The Springfield Area Arts Council marked the 25th anniversary of its workplace-based visual arts competition by changing the name from On My Own Time to Art After Hours. This year’s exhibition will open on Wednesday, December 6, 2023, in the M. G. Nelson Family Gallery at the Springfield Art Association (700 North Fourth Street, Springfield). The exhibition will close on Thursday, December 21. An awards reception will take place on Wednesday, November 6, from 5:30 to 7:30 P.M. The presentation of awards will begin at 6:30. The public is invited to attend the reception, which is free, open to the public, and accessible.
Eighty-six artists submitted 203 works of art to compete in ten workplace exhibits that were held during November. A panel of local artists conducted the judging, and all entrants were awarded ribbons for participation in thirteen categories. Fifty-eight pieces of art that received first-place awards were selected from the ten exhibits, and they comprise the 2023 Art After Hours citywide exhibit and competition, vying for first-, second-, third-place, and honorable mention awards. In addition, the Peg Lonson Best of Show Award is given to the overall outstanding art entry in the citywide exhibit. (Lonson was president of the Springfield Area Arts Council’s Board of Directors from 1984 until 1986, and she later served as Deputy Director of the Illinois Arts Council. The competition and exhibition is a program she developed in Springfield.)
Rosemary Buffington, coordinator of this year’s program, says, “This is such a worthwhile program both for employees and employers. It is amazing to see the creativity of those who put in a day’s work and then on their own time create exciting works of art. The Springfield area is fortunate to have such a tremendous outlet for workers turned artists.”
Participating employers in 2023:
Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services
Illinois Department of Revenue
Illinois Environmental Protection Agency
Illinois State Board of Education
Illinois State Police
Lincoln Land Community College
Springfield Public School District 186
Zach Adams, photographer and artist
Julie Brown, educator and artist
Linda Post-Lucas, educator and artist
Art After Hours is organized as a biennial exhibition program by the Springfield Area Arts Council with funding support from the Illinois Arts Council Agency. The purpose of the program is to help local businesses, agencies, and educational and medical institutions identify and celebrate the artistic talents of their employees.
For 47 years, the Springfield Area Arts Council has sought to enrich the community through public access to the arts with a variety of performing, literary, and visual arts programs in Sangamon and Menard counties.