Art Is In the Air: McKendree University Gallery of Art

Contributing Writer
Photo Credit: Benjamin Richter
Photo Credit: Benjamin Richter

The McKendree University Gallery of Art, located on St. Louis Street of Lebanon, first opened in November of 2012. Since its grand opening, the gallery has been the spot to view the artwork of local and prospective artists from the region.  The gallery is free to the public and is open from Thursday to Saturday from 1 to 4 PM.  As stated in Professor MacLennan’s initial article, published with the McKendree Review in the first issue of the year, there were 53 pieces on display at the annual event of “Get Out! Paint Out!” back in August. These pieces (you can also view a few portraits on the McKendree Review’s website) were painted by artists from around the area during the event. ”Get Out! Paint Out!” featured 24 individuals who came with canvases in hand and were sent out into the scenery of Lebanon.  Popular sights captured included the Lebanon water tower, the new McKendree fountain, The Hills Golf Course and Horner Park.

As a refresher, the show was based on the theme “en plein air,” which means “in the open air.”—the most common phrase used to describe the act of painting outdoors.  Famous and influential artists such as Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet and Mary Cassatt all had created works of art using the outdoors as their own personal studios.

I asked several McKendree students who had never been to the gallery to stop by.  Here is what two of them had to say:

Becca McKee said, “I thought the gallery had a lot of awesome pieces with several varieties of techniques that could easily be seen between each artist and their works. It was cool to see what people around the community are capable of.”

Hilary Richter said, “I enjoyed the gallery. I liked seeing all of the pieces of Lebanon.  I’m a fan of real life work and being able to compare the piece the artist had created to its real life counterpart is an interesting aspect to the show.”

The show had its reception on Aug. 21.  Between Aug. 14 and 21, anybody who viewed the show got to vote for their favorite pieces.  Taking home first place in the People’s Choice Awards was St. Louis artist Henryk Ptasiewicz with his painting entitled “Lebanon Portofino.” Margaret Von Karnel won second and McKendree University Communications Professor, Dr. Betsy Gordon, took third place with her watercolor of flowers blooming in front of Carnegie.

Sept. 27 was the last day in which the “Get Out! Paint Out!” artwork was displayed at the gallery.

The gallery will be hosting two more shows within the next few months.  Indianapolis artist Crystal Vicars-Pugh will have her series of paintings entitled “Submerge and Surface” on display from Oct. 9 until the 25.  A date for the reception will be announced.

The shows following “Submerge and Surface” will be “Then and Now: Collodion work by Susan Bryant.” Her photographs will be on display Oct. 29 until Nov. 22.  A reception with the artist will be held at the gallery on Oct. 30 from 4 to 7 PM.  Susan Bryant will be visiting campus Oct. 28, 29 and 30. Contact Amy MacLennan at if you would like Ms. Bryant to speak to your class or group about her artistry.


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