The Parkland College Blog

Parkland College Art Students Awarded in NIU Art Exhibition

Parkland students chosen for NIU Community College Art Exhibition

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Several Parkland College Art and Design students were accepted into the 2021 NIU Community College Student Juried Virtual Exhibition.

The works are on display in a virtual gallery hosted by Northern Illinois University from April 2–May 7. Participating Parkland students are:

  • Jane Liao, Champaign

  • Alexa Harmon, Champaign

  • Kathryn Lahr, Urbana

  • Lauren Babcock, Urbana

  • Jori Basset, Bradley

  • Katy Geurts, Loda

  • Grant Siegmund, St. Joseph

Six students received awards at the virtual awards ceremony and reception held on April 17. Two placed and five earned honorable mentions:

  • Alexa Harmon, 1st place and Honorable Mention in Ceramics

  • Lauren Babcock, 2nd place and Honorable Mention in Ceramics

  • Jori Basset, Honorable Mention in Digital Art

  • Katy Geurts, Honorable Mention in Ceramics

  • Grant Siegmund, Honorable Mention in Ceramics

This annual juried exhibiton celebrates the creative work of young artists in community colleges within Illinois. Only artwork completed after January 1, 2019 was eligible.

[image from left, top row: Basset, Harmon; bottom row: Babcock, Geurts, Siegmund]

Parkland College Art and Design Student Artwork Showcase 2021

Showcase Awards Ceremony, Thursday, May 6

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Parkland College's annual celebration of artwork produced by students in the Art and Design program, the Art and Design Student Artwork Showcase 2021, is currently underway.

A virtual Awards Ceremony will be held on Thursday, May 6 at 7 p.m. on Zoom. At the event, which is free and open to the public, Art and Design faculty will recognize and honor students whose artwork shows remarkable distinction with artistic, monetary, and merit awards, including scholarships.

In addition, artwork from the exhibit is being featured across Giertz Gallery's social media pages and in weekly emails. A catalog of presented works will be available on the Giertz Gallery page after the event, which concludes on May 29.

Included in this year's special online event will be an impressive body of student work from classes in photography, painting, drawing, metals, sculpture, three-dimensional and two-dimensional design, color theory, visual communication design, and ceramics. Students taking art classes in the current academic year, beginning with summer 2020, were eligible to submit artwork.

Parkland Art and Design faculty, including program director Denise Seif, look forward to celebrating students and their work each spring.

"This year, our show honors the drive, ingenuity, and hard work of the students who have continued to pursue their artistic and educational goals under these unusual circumstances," says Seif. "It demonstrates the excellence, resilience, and commitment our students have to their art. Bravo!"

Students planning on a profession in the arts begin their career path at Parkland, and the student exhibit allows them to showcase their development from what they have learned in the Art and Design program, according to gallery director Lisa Costello.

"It introduces them to professional practices they will encounter in the field, such as working with a gallery, preparing their work for exhibition, and entering their work into shows. All of these things are essential for an emerging artist," she said.

"This is a necessary component for establishing themselves as practicing artists once they graduate or transfer. Now that so many things are online, the practice of photographing their work and submitting it online is even more critical for their success."

Register for the Awards Ceremony here. Follow the Giertz Gallery Facebook and Instagram pages to see more student artwork, or sign up for their mailing list.

For more information on the student showcase or other programming, please email
The Giertz Gallery's programs are partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

[Image, from top left: Jori Basset–Still Life, Maya Grear–Cup, Zhengxin Dong–Alligator, Hannah Fredrick–Hammerhead Shark, Lucianna Baright–Pair of Goats, Shaersti Anderson–Lion Candelabra, Trevor Boland–Crawler, Eunjoo Kang–Bird at a Pond]

Parkland College Student Artists Chosen for Statewide Exhibit

Parkland artists in 2021 Illinois Community College Juried Exhibition

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Several Parkland College Art students were accepted into the 2021 Illinois Community College Juried Exhibition. 

The works were on display in a Virtual Online Gallery hosted by Governors State University, March 1–April 30. Participating Parkland students are:

  • Julian Akinsanya, Urbana

  • Katy Geurts, Loda

  • Alex Harmon, Champaign

  • Grant Siegmund, Saint Joseph

  • Sharon Wenda, Urbana 

This annual juried exhibition celebrates the creative work of young artists. More than $1,000 in awards, including a $400 Best in Show Award, were presented during a virtual reception and online awards ceremony held on March 6.

Planetarium Kaler Lecture to Spotlight the Beauty of Birds

"Birds of East Central Illinois: Natural Beauty You Probably Didn't Notice"

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The William M. Staerkel Planetarium at Parkland College will host a selection of bird photography for the James B. Kaler Science Lecture Series at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 5.

Jeffrey Bryant, a research programmer at WolframAlpha, will present "Birds of East Central Illinois: Natural Beauty You Probably Didn't Notice". The planetarium will offer this lecture to the public for free on Zoom.

During the lecture, Mr. Bryant will show a selection of his high-quality photography. As an avid birder in his spare time, he travels around east central Illinois to observe and photograph various local species. All image subjects were located within a relatively short drive of his home, including in his own backyard. By knowing where and when to look, anyone can get a sense of the diversity of life right here in Illinois.

Mr. Bryant earned a B.S. and M.S. in Physics at Ball State University, focusing his research on variable star systems. As part of his work for Wolfram Research, L.L.C., he composes blog posts about visualizations of astronomical phenomena using the Wolfram Language.

Following Mr. Bryant's Kaler Lecture, the planetarium staff will present Prairie Skies Spotlight on Exoplanets in the same Zoom meeting at 8 p.m. The Prairie Skies show offers a tour of the night sky, and this special program will feature some of the thousands of planets that have been discovered outside of the Solar System. The full schedule of public shows, including Zoom links, can be found on the planetarium website. Recordings of past shows are available on their YouTube channel and private shows can be booked by emailing

Giertz Gallery Hosts Art and Design Faculty Virtual Lecture Series

Parkland College Art and Design Faculty Lecture Series

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The Art and Design Faculty Lecture Series is underway through the month of February at Parkland College Giertz Gallery. These online gallery talks, free and open to students and community members, include insightful dialogue by Art and Design Faculty members Joan Stolz, Paula McCarty, Denise Seif, and Liza Wynette.

Links to register for these Zoom events are included below. Registration may also be found on the Parkland College Giertz Gallery website. Please register in advance.

Joan Stolz - "Skin in the Game"
Joan Stolz shared her recent body of work on January 21, in which she discussed her oil paintings on wooden panels. These small scale works of art, each 6x6 inches, represent areas of faces of politicians or political influencers. Stolz recently completed a sabbatical and teaches painting, drawing, and figure drawing at Parkland College. Find her lecture here.

Paula McCarty - "Women Who Painted" project
Tuesday, February 2, from 6 to 7 p.m.
Paula McCarty discusses her artwork and her "Women Who Painted" project. Paula McCarty has taught Painting I and II at Parkland College. She teaches upcoming classes through Parkland Community Education; visit here to sign up. For more information about her work and her "Women Who Painted" project, visit her website.
To register for “Paula McCarty – Women Who Painted” artist talk, visit here.

Denise Seif - History of Enameling: Past to Present
Wednesday, February 10, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Denise Seif will discuss enameling from past to present. The simple combination of metal, glass, and fire can produce some of the most seductive, delicate, and bold statements of personal adornment and decorative objects. After providing a brief historical overview, she will explore what some contemporary artists are doing with this fascinating medium. Denise Seif teaches Metalwork and Jewelry I and II, Art History I and II, and the History of Non-Western Art. 
To register for “History of Enameling: Past to Present” art history lecture by Denise Seif, visit here.

Liza Wynette - History of Music Poster Design
Tuesday, February 16, from 6 to 7 p.m.
In her lecture, Wynette will examine how culture and technology influenced the look of music posters from Art Nouveau to Contemporary times. Liza Wynette teaches the History of Graphic Design at Parkland College. For more information about her work, visit her website.
To register for “History of Music Poster Design” design history lecture by Liza Wynette, visit here

Giertz Gallery is currently highlighting artwork by the Art and Design Faculty on their social media platforms, including Facebook and Instagram. Follow to see their phenomenal work and sign up here to receive email blasts about upcoming events. 
Giertz Gallery looks forward to a fresh semester of new opportunities to work with students, faculty, and the community to create a 2021 that inspires hope, education, and excitement through the arts. For more information about the Gallery, visit their website.


[Cover image - Night Shift, oil on canvas, Paula McCarty]