Art, design open house features Parkland talent

Destiny Norris

Staff Writer

On Thursday, April 20, Parkland opened its doors to the public for an art and design open house.

With a come-and-go format, the college was open 5:30–7:30 p.m. to any visitor interested in touring the art and design buildings. Classes scheduled for the evening continued as normal, though some modifications were made to allow visitors to come and go freely.

Art and Design Program Director Denise Seif was instrumental in making the event happen.

“For years we [have] had the High School Art Seminar where area High School Art Students come and have a hands-on experience in the Parkland art studios and engage with a visiting artist,” Seif said. “We wanted to expand on this idea and allow the community to have an opportunity to see the studio classrooms and to talk with art & design faculty and students.”

Though Seif plays a role, the entire art and design faculty is involved in making the open house happen.

“This involves the entire Art & Design faculty,” said Seif. “Some classes are in session that night and faculty have prepared their classes so visitors can come see the class activities.  Other faculty have developed demonstrations related to what they teach.  Kelly White who teaches art history will be talking about the types of things that are covered in an art history class as well. Visitors will be able to really get a feel for what is offered within the Art & Design area.”

Demonstrations and classes were held in both the C-wing art annex and the photography and graphic design studios in the basement of the D-wing.

Current students were also highly involved in the event. The Art & Design Student Exhibit, which premiered on April 13 and will run until May 6, was a key factor in deciding when the open house was to be held. The juried exhibit, held in the Giertz Gallery, showcases student work from previous and present semesters

“The Art & Design Student Exhibition [was] up in the Giertz Gallery so visitors can take a look at artwork created by current students,” said Seif.

Students were also involved in other ways.

“A few of our students were on hand to show their portfolios, talk about their experience at Parkland and answer questions,” Seif said. “Several of the classes that are in session during the event have their doors open and visitors were invited to see what the studio classroom experience is like.”

The intent of the open house was to give prospective students and the community a chance to see the studio classrooms, meet art faculty and students, and to experience a studio class, as well as see what sorts of courses are offered. Visitors also had the opportunity to take a look at work produced by current art and design students, largely due to the student exhibit.

“As a community college our classes are open to traditional students but also to those who are interested in taking a class as an elective or for personal enrichment,” Seif said. “You do not have to be an art major to take studio art class.”     

In addition to the open house, a wine tasting is to be held today, on April 26 at Art Mart, located at 1705 S. Prospect Ave. in Champaign, in support of Giertz Gallery. The event will be held 4–7 p.m. The event is a fundraiser for the gallery and will have a silent auction of ceramic works and a print by Don Lake, who previously was one of the art and design professors at Parkland. There will also be hand dyed silk scarves and jewelry for sale and a floral demonstration will.

Seif, part of the gallery board, is in attendance.

“I am involved as a member of the Gallery board, but I also helped with the scarves and had my fall metals students create a piece of jewelry to contribute for the sale,” Seif says.

Tickets for the event are $30, and can be purchased through Parkland’s website. For more information, visit