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Reimagine Success: Creative Space Gives Freedom

Written by in Color & Texture, Inspire, Uncategorized

Peoria’s Prairie Center for the Arts  Provides Space
to Let Creative Minds Explore the Possible

Prairie Center of the Arts is a hidden gem in downtown Peoria. Founded in 2003, the center is located in a 120 year old building that was once home to a rope manufacturer. The warehouse is now occupied with a large gallery space on one side, and a printmaking shop and artist studios on the other.

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Above: Artist Resident Josh Cox doing a Monotype Screenprinting Demo.

The Center offers residencies to artists with studio space and equipment that allows them to work without distraction. Dawn Gettler came to Peoria from Chicago as an art resident a couple of years ago, and when she was offered the program manager job at the Center, she moved here full-time two years ago. She says, “I found that I could buy a house here and afford a studio and get a job in the arts. I sort of re-evaluated what it meant to be successful, and for me that meant being able to make work and sustain a lifestyle, which I can do in Peoria.”

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Workshops are offered to anyone with an interest in traditional printmaking techniques. Some of the classes that are offered include letterpress printing, screenprinting with stencils, an introduction to drypoint, and relief printing, among others. You can see the full class schedule on the Prairie Center website. Current artist resident Susan Czechowski says, “The Prairie Center of the Arts is a jewel of Central Illinois. This is an ideal place for artists to work, access to equipment, a supportive community, and easily available resources.”

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Holiday cards printed on Crane’s Lettra® using one of PCA’s Vandercook Proofing Presses.

Every month, Prairie Center of the Arts hosts a first Friday event, welcoming the community to walk in and get their hands dirty, if they’re so inclined. If you happen to be in the Peoria area this weekend, they are offering a FREE Holiday Card Printing class on Saturday.

“The Prairie Center has given me the opportunity to be an artist, a teacher, a student, and a volunteer,” notes Chloe McEldowney. “As a resident artist, I have access to a personal studio and an impressive print shop.” However, the Prairie Center has been so much more than a studio space. The PCA is very active, giving residents the opportunity to reach out to the community. Every month, the facility hosts a first Friday event, welcoming the community to walk in and get their hands dirty if they’re so inclined. If you happen to be in the Peoria area this weekend, they are offering a FREE Holiday Card Printing class on Saturday for ages 10 and up.

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McEldowney adds, “In the months that I’ve been here, I’ve been able to volunteer with groups visiting the shop and teach printmaking classes. Additionally, I’ve taken classes, myself and have learned many new printmaking processes. I’ve met some wonderful people, and I am incredibly grateful to be a part of such an active art center!”