40 years as one of the highlights of my artistic life. I will continue to draw people but get a special feeling from looking at the sketchbooks I have filled, identifying the models who have come and gone....part of my great OPAL memories.
Oak Park, IL