• Alyssa Collins

The Artist Guild of Lockport Features New Artists in Latest Exhibit

Published in the Lockport Legend

Members of the Artist Guild of Lockport and art supporters alike celebrated the opening of the “Origins VI” art exhibition at the Flower of Life Art Gallery on Saturday evening.

Friends, neighbors and artists entered the gallery, located at 1601 S. State St., to attend the exhibit’s opening reception and admire the new pieces filling up the gallery’s main floor and upper level. From abstract to realism, the walls of the gallery display the work of 23 artists ranging from seasoned veterans to new exhibitors. This is the sixth “Origins” show the guild has hosted since its start in 2014, and it is the only group show throughout the year that does not have a theme, according to guild president, Ed Smith.

“It’s new and fresh,” said Smith. “It’s something fun for people to experience, especially first time people.”

Smith has two portrait pieces in the exhibit that hang on either side of the back wall. He explained that one of the portraits was painted from life, meaning the model sat there for him hour after hour as he sketched and painted her features. This is something he says many artists in the guild do not do.

Larry Brogan, owner of the Flower of Life Art Gallery and Tattoo City - Skin Art Studio, has allowed the guild to use the space since the very beginning. This has been instrumental to the success of the guild, according to Smith, because most local art organizations do not have a functioning art gallery in the community. The gallery gives artists a chance to get their work into the public eye and maybe sell a few pieces, said Brogan.

Brogan and his wife Misty Soderholm collaborated on one of the larger pieces in the exhibit. It features Misty Soderholm’s parents, former White Sox third baseman Eric Soderholm and former Mrs. Illinois 1985 Ginny Soderholm. They are positioned alongside the wellness center, Soderworld, that they own together in Willowbrook. Once the piece is done hanging in the gallery, it will be given to the Soderholm parents as a part of their Christmas gift, according to Brogan who has been working on the piece since last year.

Veteran artists like Suzanne Serna and Brogan as well as newer artists such as Bethia Sypian and Wilcott Smith, credit the guild as their motivation to keep creating and expanding their work.

“Since I’ve joined the guild, I’ve painted so much more than I would if I didn’t,” said Serna. “It forces me to do what I love, and I feel so good when I do.”

The Artist Guild of Lockport has hosted over 20 exhibits since its start and has continued to create a community for likeminded artists to collaborate and learn, said Ed Smith. “Origins VI” is one of the larger shows for the guild and has a fair number of new artists exhibiting this year. Some of the new artists include Mary Flynn, who plans to retire next year and make art her full time priority, and Brendan Carrick, who created one of the few abstract pieces in the show.

"When I see it in here it’s pretty cool,” said Carrick’s mother Beverlee Alberico. “I mean I thought it was cool to begin with but just to see it in here puts it in a new perspective.”

While the crowd of opening night included many of the artists themselves, Lockport community members, such as Roy and Laura Adcock, came out to support their friends and neighbors. Attendee and art buyer John Early, even made the trip from Chicago to see the work of his friend Laura Wellman.

The “Origins VI” show will be running until November 23rd. The gallery is open daily from noon to 8:00 p.m.

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