State of the Art Presence Art Center – October 2014

Americans for the Arts ( Ten Reasons to Support the Arts—Reason #7: “Arts spark creativity and innovation: The Conference Board reports that creativity is among the top five applied skills sought by business leaders—with 72% saying creativity is of high importance when hiring. The biggest creativity indicator? A college arts degree. Their Ready to Innovate report concludes, “The arts—music, creative writing, drawing, dance—provide skills sought by employers of the third millennium.” Nobel Laureates in the sciences are 17 times more likely to be actively engaged in the arts than average scientists.”

In June, Art Presence presented our second-annual Creative Challenge, this year to create artwork for our Día de los Muertos show. Twenty-seven artists answered with Day of the Dead art, making a show fit for All Souls! The exhibit opens October 3, with a reception on October 4 from Noon-4:00pm featuring wine, hors d’oeuvres, face painting by Jen Greenfield of Jenny Penny Painted Faces, tissue paper flower making, Liza Hamilton demonstrating how to make woolen skulls, and live music by Martin Ball. All mediums are represented from assemblage to acrylic, oil, watercolor, and photography.

A brief history for those not familiar with Día de los Muertos: Scholars trace the celebration’s origins to ancient indigenous traditions and an Aztec festival dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl, aka “The Lady of the Dead.” La Calavera Catrina (The Elegant Skull), a parody of a Mexican upper-class woman, was introduced around 1910 in a now-famous etching by José Guadalupe Posada and popularized in a social commentary mural by Diego Rivera. Posada’s image of a costumed female with a skeleton face became associated with the Day of the Dead, and Catrina figures are a prominent part of modern observances. From October 31-November 2 celebrants honor deceased ancestors and friends by visiting cemeteries, cleaning and decorating graves. The fiesta incorporates marigolds, muertos (bread of the dead), sugar skulls, cardboard skeletons, tissue paper decorations, fruit and nuts, incense, humorous poems (calaveras) and altars honoring the departed.

Our reception coincides with the 1st-Annual Jacksonville Health Fair, with Art Presence hosting the Fair speakers in our classroom. Learn healthy wisdom to prevent yourself from being celebrated during Día de los Muertos before your time!

Remember to visit our offsite exhibits:

  • Bill Stanton’s exhibit of impasto oil paintings continues at Pioneer Village
  • September 15: Dirk Siedlecki fills the display case at the entrance to the Jacksonville Library with photos and artifacts related to Jacksonville’s cemetery and pioneer history, including “Silent City on the Hill,” by Bill Miller, the first book written and published about Jacksonville’s cemetery
  • Sue Bennett’s show of paintings in the Jacksonville Library’s Naversen Room continues

We invite you to use our classroom for your class, workshop or meeting! For more information and to schedule a date, please contact Anne at 541-941-7057 or email her via the contact form on our website,

Featured image: “Day of the Dead” Photograph by Kathleen Hoevet