The Parkland College Blog

"Beneath a Summer Sky: Watercolors by Carol Carter" at Parkland Gallery

Watercolor exhibit and special workshop at Giertz Gallery

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"Beneath a Summer Sky: Watercolors by Carol Carter" will open Monday, June 6 and run through July 28 at the Giertz Gallery at Parkland College.

The exhibit features paintings from St. Louis artist Carol Carter and is accompanied by a special watercolor workshop from June 14 to June 16, sponsored by the Barbara and Terry England Endowment for Watercolor Arts Instruction, led by Carter and focusing on her approach to the medium. For more information or to register for the workshop, please visit

An artist reception will be held on Thursday, June 16 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. with live music. Carter will give a gallery talk at 6:15 p.m. As with all Giertz Gallery programs, the exhibit, reception, and lecture are free and open to the public. For more information about the gallery and additional programming for the exhibition, please visit

Inspired by current events and her personal experiences, Carol Carter uses nature and the human figure as recurring themes throughout her work. Her preference for saturated color and larger scales contributes to an intensity or tension in her paintings. These works can be seductive, powerful, and sometimes strangely disquieting. The exhibition includes portraits of some of the many dogs adopted during the pandemic. These portraits of loyal canine companions bring to light the extra love and support animals provided (and continue to provide) throughout the psychological toll of isolation people endured during the pandemic. 

"We are excited to have Carol's work, which is so appropriate for the summer, in the gallery," said Giertz Gallery Director Lisa Costello. "Her work is timely and provocative. We are equally excited that she has agreed to teach a workshop. So many people in the community have wanted watercolor instruction, and we are fortunate to have this opportunity. It's wonderful that we have the support of the Barbara and Terry England Endowment for Watercolor Arts Instruction to host this workshop."

"My influences early in my career included David Hockney and Eric Fischl, and as I have matured in my art, Joseph Raffael," Carter said. "Coincidentally, I worked exclusively in watercolor for the first ten years of my life as an artist. Today, I work in both watercolor and acrylic. My goal is to create work with intimacy, mysteriousness, and sensuality. But at its best, my work also has an edge–something in it that takes a moment, a second look, an effort to comprehend."

Carter’s watercolors have been in juried and invitational exhibitions in Europe, China, Hong Kong, the US Virgin Islands, Morocco, and the United States. She is an advisory board member of American Watercolor Weekly, and has had her work featured in International Arts Magazine, Art of Watercolour, Watercolor Artist, and L'Aquarelle Magazine. In 2012 she was an AIRE fellow for the Everglades National Park. She is part of the Art in Embassies Program, with art currently in the American Embassy in Montenegro. Her honors and awards include Master Signature Member status, American Women Artists (2019), Master Signature Member status, Heartland Art Club (2019), and the 2020 Snehil Lifetime Achievement Award, Snehilsrijan, India.

Summer gallery hours are Monday through Wednesday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Thursday: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The gallery is partially supported by the Illinois Arts Council Agency and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency

All events in the accessible gallery are free and open to the public. Parkland College is a section 504/ADA-compliant institution. For accommodation, call 217/353-2338 or email For more information on Giertz Gallery, call the gallery office at 217/351-2485 or visit

Staerkel Planetarium to Host Total Lunar Eclipse Viewing

Total Lunar Eclipse Viewing at Staerkel Planetarium, May 15

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The William M. Staerkel Planetarium at Parkland College is hosting a free telescope viewing of the total lunar eclipse, weather permitting.

On Sunday, May 15, the eclipse will be visible in most of North America, depending on cloud coverage. In Champaign, the Moon will start to get dimmer after sunset and begin moving into Earth's umbra, or full shadow, around 9:30 p.m. The total eclipse begins around 10:30 p.m. and will last for about 80 minutes.

Planetarium staff and members of the Champaign-Urbana Astronomical Society will set up several telescopes outside the planetarium so visitors can view the moon. The circle drive outside the planetarium and theatre will be blocked off to allow for pedestrian traffic. Visitors should park in the M1 or C4 parking lots.

A lunar eclipse occurs when Earth is positioned between the Sun and Moon. Normally, the Moon would appear full, but Earth's shadow can cover the Moon entirely, making it much dimmer. A total lunar eclipse looks red due to sunlight refracted through Earth's atmosphere.

For more information about the event, the planetarium, or booking the dome, please call 217/351-2567 or visit

Free Spring Concerts by Parkland College Music Ensembles

Parkland Music Ensembles to Offer Free Spring Concerts

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Parkland College's spring concert season concludes with May performances by several music ensembles in the Harold and Jean Miner Theatre.

Saturday, May 7 at 3 p.m.
"The Emerging Spring" A Joint Concert by the Parkland Orchestra, Chamber Singers, and Guitar Ensemble

The Parkland Orchestra, directed by Dr. Rodney Mueller, will perform "Carnival Overture, Op. 92" by Antonin Dvorak, edited by Carl Simpson; "Mock Morris" by Percy Aldridge Grainger, edited by Dana Paul Perna; "Nimrod" from 'Enigma Variations, Op. 36' by Edward Elgar, edited by Steven L. Rosenhaus; and "Meditation, from 'Thais'" by Jules Massenet, edited by Jack Ranney, among others.

The Parkland Chamber Singers, directed by Dr. Franklin Gallo, will perform "Nyon Nyon" by Jake Runestad; "Kyrie" from Missa Papae Marcelli by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina; "The Ground" by Ola Gjelio; and "West Side Story" by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim, arranged by Len Thomas.

Director Dr. Young Kim will lead the Guitar Ensemble in performing "Sinfonia No. 3 BWV 789" by Johann Sebastian Bach; "'Prelude' from English Suite, Op. 31" by John W. Duarte, arranged by Rich Geiger; "Gin Fizz" by Pieter van der Staak, edited by Greg Styles; and "Corcovado (Quiet Night of Quiet Stars)" by Antonio Carlos Jobim, Stan Getz solo transcribed by Scott Card, chords arranged by Carlos Arana; and "Da Blues" by Alan Hirsch. 

Sunday, May 8 at 3 p.m.
"A Spring Celebration" A Joint Concert by the Concert Band and Wind Ensemble

The Parkland Concert Band, directed by Dr. Matthew Dixon, will perform "Overture to Candide" by Leonard Bernstein, transcribed by Clare Grundman; "Americans We March" by Henry Fillmore; "Legend" by Paul Creston; and "Chorale and Shaker Dance" by John Zdechlik.

Parkland's Wind Ensemble, directed by Dr. Jonathan Beckett, will present "Slavic Dance no. 10" by Antonin Dvorak, arranged by Tom Clark; "Procession of the Nobles" (Cortege from the Opera "Mlada") by Nicholas Rimsky-Korsakov, arranged by Erik Leidzen, edited by Van Ragsdale; "A Chorus Line Spectacular!" by Marvin Hamlisch, arranged by Warren Barker; and "River of Life" by Steven Reineke.

Musical Light Shows Return to Staerkel Planetarium

Pink Floyd Light Show, May 6 at 9 p.m.

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After a years-long hiatus, the William M. Staerkel Planetarium at Parkland College will resume musical light shows.

Starting May 6, the planetarium will premiere a fulldome video set to Pink Floyd's classic album "Dark Side of the Moon" on the first Friday each month at 9 p.m. Admission is $6 per person at the door.

This is not a laser show. Light shows at the planetarium are not recommended for those with motion sickness. This show is safe for people with photosensitive epilepsy or other types of photosensitivites. Video produced by Starlight Productions.

For more information about the show schedule, the planetarium, or booking the dome, please call 217/351-2567 or visit

Scout Merit Badge Workshops Return to Staerkel Planetarium

Scout Merit Badge Workshops at Staerkel Planetarium

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Girl and Boy Scouts can earn merit badges at two interactive workshops at the William M. Staerkel Planetarium.

Girl Scout Space Science Adventurer Badge workshop:

  • Thursday, May 19, 7–8:30 p.m.

  • $4 per Scout

Boy Scout Astronomy Merit Badge workshop:

  • Wednesday, May 25, 7–9:30 p.m.

  • $5 per Scout


Please note that these sessions are workshops, not just a show, so scouts must be ready to work! Scouts must bring a pencil or pen and a flashlight covered with red plastic/cellophane. Scouts will receive a booklet based on requirements. The workshop will cover the badge requirements, and scouts will submit the completed work booklet to their scout office to receive the badge.

Advanced registration is required. The registration deadline is a week prior to the chosen workshop (May 12 for Girl Scouts, May 18 for Boy Scouts). There will be no registration taken at the door. There must be a minimum number of registrations to conduct the workshop; in the case of cancellation, refunds will be issued. 

To register, click here. Complete one form per Scout and leader. For more information, call 217/351-2567 or visit