The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

August 4, 2013

Royal Ball a hit with young artists


Shiver me timbers! The Casa Royal Ball was a wonderful event! All of the effort put into the creation each year really pays off in absolute wonderment, as it turns into an enchanted and beautiful fairy, princess, and pirate land. The children have so many things to do while there.

The Danville Art League sets up each year with an art project for the children. This year, using beads that were handmade at the Danville Art League, the children were able to create necklaces or bracelets. I think that the people who participated in this year’s event from the DAL really did an outstanding job, and the children loved their jewelry creations.

My job, along with Peyton Dunavan and Stacey Draper, on Friday night, and myself, Peyton Dunavan and Kristen Rew on Saturday night, was to draw the princesses, fairies, and the occasional pirate. We certainly think we did a good job. Stacey was a last-minute helper, as was Kristen, but they were both great. One thing I found amazing was that more children sat very still for longer periods of time than ever before. Perhaps it was magical?

One adorable little fair-haired girl sat up in the chair and proceeded to slide right off. As she clambered back up onto the chair, someone asked her if she was ready to have her picture drawn. Her response, rather fearfully, was “Will it hurt?” I think when she heard the word “drawn” she associated it with “having blood drawn.” Needless to say, it didn’t hurt her at all and she was pleased. We have been charging $10 for each drawing as it takes a bit of time and the money goes to CASA. One child sat down and said she wanted her picture drawn. About halfway through, she must have heard something about the cost because her mouth opened wide and she said “Oh, it costs money?” The picture was finished anyway.

I believe the Royal Ball was a sellout. Kudos to Roxy Reed as she masterminds the entire thing and who, I believe, doesn’t sleep until the whole thing is over. Yes, she has many helpers, but when the going gets tough, they all go to Roxy.

Does art change?

Here’s a question for you. Do you think art changes as the world changes, and why? You don’t have to be an artist to answer this question. My e-mail is Please send me your answers and perhaps why you think it will change and what the changes may be.

I cannot wait to read your responses. I will put them into the next article if I receive some, so please feel free to contribute your answer or insight.

Studio expands

Big announcement: the Pottery Studio is expanding! There will be all new sculpting and carving equipment, as well as three new pottery wheels. There will also be more studio space for the Pottery Studio. See what I mean about a big announcement?

Robbi Rew is heading this wonderful second beginning and she is totally stoked about how well it is coming along. Andrew Dudich, another clay genius, also is leading this expansion. They are still waiting for the pottery wheels to arrive, but it shouldn’t be too long. Before long there will be samples of what can be created with clay upstairs where visitors sign in.

Prices for different classes have not been determined, with the exception of a few. There will be a six-week hand building class in which four projects can be completed. An example is making a “Garden Mask” and another is a fall leaf project. You can use what you create as dishes or to hang on the wall.

Art for children

At this very moment, even as I type these words, there is something else wonderful happening at the Danville Art League. Right now, the Summer Art Camp for Children is going on, with the first two weeks concentrating on painting and sculpting, and this week the children are drawing. Having worked with Kem Wiggens the first year of the camp, I know how hard she works. She might be very, very, extremely short, but she is excellent at management skills and getting things done. That’s why she is heading the Summer Art Camp for Children.

This week’s class is all about drawing, which I love, and is running smoothly. The projects being worked on should remain with the children for years, as they require so much imagination. This is something that all of the children who love art seem to come equipped with. Does anyone reading this know what “gesture drawing” is? The children at the drawing camp this week have worked on it. I want you to look it up online and learn something new. You may even want to try it.

Upcoming events

— Aug. 6 — Debbie Anderson’s wood pieces will be up in the gallery.

— Sept. 7 — Cynthia Kukla’s watercolors will be in the gallery from Sept. 7 until the end of October.

— We are asking parents to please register their children for the children’s art classes, which will be Sept. 17 to Oct. 22. These include both the after-school art classes and the home-school classes. I am welcoming my children back to the after-school classes, as I know the home-school teachers are awaiting the arrival of their students.

— Kem “Shortstuff” will teach a beginning drawing class from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Mondays from Sept. 17 to Oct. 22.

— Carol Garver will teach a beginning watercolor class on Monday nights, Sept. 16 to Oct. 21.

— Roberta Williams will teach a continuing watercolor class on Saturday afternoons, beginning in October.

— Cynthia Kukla, a teacher at Illinois State University, will teach a Saturday watercolor workshop from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 7.

We will have a wire wrapping class and colored pencil class, but the details are not set yet.

As you can see, we are busy. We want you to be busy with us. Join the Danville Art League. Come in and see the gallery when there are exhibits, get in tune with your inner artist (and yes, you may have one undiscovered as yet).

I will leave you with a quote: “When your legs are shorter, you have to run twice as fast.” No, I am kidding.

The real quote is from Leonardo da Vinci; “Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.” Art rocks!

Eileen Dunavan is a member of the Danville Art League. Her column appears once a month.