Category Archives: Giertz Gallery

Summer Youth Internship at Giertz Gallery

giertz2logoThe Giertz Gallery Summer Internship Program is wrapping up its pilot year. Funded by a Summer Youth Employment in the Arts (SYEA) grant from the Illinois Arts Council, this paid internship offers two recently graduated high school students interested in the arts an opportunity to gain employment skills in an art-related setting to inform their career paths, build self-confidence, and provide a source of income for the summer.

We thoroughly have enjoyed working with our first summer interns, Katie Tabeling and Alexis Walter (above, l. to r.). Katie, a graduate of the High School of St. Thomas More, will be attending Eastern Illinois University in the fall. Alexis, just out of Champaign Centennial High School, will be attending Parkland College this fall.

Our interns assisted the gallery staff with installing artwork for the current exhibition, “Around the Block”; served as gallery monitors; curated and installed a mini-exhibition in the Hospitality corridor; and learned about the care and handling of artwork.  For the Hospitality corridor, they curated a group of artworks from the Student Art Permanent Collection, which has been compiled over the years through the purchase of student artwork to be used as a teaching tool for future Parkland students. The interns also met with art educators to learn about outreach and art education and with Parkland College Marketing and Public Relations staff to learn about graphic design and promotions. Lastly, the two students helped prepare gallery fundraising activities that will occur this fall.

Katie and Alexis recently shared their experiences of being part of the summer exhibition setup and curating the permanent collection display. I have included some of their reflections below.

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Katie

“Getting an internship at Parkland College has given me great insight into what it is actually like to work in a gallery. Working in an environment that allows me to focus my creative energies in a productive way is something I’ve always thought to be an important quality in my future career.

For the summer show, Giertz Gallery, in collaboration with 40 North, organized the exhibition Around the Block: Artists From our Neighborhood. Like the title says, this show embraces art made by local artists in the Champaign-Urbana area and beyond. Being able to meet the artists behind the work gave me insight to their art in a way that a viewer might not get just by looking at the piece. Along with meeting the artists, I was able to meet the juror of the show, Aron Packer. Talking to him and getting to learn about the exhibit gave me more insight into the selection process.

The works chosen complement one another and showcase the talent in our community. Something all the artwork has in common is a strong sense of color. Because of this, the works needed to be arranged in a way that they would enhance one another without overpowering the space. The pieces are arranged by similarities in color, shape, style, and subjects. This allows the viewer to fully enjoy each piece. All of the hard work that went into making the Around the Block exhibit was emphasized by how successful the reception was. It was a great experience getting to meet some of the many people who are keeping the art community in our region alive as well as learning about the process a gallery goes through when preparing for a show.”

interns2
Alexis and Katie prepare to mount the Hospitality corridor art works.

Alexis 

“When Katie and I were asked to help put up some newer artwork on exhibit at Parkland, we knew we had a lot of different locations to choose from. One of the areas available to us was a hallway near the Hospitality program area. So, because this area is close to a kitchen, we decided to look for food-related pieces to include in the exhibit.

After looking at so many different pieces, we finally narrowed it down to eight pieces that we liked and also thought went together. While we kept the theme of food, we were able to include works that were prismacolor, charcoal, graphite, and watercolor. With the help of art history instructor Laura O’Donnell, the collection coordinator for the Giertz Gallery, we got all the pieces matted and ready to hang on the wall. With the help of both Lisa Costello, gallery director, and Ms. O’Donnell, Katie and I managed to put together a cohesive mini-collection for all of Parkland to see!”

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There will be a small curatorial talk by our summer art interns on Wednesday, August 5 at 1:30 p.m. in the Giertz Gallery. This event is free and open to the public. Programs at Giertz Gallery are partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

Welcome to the Maker Movement

In one of his most famous speeches, Robert Kennedy spoke for innovators when he said, “There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why…I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”

Like Mr. Kennedy, there have always been humans discontent with things “the way they are.” They have been called different names—inventor, scientist, artist, daydreamer—but they are all united under the burning question of “why not?”

Sculpture student using a Dremel tool to make a hand sculpture.
Sculpture

Today, many people asking that question have found a home in the Maker Movement. Makers imagine new things, experiment, and bring their ideas to life. They often complete this process in the company of others, as Makers recognize the value of sharing ideas and resources. An intentionally broad and inclusive label, anyone, from amateur to professional, is welcome to call themselves a Maker. According to makerfaire.com, Makers are a “growing community of creative and curious people,” and a “wellspring of innovation.” They are immersed in their desire to solve problems, to add beauty to everyday life, and to fashion a better future.

Parkland art student drawing a still life.
Drawing

Parkland’s Fine and Applied Arts Department offers opportunities to participate in the Maker Movement. In this blog post, we highlight our Art Program, where faculty members—all working artists and definitely Makers—lead classes in which students paint, draw, compose photographs, solder metal, mold clay and otherwise transform lifeless materials. Students get hands-on, experiential learning in fully equipped workshops. They receive the space and time to think creatively and communicate visually. Like the Maker Movement, all students are welcome and encouraged to join.

Parkland student soldering in a metals class.
Metalworking & Jewelry

Giertz Gallery Director and Metals instructor Lisa Costello offers her take on the popularity of the Maker Movement, and its connection to Art courses.

“As human beings, we are not only built to be consumers, but we have a strong desire to be sensitive makers,” she said. “A huge part of our brains are geared toward small motor skills, attention to detail and the need for thoughtful creativity and problem solving. We offer classes that meet these needs.

“Some of our students are interested in eventually setting up their own studio, perhaps selling on Etsy or in galleries; some already have a degree and are looking to expand how they understand the world; and some take the classes as an elective to enrich their educational experience. It is a great time to take an art class and feed that creative desire, no matter where it stems from.”

If you’re intrigued and ready to discover how you fit in to the Maker Movement, or if you’re already a proud Maker, you’ll find the materials and support you seek in Parkland’s Art classes. Register at parkland.edu/admissions, or by calling 217/351-2482. The payment deadline is August 18 for classes beginning August 24.

Classes are available in the following subjects:
Metals,  Drawing, Ÿ 3-Dimensional  Design,  2-Dimensional Design, Photography, Ÿ Painting,  Sculpture,  Ceramics

[Kate Ross is the promotions assistant for Fine and Applied Arts.]

Graphic Design Students Win $1400 in Awards

On Wednesday night at the Parkland Graphic Design Juried Exhibition opening reception, seven very deserving students received $1,400 in cash awards for excellent work.

I could not be prouder of these students who worked hard all year long and gave body, mind, and soul to create these amazing portfolio samples.

Special thanks must go out to this year’s judges who volunteered their time to select the winners: Matt Cho, owner and founder of [co][lab], an experimental collaboration/coworking space in downtown Urbana, and Kurt Bielema, creative director of Single Stereo, a local design studio.

Their job was not easy. Out of 228 entries that were juried into the show by the teaching faculty, their mission was to choose the 14 best pieces to award the cash prizes.

Over 200 industry professionals, alumni, friends, family and students attended the reception (see pictures). At 7 p.m., I took the podium and with microphone in hand, called up each of the winners and congratulated them for their excellent work. Here’s who won:

• Graphic Design Best of Show (Kelli Mikhail, $100):kelli mikhail packaging

 

• President’s Award of Excellence (Gloria Roubal, $100):

gloria roubal

 

• Fine & Applied Arts Department Chair Award
(Catherine Yao, $100):

catherine yao

 

• Graphic Design Program Director’s Award
(Madelyn Witruk, $100):

madelyn witruk

 

• David M. and Shirley A. Jones Student Art Award
(Liza Wynette, $100):

liza wynette

 

• Surface 51 Award of Excellence (Catherine Yao, $100):

catherine yao catalog

 

• Studio 2D Design Strategy Award (Jordan Bidner, $100):

jordan bidner editorial

 

• Six Demon Studio Award for Excellence in Digital Media
(Kelli Mikhail, $100):

kelli-mkhail-motion
View Title Sequence

 

• CUDO Award of Excellence (Kelli Mikhail, $100):

kelli mikhail

 

• [co][lab] Award of Excellence (Dustin Kinkelaar, $100):

dustin-kinkelar
View GIF Animation

 

• Brian Sullivan Award of Excellence (Josiah Peoples, $100):

josiah-peoples
View Website

 

• Golfview Village Award of Excellence (Liza Wynette, $100):whenever-bars-student-show-2015

 

• Heartland Science and Technology Group Award of Excellence
(Liza Wynette, $100):

liza-wynette-animation
View GIF Animation

 

 

• Electric Pictures Award of Excellence (Jordan Bidner, $100):
jordan bidner

The exhibition will be open in our art gallery until June 4. Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m.  to 7 p.m. For more information, visit the Giertz Gallery at Parkland College website.

You can also view the online version of this year’s exhibition by browsing to gds.parkland.edu/pages/exhibition.html.

Paul Young is the program director of Graphic Design at Parkland College.

Graphic Design Student Show Sets New Records

Graphic designers are a strange bunch. We’re creative because we make stuff, like fine artists do. We’re smart because we have to solve our clients’ problems. We’re passionate because it’s competitive out there and one cannot survive without passion. And we like to show off because we’re proud of our work.

So we get very excited every spring when it’s time for the Graphic Design Juried Student Exhibition in the Giertz Gallery at Parkland College. Starting May 11, Parkland’s graphic design students take over our art gallery to showcase their work for the world to see. This year, there will be 194 print entries, 22 web entries and 12 motion graphics entries in the show.

Logo design by Jonny Ashikyan
Logo design by Jonny Ashikyan

 

While this is not the largest show we’ve ever had in the gallery, we’ve set new records this year for the largest number of print and web entries to be showcased. This is a juried show, so only the best work is accepted. This year, the quality of the entries was rather high and we had a hard time editing the show down to the final 228 entries.

Because graphic design is often used for marketing communication, it must sell, inform, as well as entertain. The best graphic design work balances form with function, aesthetics with style, logic with intuition. In the jurying process, we look for examples that are imaginative, surprising, inspiring, distinctive, innovative, unusual, smart and memorable. Evidence of creative problem-solving and a high level of craftsmanship are often rewarded.

Web mock-up by Shannon Martin
Web mock-up by Shannon Martin

 

Last Friday, after the graphic design faculty finished jurying the show, two industry professionals came in and awarded over $1400 in cash prizes to the best work in the show. This year’s judges were Matt Cho, Owner and Founder of [co][lab], an experimental collaboration/coworking space in downtown Urbana and Kurt Bielema, Creative Director of Single Stereo, a local design studio.

“I was particularly impressed by the quality and range of projects, which made choosing projects to award very challenging,” Cho said. “All the students should be proud of their hard work, and I encourage everyone to keep stretching creatively.”

Kurt Bielema added, “I was blown away by the creativity and great concepts I saw. There are definitely some amazing talents graduating this year from Parkland.”

Packaging by Catherine Yao
Packaging by Catherine Yao

 

The winners of these awards will be announced at the upcoming opening reception on Wednesday, May 13 at 7pm. Here are the full details:

Paul Young is the program director of Graphic Design at Parkland College.

What goes up must come down! New exhibition in the Giertz Gallery

Gallery helpers remove vinyl lettering to make room for new exhibit title.

The incoming work sits in gallery storage until it is time to install the show during installation week. The gallery puts a “Closed for Installation” sign on the door, and our tool carts appear along with our ladder. We “spot the show,” which is museum jargon for designing the exhibition and placing the artwork. We make measurements, let our hammers fly, place vinyl signage and labels, mount artist statements on the wall, and add lighting to the works. Hopefully, the dust settles before we open our doors on Monday morning!

Have you seen the latest exhibit in Parkland College’s Giertz Gallery? It features large-scale paintings by Wisconsin artist Tom Berenz. Berenz is a busy artist with a lot of exhibits on his resume. His artwork is full of contradictions, both in terms of formal elements and content. His artist statement says it best: “I am interested in blurring the lines between realism and abstraction, life and death, beauty and horror, devastation and sublime. Everything we live with as Americans is delicately balanced—the cars (magic carpets/death traps), houses (castles/prisons), and wilderness (paradise/oblivion).”

Art work being inspected
Large canvas in crate (upside down and wrapped in plastic) being inspected upon delivery

I look forward to giving tours and being able to hear interpretations coming from our students on the exhibits. I have already overheard some students analyzing Berenz’s work and disagreeing! One says, “The work captures the moment in time immediately after an explosion; you can see things settling in the aftermath!” and another says, “I see litter and the damage that we do to our environment. Also, it looks like a picnic. Is that a watermelon?” It will be interesting to read what they write in their papers!

I hope you are able to visit the gallery, enjoy the work, and draw your own conclusions.

Presently Absent: Works by Tom Berenz will be on exhibit at the Giertz Gallery at Parkland College now through March 31. The gallery is always free, and everyone is welcome. For more information about the gallery visit www.parkland.edu/gallery and sign up for our email updates.