Smile Politely

Urbana Arts Expo: showcasing C-U artists

On Sunday September 18th at the Urbana Civic Center, the Second Annual Urbana Arts Expo will present a juried fine art exhibition of fine art. The Art Expo also serves as means for artists to sell their work and connect with other art-lovers in the community. To get a better idea of what to expect, I asked one of the event organizers, Pauline Tannos of the Urbana Public Arts Program, a few questions about the Art Expo.

Smile Politely: The Urbana Arts Expo is a juried exhibition. Who makes up this jury, and how do they come to their decision(s) on who to exhibit?

Pauline Tannos: The selection committee members were Jason Patterson, local artist and Public Arts Commission member; Kelly White, local artist and 40 North Executive Director; Patricia Samman, Chair of the Public Arts Commission; and Janet Soesbe, board member at 40 North. The group met one afternoon to review all applications based on artistic quality and selected nineteen artists.

SP: How many artists submit their work for consideration? Did you see an increase in submissions from last year’s Expo? 

Tannos: Interest has been strong for both the first and second annual Urbana Art Expo, but this year we see a wider range of artistic styles and media, which is wonderful. In 2015 we had sixteen booths, and we decided to add two more this year to accommodate more artists.

SP: What are you looking forward to the most at this year’s Expo? 

Tannos: The Art Expo is a place where anyone can meet and get to know local and area artists, and vice versa, so I’m excited to see new relationships built and developed as a result of this event. Preparing for an art fair is no easy task for participating artists. It takes so much more than making art! Last year, I was impressed to see the artists’ dedication and passion, which really showed in how they presented their work and interacted with visitors. I think many people will be pleasantly surprised by the wide array of high-quality art that can be found here in Champaign-Urbana and nearby areas.

Rick Larimore is a sculptor who is also a retired wetland ecologist and produce farmer according to his website. His wood pieces range from amorphous shapes to sinuous and recognizable figures with carved details. His work entitled Escape Imminent (no year given) will be at the Urbana Art Expo.

Paula McCarty is a painter and painting instructor who works primarily in oils and acrylics. Her works range from figure studies to still lifes as seen on her website. She has previously exhibited at the Boneyard Arts Festival in 2013 and at the Giertz Gallery in 2015.

Carolina Rodriguez is a previous exhibitor at the Urbana Art Expo. With a background in printmaking, Rodriguez explores the cultures of cities and their aesthetics through art as seen in this article’s featured image. Earlier this year, she exhibited one of her pieces at Illinois Wesleyan University alongside artist Thomas Berenz.

Nathan Westerman is a previous Boneyard Arts Festival participant and exhibitor at the Urbana Art Expo. He currently has an exhibition at the Independent Media Center in Urbana as well. Trained as a sculptor, Westerman also uses other art forms to investigate different ideas and explore new materials as seen in his portfolio of work.

Other artists featured at this year’s expo are: Lisa Kesler, Phil Strang, Michael Owen Thomas (exhibiting for a second year), Anna Williams, Madalyn Motz Davidson, Lynn Hawkinson Smith (exhibiting for a second year), Daniel R. Hadley, Travis Hocutt (exhibiting for a second year and artist in residence at IMC), Rosalind Faiman Weinberg, Jenny Chi, Lori Fuller, Safir Kaylan, Caroline Goldsmith, Allen Creamean (aka Neurotik and exhibiting for a second year), and Debra Domal.

With such an array of talented sculptors, photographers, and painters, be sure to check out the Urbana Art Expo on Sunday September 18 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Urbana Civic Center (108 E. Water Street) on Sunday September 18th. The Urbana Art Expo is a collaboration between the City of Urbana Public Arts Program and 40 North  | 88 West: Champaign County Arts Council

The image of the 2015 Urbana Arts Expo along with the images of artworks by Allen Creamean, Rick Larimore, Paula McCarty, Carolina Rodriguez, and Nathan Westerman are courtesy of Pauline Tannos, the Urbana Arts Expo, and the artists themselves.

Sarah Keim is a contributing writer for Smile Politely’s Arts section. She’s a bit of recluse on social media, but you might bump into her out in the wilds of C-U. Currently, she is celebrating the arrival of a new family member and gearing up for another family wedding.

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