The Parkland College Blog

54th Annual Art & Design Juried Student Exhibition Opens April 11

Parkland College Art and Design Students Showcase Work in Giertz Gallery

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Parkland College's 54th annual juried Student Art and Design Exhibition will be held from April 11 to May 7 in the Giertz Gallery.

Visitors will enjoy impressive student work in photography, painting, drawing, metals, sculpture, three-dimensional design, two-dimensional design, color theory, graphic design, and ceramics. Parkland Art and Design faculty select approximately 180 works from among 300+ entries for the exhibit. Students taking art classes in the current academic year, beginning with summer 2021, were eligible to submit artwork.
An opening reception will be held on Thursday, April 14 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and will include an awards presentation at 6:15 p.m., with live music performed by the Cobra Lounge Trio.

Art and Design program director Denise Seif is among the faculty and students who look forward to this event each spring.
“I'm always so impressed when I see all the student work in the gallery. It's a celebration of their hard work and talent, and it's important for them to be a part of a gallery exhibit like this!" said Seif. "It's different than experiencing the work in a hallway or during class critiques. It puts the work on another level and allows the students to take a step back and recognize what they've accomplished.

"It's also important for gallery visitors and community members to see the work produced in the art department classrooms. We are so fortunate to have the Giertz Gallery as a venue to highlight the great work!"
As students planning on a profession in the arts begin their career path at Parkland, this exhibition allows them to showcase their extensive talent and the exploration processes they have experienced throughout their studies in art and design, according to gallery director Lisa Costello.
“It introduces them to professional practices they will encounter in their field as well, such as working with a gallery, preparing their work for exhibition, and engaging in the jurying process that is essential for an emerging artist,” Costello said. “This is a necessary component for resume building and establishing themselves as practicing artists once they graduate or transfer to a four-year college.”
During the April 14 reception, the awards ceremony at 6:15 p.m. will recognize students whose artwork shows remarkable distinction. Student artists will receive monetary awards including the Parkland President Award, the Metals Award for Jewelry/Metalsmithing, the Fine and Applied Arts Chair Award, the Parkland Art and Design Faculty Award, and the Blair Kling Memorial Art Award. In addition, the Art Coop Award for Sustained Studio Excellence will allow for art supplies purchases.
The reception will also announce scholarships for Parkland Art and Design students, including the Don Lake Art Scholarship, the Underwood-Alger Scholarship, and the Robert Ralph Ford Memorial Art Scholarship.
Merit awardees, scholarship recipients, and certificate winners retain possession of their work, while purchase awards become part of the Parkland College Student Art Collection.
To find the gallery we suggest using the M6 parking lot on the north corner of campus. Walk past the gym and the fountain area, enter through door X-7, turn left, and follow the ramp up to the highest point of the first floor, where the gallery is located. The gallery windows overlook the outdoor fountain area.
Programs at the gallery are partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state 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 the exhibit, please call the gallery office at 217/351-2485 or visit

Kaler Science Lecture Series Tackles Energy Storage Solutions

Parkland Planetarium Hosts Kaler Science Lecture Series, April 1

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This April's James B. Kaler Science Lecture at the William M. Staerkel Planetarium at Parkland College will discuss batteries and energy storage.

On Friday, April 1 at 6:30 p.m., University of Illinois associate professor of chemistry Dr. Joaquín Rodríguez-López, will present "Thinking Big About Batteries: A Solution for Energy Storage." Kaler Lecture tickets are $2 or free for Friends of the Staerkel Planetarium.

Rodríguez-López's research group explores new strategies to advance renewable electrochemical energy technologies and environmental sensing. They analyze electrode properties at micro- and nano-scales to improve the performance of nanomaterials and interfaces for batteries, electrocatalysts, and sensors for detecting pollutants, in order to make technology more sustainable.

Rodríguez-López earned his bachelor's degree at Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico, and his doctorate at the University of Texas at Austin. He performed postdoctoral research at Cornell University before joining the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has earned several awards and fellowships for his work and is now a J. Andrew and Susan S. Langan Professorial Scholar.

Kaler Science lectures are filmed by Parkland College TV for later viewing. After the talk, the seats will be cleaned before the 8 p.m. show, "Big Astronomy: People, Places, Discoveries," a program highlighting the staff who work with Chile's world-class observatories and telescopes.

Admission to fulldome shows is $6 for adults or $5 for children, students, or seniors. Please visit for the show schedule or call 217/351-2568 for information about booking the dome.

Celebrate the Arts: Youth Art Contest Announces Winners for 2022

Congratulations to the winners of the second annual Youth Arts Contest!

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Community Education and Giertz Gallery are thrilled to announce the winners for the second annual Celebrate the Arts! Youth Art Contest.

Student entries were featured in an online awards ceremony on March 8, during which placements and honorable mentions were named. First place winners (out of over 80 participants) in the three age categories received a full scholarship to a Parkland summer camp.

Entries were judged by Tanya Scott, curator of education for the University Galleries at Illinois State University; and Matthew Watt, professor of Art and Design at Parkland College.

Congratulations to our winners, and to all the wonderful young artists who continue to inspire us with their talent and creativity!


Ages 7-10:

  1. Emma Lan, “Rooster & Hen Family,” Chinese brush painting

  2. Faith To, “A Rainy Day,” painting

  3. Max Cajavilca, “Bear and the Girl,” drawing

  4. Honorable mention: Avery Anderson, “Flowers,” collage; Walker Chapman, “Mountain Top,” painting; Emma Emry, “Untitled Cat,” painting; Chloe Lee, “Under the Full Moon,” painting; Adela Pena Martin, “A sunset of feelings,” drawing; April Yu, “The Classic of Mountains and Seas-Dijiang,” drawing






Ages 11-13:

  1. Grace Pierce, “Blueberry Pie,” ceramics

  2. Lily Jones, “Pink Dream,” painting

  3. Eireann Byard, “Eco-business park,” drawing

  4. Honorable mention: Matthew Gray, “Falcon,” sculpture; Adrian Schneider, “Rose and Thorn,” digital; Kylah Sparks, “Worm in Apple,” ceramics; Addison Townsend, “Cat Conversation,” photography








Ages 14-18:

  1. Sylvie Leyerle, “Finding Place,” painting

  2. Tracy Li, “Yellow Girls,” painting

  3. Amelia Case, “Two Eleven,” painting

  4. Honorable mention: Honora Hoey, “Implied World,” collage; Grace Kahler, “Spiral,” photography; Joshua Pierce, “Summer Peace,” oil painting; Erin Shin, “The Truth We Hide,” painting; Jeana To, “Self Portraits in Quarantine,” drawing

Staerkel Planetarium to Present Birdwatching Lecture

Parkland Planetarium Hosts Local Birdwatcher, Jeffrey Bryant

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Local avian enthusiasts are invited to join the William M. Staerkel Planetarium at Parkland College for a lecture on birdwatching.

On Wednesday, March 9 at 7 p.m., Jeffrey Bryant will present "Birds: It's Not About What but Where." Tickets are $2 or free for Friends of the Staerkel Planetarium.

Bryant, an avid birder, visits several locations around east central Illinois to observe and photograph various species. For this lecture, planetarium producer and Bryant's wife Waylena McCully will present hundreds of his photos on the dome, along with bird's-eye views of the terrain where the photos were taken. Attendees may recognize several parks and preserves around Champaign County and other nearby locations.

Bryant earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in physics at Ball State University, researching variable star systems. As part of his work for Wolfram Research, he composes blog posts about visualizations of astronomical phenomena using the Wolfram Language.

Please visit for the show schedule or call 217/351-2568 for information about booking the dome.

Musical Ensembles at Parkland College Offer Free Spring Concerts

Parkland Music Ensembles Free Spring Concerts, March 5 and 6

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Parkland College's music ensembles continue to provide free concerts with live performances in the Harold and Jean Miner Theatre.

Saturday, March 5 at 3 p.m.
"Hands Across the Sea" A Joint Concert by the Guitar Ensemble and Concert Band

The Parkland Concert Band, directed by Dr. Matthew Dixon, will perform "Hands Across the Sea" by John Philip Sousa; "English Folk Song Suite" by Ralph Vaughan Williams; "Knightsbridge March" by Eric Coates, arranged by John Cacavas; and "Appalachian Spring" by Aaron Copland, arranged by Robert Longfield.

Director Dr. Young Kim will lead the Guitar Ensemble in performing "Sinfonia No. 3" by Johann Sebastian Bach; "Guacho" by Chiquinha Gonzaga; "Summer on Broad Street" by Georgia Nettleton; and "Fly Me to the Moon" by Bart Howard, among others.

Sunday, March 6 at 3 p.m.
"The Approaching Spring" A Joint Concert by the Parkland Orchestra, Wind, and Guitar Ensembles

The Parkland Orchestra, directed by Dr. Rodney Mueller, will perform "Academic Festival Overture Op. 80" by Johannes Brahms, arranged by Carl Simpson; "Dance of the Hours" from La Gioconda, by Amilcare Ponchielli; "Waltz from Swan Lake" by Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky; and "Symphonic Dances from Fiddler on the Roof" by Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock, arranged by Ira Hearshen.

Parkland's Wind Ensemble, directed by Dr. Jonathan Beckett, will present Themes Like Old Times, a medley of old-time familiar songs; "Rondo from Concerto No. 1, Op. 11" by Richard Strauss; selections from the hit show My Fair Lady; and a musical tribute to Amelia Earhart.

The Parkland Chamber Singers, directed by Dr. Franklin Gallo, will perform "Arise, Beloved!" by Rosephanye Powell; "Ave Verum" by William Byrd; "Bring Me Little Water, Silvy" by Huddie Ledbetter, arranged by Adam Podd; and "Nyon Nyon" by Jake Runestad.