Boneyard Arts Festival marked its 20th anniversary last weekend and Smile Politely was there for it. Back to its pre-pandemic three-day schedule, Boneyard 2022 boasted over 70 venues and hundreds artists and makers. Our recap is by no means comprehensive. But we hope you will enjoy our combined “snapshot” of the weekend, in text and image. To get more post-Boneyard pics, search #boneyard2022 on Instagram. (DD)
Boneyard Art Market (BAM!)
After interviewing Anna Gutsch about this year’s Boneyard Art Market, we had to check out the artists and makers, and of course, Art Coop’s marbling demo.
Boneyard Art Market
Lincoln Square Mall
Before and after I was making a trip down to Downtown Urbana to visit the opening party for the new Watson’s food truck at Rose Bowl, I was popping in and out of the Cohen Building to take in their Boneyard offerings on Saturday. In the front area of the building, you could find jewelry and illustrations by Loren Made and Heart You Goods, alongside some wears on display from Dandelion and artwork by Dandy Blue Studio. It offered a very colorful and pleasant way to start my entry to the building, as I would soon be seeing more colorful work wandering about the rest of the space.
Enter Soundscapes: their visual artists worked to project their work on a variety of surfaces throughout the two stories. I was also happy to finally be able to visit the building, which Andy did a really excellent piece about not too long ago. The bank vault! So cool. The potential for this space is really exciting, and to see it utilized in this way for Boneyard was awesome. Later in the evening, there was live music throughout. I managed to catch cellist Briar Schlenker performing experimental and classical pieces, a DJ Disco Phil after that, and some more artwork by Sean Wilkinson and Blackmau in the basement, a much more raw space than the upstairs. The performance upstairs was headlined by Michael Linder and Anthony Santerelli’s project Puddles, complete with a horn section Louie Pappas, Nate Hahn. Their tunes quickly started a dance party and paired with the visualizations, it was really something. I would highly recommend checking out one of their shows if you soon have an opportunity.
Overall, the space was well suited for what Jonah Weiskopf and Matt Harsh (and many others that worked together to make that happen) envisioned and executed. Bonus points to being able to take drinks purchased next door at Sakura into the show space. I’m certainly looking forward to future shows and events in this space by Soundscapes and any number of other who pursue this newly available Downtown Urbana venue. (PS)
136 Main St
Gallerie 112’s group exhibit featured” works in sculpture, papier-mâché, acrylic, steel, urethane, Plexiglass, aluminum, resin, and light,” and included work by Al Creamean (Neurotik), Crystal Hartman, Damaris Sky, EKAH Gregory Stallmeyer, Kelly Hieronymus Whiting, Nathan Westerman, Rob Vermillion, and, William C. Baker
112 E University
Illini Union Art Gallery
Don’t worry, Champaign-Urbana. Your future entrepreneurs, designers, engineers, artists, and influencers were on full display at this year’s Eric Show, the 13th annual juried high school art show endowed by Dale and Magaret Steffensen in memory of Dale’s son Eric. First place winner Guang Tian Chen’s (University Laboratory High School, instructor Lisa Evans) The Sun Shines Gold on Chinatown, is a masterpiece of precision with “just” a marker and paper. It has to be seen to be believed. Best in Show went to Amelia Case’s (The High School of St. Thomas More, instructor Deborrah Pagel) oil on canvas, The Orange, a stunning work with detailed shadows and colors in what looks like an effortlessly simple painting. But as any artist will tell you, the more lifelike the images, the more time and talent it takes. Second and third places went to Marissa Altaner (Champaign Central, instructors: Jade Browning, Carol-Lynn Comparetto, Shane Rodems, Tara Starling & Enrika Stulpinate) for Altaner’s creative stuffed fabric and faux fur piece Portobello The Forest Guardian and to Ryan Boyd-Sharpe’s (University Laboratory High School, instructor Lisa Evans) stunning acrylic on paper Koi Pond.
What stood out the most, perhaps, was the sheer variety of art, artists, and represented schools. Of course, Urbana, Central, and Centennial were well-represented with outstanding entries and honorable mentions. But there were other young artists from around the district including Arcola High School (instructor, Alex Lugo), Danville High School (instructors Michaela Gomez & Melissa Greenhalgh), Hoopeston Area High School (instructor, Natalie Rayfield), and Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School (instructor, Emily Wood) among others who remind us of the rich contribution arts education makes to our community. These young adults have more than artistic talent; they demonstrate a commitment to creative thinking and a visionary response to the social and environmental challenges we face. Too many notable entries to list here, but of particular note to this reviewer was MaryBeth Franey’s (High School of St. Thomas More) ceramic in clay and glaze, Lifetime Library, and Gwen Happ’s (Heritage School District, instructor Julia Hermosillo) Honorable Mention embroidery on book paper, Nature Under Pressure. (AP)
Illini Union Art Gallery
401 W Green St
Lincoln Square Mall
Boneyard Art Market wasn’t all that was happening at Lincoln Square Mall. We stopped at Made in Urbana to meet the crabs and check out their modeling demos.
International Galleries was also showing new work by Sasha Rubel and pop culture-themed Tarot cards by Deborah Stewart.
Urbana Free Library
If you walked into the Urbana Free Library last weekend, you would’ve inevitably come upon a large case displaying dozens of beautiful glass jewelry works. While most pieces were not much larger than a quarter in diameter, each was radiating their own unique vibrance. Some works had colors laced into neat layers or peppermint style patterns, while others were a free range of complementary tones and hues. Even considering how many different designs there were, every splash, streak and swirl within the glass felt like it was meant to be exactly where it was.
The impressive collection on display was not all created by one individual, or a couple of professionals, but instead six local teenagers: Terrence McCray, John Smith, Tajhae Dorsey-Wardlow, Makel Bell, Kanye Hite, and Lamarion Pettigrew. The teens, aged 14 to18, are members of D.R.E.A.A.M. (Driven to Reach Academic Excellence & Academic Achievement for Males) which worked in collaboration with glass artist Jason Mack to teach the basics of glass art and provide space for the teens to create their own works.
While the finished products on display were exhibit-worthy, the artists themselves could tell you that the process to reach that final product was not an easy one. When asked about the learning curve in such an art form, John Smith and Makel Bell, two artists that I had the pleasure of speaking with, shared the same sentiment of difficulty and trial and error in the beginning. “It was harder than I thought it would be,” said Bell when reflecting on his first lesson with Mack. He described the glass as “hot Playdoh” that was tiring to work with after a time. Smith added that to learn how to make art from the glass, the group started with making marbles and just “trying new ideas until it got better.”
Whether it was through the teaching of Mack, the talent of the artists, or a little bit of both, it certainly got better. The struggle to make marbles, with time and practice, became the ability to craft necklaces and other ornate accessories. With their art on display for the city to see as part of the Boneyard Arts Festival, the Smith and Bell got to enjoy their work and consider what their favorite parts of the whole process were. For Smith, the moments of greatest reward were from “the challenge and going through trial and error.” In the case of Bell, he was “proud to display the art” to the public through not only the art festival, but also his attire. Bell, who sometimes wears Crocs, had created “Croc buttons” that could be attached to his shoes, making the art a piece of his outfit. The difference in favorite aspects of the process between the two says a lot about the artistic journey, and though the journey may be over for now, the artists each had things they can keep with them forever. Along with the timeless art, Smith and Bell cited the “knowledge, experience and fun” in addition to simply “trying new things” as major takeaways, making it a thoroughly worthwhile event. (MB)
Urbana Free Library
210 W Green St
Whatever She Imagines; Nuances in Cultural Identity featured work from Chabeli Duran, Ti’Andrea Jones, Ellie Lee, and Christine Piolet. The digital drawings had a central theme of expressing their personal experiences with cultural identity and what that means to them. All artists used words, whether as a part of the drawings themselves or as accompanying poetry, to help tell their stories in an impactful way. RICE, by Ellie Lee, is a series of graphics with the main character representing her identity. She writes and draws some of what she has experienced growing up in America as a Korean-American. Like all pieces in this exhibit, it was beautiful and thought provoking. (AL)
March 31st-March 15th
1001 S Wright St