Ellison was born in Galesburg, Illinois. In his early years, he considered himself a 2D artist. In 2000, he was accepted to Bradley University’s studio program. While at Bradley, he was encouraged by his instructors to concentrate on ceramics. Ellison began his work as a 27-year old transfer student with three small children. He worked on art commissions, earning enough income to support his family. As a student, he received Best In Show with his ceramic sculpture, Waiting on Trains. Ellison received a bachelor of arts degree in Fine Arts. Ellison created various painted and ceramic public murals and collaborated on public works with other artists. He taught for schools and organizations such as Illini Bluffs Elementary, Urban League, Peoria Art Guild, and the Peoria Museum. He was invited to join a traveling group of visual artists known as Satellite City Transmissions. Ellison has exhibited his work in Peoria, Chicago, and Indiana.
Many of Ellison’s public art murals can be seen in the region, such as Illini Bluffs, Northmoore Elementary, YWCA of Peoria, Galesburg High School, and Bradley University. His work is a part of Western Illinois University’s permanent collection where he won the Union Purchase Award for his drawing, Out of this World. Ellison's work is available for purchase in the BCA gift shop.
Blum has responded to the beauty of Nature throughout my career as an artist. This response has been incorporated into many continuing and wide-ranging themes in his work which include the effects of global warming, the cycles of nature in volcano eruptions and lava flows, the majestic forms of mountains and canyons, and the serene calm of Japanese landscapes and gardens. His travel to Asia and my research of Asian art and culture have had a profound impact on his work over a period of many years.
Mary Ann McNeil, owner of DeZigns By M, is a second career entrepreneur who has always been passionate about fashion design. More specifically, she enjoys accessorizing outfits with unique jewelry. It is her passion that has led her to start-up her own jewelry design business. As you will discover from the jewelry and scarves for sale in the gift shop at the Buchanan Center for the Arts, her diversity of designs varies enough to accommodate the most conservative to the most exotic outfits. The slides/pendants are one-of-a-kind, and all of the button earrings have a slide to go with them when they were created. For many years, Mary Ann has been involved with art and design for both business and pleasure, and their history and development. Multiple artists and designers inspired her to start, to be creative, and to develop her skills. She uses different techniques and creates her own as well.
Matt Moyer earned a bachelor of fine arts degree in ceramics with a minor in graphic design from Illinois State University. Between undergraduate and graduate school, he served as Artist in Residence at the Herbert Hoover National Historical site in West Branch, Iowa, as part of the National Park Service Artist in Residence Program. He earned a master of fine arts in ceramics with a minor in sculpture from the University of Missouri. While at the University of Missouri he was a Studios Midwest resident in Galesburg, Illinois, traveled abroad, and served as Artist in Residence at The Tainan National University of the Arts. Matt Moyer's creative research takes him in several different directions at any given time. He ranges from creating functional pottery to mixed media ceramic sculpture to large outdoor welded steel installations. All his work is firmly rooted within traditional craft as it pertains to both art and skilled trades, and all facets of his creative work have a decidedly industrial sensibility. This stems from his blue-collar upbringing in Moline, Illinois.
Dr. Lawrence A. Wiedman, PhD, is a landlocked Midwesterner who grew up in Northeastern Indiana to be a marine paleo-ecologist specializing in oceanic invertebrates (animals with no backbone) especially coral and how to tell if a reef is healthy and happy. A self-taught wood carver since 1980, he has developed a folk art style depicting in each of his pieces whimsy and a sense of motion and attitude that mimics his unique perspective on nature. Smiles are the reaction he strives for from people who view his art. For the past 25 years, he has taught geology and marine biology while directing the Environmental Science Programs at the University of Saint Francis in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Prior to this he was the Chair of the Department of Geology at Monmouth College and taught at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.
Lori Reed was born on a farm outside of Galesburg, Illinois and spent most of her adult life as a Galesburg resident where she ran a graphic design business. She received her BFA from the University of Illinois. She’s been making mixed media collages for the past 13 years and has used photos as the basis of her work since 2009. Nature inspires Lori in her work and her daily life.
After searching through her photos for one that inspires her, she makes several digitally altered variations (giving the images painterly, sketchy or scratched looks). She cuts prints of the photos into strips and builds the scene with sections from each of the altered photos. Sometimes she adds in pieces of handmade papers, topographical maps, text, or fragments from old ledger books to further abstract the scene. Lori feels she’s moving from a photographic documentation of a place at a particular time to an impression of a place that is timeless—more of a memory or a feeling of the space. Her work is available for sale in BCA’s Gift Shop and James Keefe Gallery.
As Linda Sickmon was beginning to think about retiring from her 30 years as a hairdresser, she realized that she would have time to explore her interest in clay. She found a community class that the Buchanan Center for the Arts was sponsoring at Monmouth College and signed up. There was no looking back. Totally consumed is what she became.
Sickmon attended the class for several years under the training of Monmouth College Professor Cheryl Meeker who was gracious enough to teach her more than the average community student, for which she is so grateful.
Michael Godsil was born and raised in Galesburg, Illinois, and is a graduate of Knox College. He is in his 32nd year of teaching photography and digital photography in the Department of Art & Art History at Knox College. His personal, creative photography is primarily of landscapes, nature details, and architectural subjects. In addition to using current digital camera equipment, Godsil still occasionally uses a large format, 4" x 5" field camera, or a medium format camera with analog black & white film and traditional darkroom processes.
As a child growing up in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains in New York State’s textile-rich Mohawk Valley region, Betsy Johnston wove countless potholders and throw rugs. After graduation from SUNY Oneonta, she lived in Dublin, Ireland, where she was introduced to weaving. She continued weaving in Manhattan’s garment district and subsequently became an award winning juried artist. When not at work as a Registered Nurse or biking long distances, Betsy can be found at one of her four looms, Janome sewing machine, spinning wheel, or knitting, crocheting, or doing bead work. Johnston’s work is available for purchase in our BCA gift shop.
Jerry Granaman started taking photographs in the mid 70s with a used camera and a roll of black and white film. It was love at first sight when the film was developed. Photography is a hobby that he never tires of, as there is always something new to learn and ways to improve his work. Twenty years ago, he walked into the French Quarter in New Orleans and another love affair started—this time with a city. Combining the two worked out well, as he was able to enjoy the many wonders of New Orleans while working on his photography skills. To this day, he attempts to build a photographic record to convey the passion and love he has for New Orleans, the French Quarter, and the artistic, Bohemian, and Caribbean influenced lifestyles the city offers.
Peggy West holds a certificate in Botanical Art & Illustration from the Morton Arboretum and studied intaglio printmaking at Western Illinois University. She was a resident at the Prairie Center for the Arts in Peoria in the spring and summer of 2016. Her original illustrations and prints are included in the collections of Ball Seed Company, the Western Illinois University Art Museum, Prairie State Winery, and private collections. She has exhibited throughout Illinois, Wisconsin, and Missouri, and in 2016 launched collaborative exhibits at the Foster Gallery for Christianity and the Fine Arts in Peoria and the Buchanan Center for the Arts in Monmouth.
Miriam McAuley grew up in East Africa surrounded by diverse, beautiful tribes. Through this experience she gained an appreciation and respect for learning about people and their cultures. From the time she could hold a crayon, she was drawing scenes from her life and imagination. Early on she saw her art as imitating and honoring God as the master artist. She also had a love of photography passed down from family members who inspired her to capture life on film when she couldn’t draw it quickly enough. Most of her drawings and photographs celebrate people, as she believes people are God’s highest creation and worthy of study. Through her drawings she hopes to communicate to others their inherent worth and the beauty of their diversity.
Knowing that she wanted to return to Africa to live and work, McAuley studied at Dordt College in northwestern Iowa, receiving a BA in fine studio arts, as well a minor in psychology. She believed the combination of these disciplines would be useful in cross-cultural work. One of her goals after university was to travel, especially to places where she could use her new camera. She has done just that - a semester in the Middle East, a summer in Italy, and visits to her home in Africa provided some of these opportunities. From 2014-2016, she settled amongst a very traditional people, the Samburu of northern Kenya. Joining in the arts of the Samburu, through many hours spent threading beads and asking questions, McAuley strove to learn how art communicates culture and affirms the beauty of her Samburu neighbors. She also discovered that drawing came in handy in language study as she sketched pictures to help her gain vocabulary. From drawing her new friends to photographing their colorful world, McAuley delighted in interacting cross culturally through her art. McAuley is currently living in Illinois, preparing to begin a one-year artist residency in North Africa. While there, she hopes to learn more about the traditional art forms of a new culture, as well as spending time developing her own artistic skills. McAuley's work is available for purchase in our BCA gift shop.
McAuley is currently living in Illinois, preparing to begin a one-year artist residency in North Africa. There she hopes to learn more about the traditional art forms of a new culture, as well as spend time developing her own skills. During this one-year residency, she will have the opportunity to be mentored by working artists, learn from traditional artisans (opportunities for tile work, weaving, embroidery, metal work, calligraphy etc.) and further develop her own style of work. This will involve studio time as well as time spent out in various communities sketching and interacting with local people. A few months of language study once arriving in North Africa will better prepare her for these interactions. McAuley is hosting “Africa Bound”, a fundraiser and art auction, to raise funds for her artist residency. Join us 6-9pm Thursday, November 2 at the BCA for a night of refreshments, coloring, a silent auction for artwork by McAuley and friends, and a peek into more of McAuley’s artwork! Donations accepted in cash or check please, made out to Miriam McAuley.
"Folk Artists are more intent on conveying a message to the public at large, be it the religious nature of man, the joys of life, or more poignantly, the emotional and social distress they harbor. For the Folk Artist, meaning precedes technique." -- The Dial Fall/Winter 2007
Susan Van Kirk has deep roots in the Midwest. The rich history of the Galesburg-Monmouth area has influenced her sense of place in her Endurance Mysteries, however, she never dreamed of becoming a writer. Instead, her passion was teaching, and she taught on the high school and college level for forty-four years. Her first book, The Education of a Teacher (Including Dirty Books and Pointed Looks), was inspired by a college student’s suggestion that she publish one of her teaching stories. Teacher Magazine bought that first story, and Van Kirk decided she enjoyed writing and should pursue it.
Rev. Dr. B. Kathleen Fannin grew up in a military family that moved often. She earned her B.A. in Sociology, Psychology, and Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin. Her Master of Theological Studies was received from Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. Her Doctor of Ministry was earned at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D. C. Her varied career includes time spent as a Park Ranger (Archaeologist) with the U.S. National Park Service, an economic developer, and a college chaplain. She is the author of seven books, including Paper Trail: Letters from the Civil War (2013), Reverence & Revelry: Remembering God at College (2009), Wonder & Other Life Skills: Spiritual Life Retreats for Young Adults Using the Creative Arts (2007), and Light Running: Poems for All Seasons (2010).
Carine Brown was born and raised in Singapore, and moved to Illinois in 1997. Nature and color have always fascinated her, and she uses watercolor as a medium in a slightly impressionistic fashion. Some of her pieces also include collage which gives a new dimension to her work. Her subject matter varies and includes landscapes, people, birds, bamboos, flowers and abstracts. Brown's work is available in the BCA Artisan Gift Shop.
Heath McPherson was born and raised in Snow Camp, North Carolina. He moved to Iowa to study Animal Science at Iowa State University and worked during his college years as a freelance livestock photographer and videographer. In college, he met his wife Lisa and they currently reside in Danville, Iowa, with their four children Hayleigh, Hayden, Liam, and Lorelei. In 2013, after winning Best in Show at the Des Moines County Open Photography Contest, McPherson began to make his prints available to the public. His work captures unique perspectives found in nature as well as Midwestern history, and is available for purchase in the BCA gift shop. Find out more about Heath and his work on Facebook.
Mary Schuytema was born in Monmouth, Illinois. She works predominantly in the medium of clay but also uses metal, fibers, and paint in her work. Schuytema completed an MFA with distinction at Miami University of Ohio in 1990, and has had solo shows in Cincinnati, Ohio, Galesburg, Illinois, and was a participant in “Six Women, Six Words” at the Buchanan Center for the Arts.
She has run Chickenscratch Pottery since 1993, taught Art History at Hill Correctional Center, and is an Education Developer for a large art supply company. Most recently, Mary has begun teaching art workshops in various media in the Monmouth, Macomb, and Burlington areas through her business “Art Time Out”. Check out more about Mary's artwork in her website.
Barbara Toner was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but has lived in Bettendorf, Iowa, for more than 30 years. She discovered the lure of fused glass creation after her retirement, first dabbling in jewelry, then mosaics and plates, and finally coral and floriform bowls. She enjoys the process of putting together coral bowls because each bowl is a surprise and unique, and each floriform has a beauty all its own, depending on how it folds. Glass has become a passion for Toner, and she can't wait to see what it calls her to create next. Toner's work was selected as part of the Buchanan Center for the Arts 64 Arts National Juried Exhibition in 2016 and is available for purchase in the BCA gift shop. You can find more information about Toner and her work on her website or on Facebook.