No, that's not a typo in the headline. This month's list of picks is all about visual art.  As the semester and the arts calendar begins to wind down, take some time to enjoy these experiences before they're gone. It's a diverse list, filled with opportunities to to view graphic design work through the lens of an art gallery, visit and learn from makers in their own studios, and best of all, to make some art yourself.  In the spirit of the spring season, may you find renewal and inspiration in the appreciation and creation of art. 

Parkland College Graphic Design Student Show

Every spring the Parkland College Graphic Design program showcases the best of their best at a juried exhibition of student work in the Giertz Gallery. This year is particuarly important, and bittersweet, as it marks the retirement of program director and visionary Paul Young.  When done well, design is invisible to the untrained eye. This "commerical" art or "trade" has often been undervalued. The exhibition of graphic design work in a traditional fine art space is an intentional choice inspired by the desire to elevate the field of graphic design and those who work in it. Graphic design is more than logos and business cards. This show will feature illustration, branding, print, and digital media design. If you can, stop by the opening night reception and catch the awards ceremony (at 6:30 p.m.), followed by a gallery talk and tour by Paul Young.  All this and a musical performance by Ms. M and the Jokers.  

Parkland College Graphic Design Student Show
Giertz Gallery at Parkland College
2400 W Bradley Ave, Champaign
May 13th through May 30th
Opening reception: Wednesday, May 15th, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Photo from Parkland College Graphic Design Program Facebook Page


 

Wood Type Poster Workshop with Lisa Kesler

Wood type posters. You've seen them. You've admired them. You may have even bought one. Now it's finally time for you to make one yourself. Join local printmaker extraordinaire Lisa Kesler for this 3-hour workshop that is well worth the trip to Tolono. I've had the chance to work with wood type myself, and the tactile physicality of the process is so satisfying, particularly when so many of our experiences our digital. Stay tuned to the arts section next week to catch my interview with Kesler in her studio space. 

Wood Type Poster Workshop with Lisa Kesler
Saturday, May 18th, 1 to 4 p.m. 
Lisa Kesler Studio
117 E Main St, Tolono
Fee:  $75 (includes all materials)
Register online

Photo from Lisa Kesler Studio Facebook Page
 

Reduction Block Printing Workshop with Lisa Kesler

Reductive block printing is not for the faint of heart. The process entails a gradual cutting away of print details from the block material. Make a print, cut/expose another element, make another print. In this sequential workflow there's no turning back. Step away from the impluse to "undo" or "redo" (intential digital process reference) and embrace the "go with the flow" essence of this process. You'll end up with a unique series of prints comprising your very own special edition. Be brave, take a deep breath and let the masterful Lisa Kesler guide you through what printers fondly call "suicide printing." 

Reduction Block Printing Workshop with Lisa Kesler
Saturday, May 25th, 1 to 5 p.m.
Lisa Kesler Studio
117 E Main St, Tolono
Fee:  $75 (includes all materials)
Register online

Photo from the Lisa Kesler Studio Facebook Page
 

Make art at the Urbana's Downtown Get Down 

Downtown Urbana is having a moment. And it looks that moment's getting lots of momentum.  Case in point, Urbana's Downtown Get Down.  While there'll be a lot of great music to enjoy, yours truly is particularly psyched about the art-making opportunties.  This edition of UDGD features a live art demo from The Common Mind, Urbana Free Library's Teen Maker Lab, and chances to chat with and support local artists and makers. 

Urbana's Downtown Get Down
Downtown Urbana
Saturday, May 25th, 5 to 8 p.m., free ( but bring $ to buy art)
Check out future dates here

Photo from Urbana Public Arts Facebook Page
 

Get inspired by local art in unexpected places

It's May in Champaign-Urbana, and that means the big-ticket visual arts events (Boneyard Arts Festival, Urbana Arts Expo, many of the exhibitions at Krannert Art Museum) are behind us or ending soon. The good news is that now you can focus on the hidden art gems (like Kelly Hieronymus' new installation at Weiskamp Screen Printing's Lightbox) around town. Our town is filled with art in public spaces, both indoors and outsides. So next time you're in your favorite coffee spot, or taking a walk the park, or taking a meeting at Lodgic, slow down and enjoy the art, get inspired, and maybe make something yourself. 

Photo of Kelly Hieronymus' new installation at Weiskamp Screen Printing's Lightbox window gallery courtesy of 40 North.