JOLIET – Wine and hors d’oeuvres were served. Chamber music played. More than 400 pieces of art were on display and for sale.
It was a special kind of art show Thursday evening at the Joliet Area Historical Museum.
Amanda Olsen of Joliet said she came out of interest in the artists.
“I work with people with special needs,” she said, “and I was really interested in the art that people with disabilities create. It’s really amazing. I already bought two pieces.”
Looking around at the paintings on the wall, she added, “Some of them, if they can’t communicate, they can express themselves with their art.”
The show displayed the art of clients of Cornerstone Services, an agency that serves people with disabilities.
One of the newer services is an art studio at Cornerstone’s facility on Joyce Road.
The results were surprising to a number of people visiting the show held at the Joliet Area Historical Museum.
“I’m impressed. It’s beautiful,” said Kathy Ruzicka of Plainfield. “Just the amount of talent – it surprises me.”
The art show spread over three floors of the museum. Artworks included photographs, jewelry, baskets, painted gourds and loom art.
The Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry also held its after-hours event at the museum.
“It’s very relaxed,” said Cody Brestan of Crest Hill. “Everybody’s friendly here. I’m surprised also how talented the artists are. We bought one piece and are planning to buy another.”
Brian Turner of Minooka, whose paintings were on display, also was impressed with the event. “I like it here – all of the paintings and all of the people,” he said.
Turner earlier in the week talked about the Cornerstone art program at the studio and what it means to him.
“I have a good time painting,” he said. “I focus, and it helps me to use my hands. I’m happy to be here because I love to be painting.”
His specialty is acrylic painting. Turner’s work includes a number of landscapes, some of which were in the show, but he does other things as well. He pointed to one painting of a large eye staring from the canvas.
“I call it ‘Private Eye,’” he said with a smile.
Kathy Glyda of Plainfield was another artist in the studio that day.
She was working one of the several looms in the studio, weaving yarn into a future pillow cover.
Glyda said she became interested in looming when she saw it depicted in a TV show about the Old West.
“I started in 2014 on looming,” she said. “I’ve been so addicted to it. I love it.”
She started a business on Facebook and Pinterest called “Kathy’s Creative Crafts.”
“I’ve sold a lot of stuff,” Glyda said. “I have my own studio in my basement.”
Pride in their work
The art show is a culmination of a year of work, said Megan Gulick, one of the art instructors at Cornerstone. Most of the proceeds from the sale of art go directly to the artist, although Cornerstone also gets a portion to help buy supplies for the program.
“All of this hard work we’ve done in the past year is paying off,” Gulick said at the art show Thursday evening. “The clients are coming and saying, ‘Look how many people showed up.’”
Cornerstone Chief Executive Officer Ben Stortz said the event “shows off the talents and abilities of our clients.”
Stortz said the show and studio have been very helpful.
“We’ve seen such a change in our clients,” he said. “We’ve seen they have an interest in this. They take great pride in their work.”