Tuesday, December 3, 2013

2013 Installation Celebration!

Dear Friend of PAL,

You're invited to our annual Installation Celebration. On the evening of December 11th, 2013, we will be celebrating the installation of several new sculptures in Champaign-Urbana over the past year. Please join us for a night of drink, food, and friends of the Public Art League.

Whitney Hartman
Public Art League

Installation Celebration
Celebrating CU's new sculptures and their sponsors

Entertainment will be provided by The Bryan Holloway Somethin'.
Appetizers and a cash bar will be available.

December 11th, 2013
Buvons Wine Bar at the Corkscrew Wine Emporium
203 N. Vine St., Urbana, IL

Please RSVP by December 6th to Whitney Hartman at:  whitney.wheatman@gmail.com

About Us
Public Art League's mission is to promote creativity and improve the community's aesthetic by cultivating awareness and appreciation of public art.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Circle of Friends

Public Art League is proud to announce the installation of Circle of Friends, a sculpture by Karen Crain, on November 6th.  Public Art League worked with the City of Champaign to complete the installation at the corner of Park and Neil streets in downtown Champaign.  Circle of Friends represents the 41st sculpture Public Art League has brought to the community, and its installation is possible thanks to the generous support of the Friends of PAL.

Sculptor Karen Crain has been creating exhibitions for over 20 years and has won national awards in major juried shows including the National Sculpture Society, American Women Artists, and Allied Artists of America.  Her works have been featured in cities and galleries across the country, and she has won People’s Choice awards in South Dakota, Arizona, and Colorado.

Crain’s love of the human spirit and form are what give her art its emotional depth.  Circle of Friends is a tribute to her family and the books she enjoyed with them as she was growing up.  She explains, “Books can have an enormous impact on us, helping to form our beliefs, morals, and dreams.  The circular shape the girl sits in echoes the theme of how books encompass our lives and become a valuable part of who we are.”  The band around the outside of the circle contains the engraved titles of several books that appeal to young readers, and Crain hopes these titles will encourage young readers and their families to makes these books a part of their lives.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

PAL's Latest Installation Shines Day & Night

The Public Art League is proud to announce the installation of Glory Pipes 2.0, a sculpture by the Fairfield Enterprises Public Art Collective on Friday, November 1st.  The Public Art League worked with the City of Champaign to complete the installation at the corner of Main and Chestnut streets in downtown Champaign.  Glory Pipes 2.0 represents the 40th sculpture Public Art League has brought to the community, and its installation is possible thanks to the generous support of "The Old Depot".

The designers and engineers responsible for this sculpture are part of the Fairfield Enterprises Public Art Collective, a team which strives to create contemporary yet organic sculptures that bring to the site a shining presence by day and a radiant light show by night.  Lead by Stephen Fairfield, Ph.D., and supported by Patrick Marcus, Ph.D., E.E., and Emily Taylor, the Collective creates energy efficient, solar powered new media sculptures that utilize color, light and motion sensors incorporated in contemporary forms.

Glory Pipes 2.0 contains 26 red/green/blue light emitting diodes, capable of displaying 16.4 million different color combinations.  When a passive infrared sensor detects people within its range, the brightness of the LEDs increases greatly, and they change colors, patterns and frequencies more rapidly. The high activity state remains until a short time after people leave the area, at which point the program returns to a low activity state, conserving power. By moving in and out of the sensor’s detection area observers may become participants, switching the software and “playing” the sculpture’s display.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Two New Sculptures by Artist Mike Helbing

It's a Mistree
Newly installed near the Illinois Terminal Building

The Public Art League is proud to announce the installations of It’s a Mistree and Ascend the Wind, two sculptures by Mike Helbing, on Thursday, October 31st.  The Public Art League worked with the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District to install It’s a Mistree on the University Avenue side of the Illinois Terminal and the City of Champaign to install Ascend the Wind in front of the Champaign City Building on Neil Street.  These sculptures, the 38th and 39th brought to the community through PAL, are possible thanks to the generous support of these two sponsors.

Mike Helbing’s sculptures have been featured in museums, galleries, and public spaces across the United States and in Canada.   Helbing received his M.F.A. from Northern Illinois University in 1991, but long before was influenced by his tour of duty with the U.S. Army in Vietnam, of which he recalls, “War is like a crucible where elements of life are placed together and heated to incredible mental temperatures and the very assumptions and basis of existence are challenged, changed, rearranged and reconstructed.”  Helbing sought to rebuild his reality through his work as an artist, and his art examines his place in the world and invites visitors to share the journey of discovery.

Both It’s a Mistree and Ascend the Wind are composed primarily of found stainless steel.  According to Helbing, “Much as writers form thoughts that grow into stories using words, my found objects are analogous to language, and these objects are reassembled to create new meaning.  The things I collect are rearranged and modified, cut and attached, grouped, bent, reduced, chipped, welded, ground, assembled and polished. This presents the familiar in a new light, causing the everyday to be looked at with new wonder.”

Ascend the Wind
with artist Mike Helbing and David Wilcoxen (PAL President)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

"Uppercutted" Arrives in Westside Park

The Public Art League is proud to announce the installation of Uppercutted, a sculpture by Ted Sitting Crow Garner, Wednesday, October 23rd.  The Public Art League worked with The Champaign Park District to complete the installation on the south side of Westside Park at noon.  Uppercutted represents the 37th sculpture Public Art League has brought to the community, and its installation is possible thanks to the generous support of The Champaign Parks Foundation through The Michael Carragher Fund.

Sculptor Ted Sitting Crow Garner received his B.F.A. from the Kansas City Art Institute, where he was also responsible for the proposal, development, and construction of a student gallery.  His works have earned acclaim from numerous cities and museums from across the country, and he has received major commissions from the City of Chicago, the City of New York Department of Parks and Recreation, the Chicago Children’s Museum, and the Field Museum of Natural History, to name a few.
His aim is to make art which combines the power and aesthetics of his Native American heritage (he is an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Tribe, of Sihasapa and Minneconjou band affiliation) with modern techniques, theory, and materials.  He also draws inspiration from world art history, feeling that the incorporation of a broader perspective can result in a more profound examination of the world and our place in it.  With Upercutted, Garner wanted to create an evocation of surprise and shock.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

"Stanchion" Arrives in Hazel Park!

The Public Art League is proud to announce the installation of Stanchion, a sculpture by Dan Perry of Waterloo, IA.  The Public Art League worked with the Champaign Park District to complete the installation at the corner of Neil Street and Bradley Avenue on Friday, October 18.  Stanchion represents the 36th sculpture the Public Art League has brought to the community, and its installation is possible thanks to the generous support of Barham Benefit Group.

Sculptor Dan Perry, M.F.A., is an instructor at University of Northern Iowa and co-supervisor of the Public Art Incubator in Cedar Falls, Iowa. He has exhibited work throughout the United States and has completed residencies in both Italy and Nebraska.  The imagery in his work is “an amalgamation of candid recollections and fabricated realities constructed in the guise of toys, props, architecture, and machines.”

In describing Stanchion, Perry states, “Constant exposure to films, music, folklore, science, and the events of the world around me influence my work as I attempt to recreate events sculpturally.  Stanchion is based in the notion of a portable landscape. By combining references to common building materials such as cinder blocks with the imagery of an idealistic cloud, I aim to explore the human desire to control our environment.”

For more information about this installation, please contact David Wilcoxen at 217.898.8263.  For more information about joining Public Art League, please visit our website.

Friday, September 20, 2013

"Fettle" Arrives on S. Neil

Public Art League is proud to announce the installation of Fettle, a sculpture by Luke W. Achterberg, Friday, September 20th.  The sculpture was installed on the corner of Neil Street and Stadium Drive in Champaign.  Fettle represents the 35th sculpture Public Art League has brought to the community, and its installation is possible thanks to the generous support of Champaign Telephone Company, and Michael & Connie Hosier.

Sculptor Luke W. Achterberg exhibits both indoor and outdoor work throughout the United States and Switzerland.  He obtained his M.F.A. from the University of Kentucky, where he also received the Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture award from the International Sculpture Center.  Since that time, he has been teaching sculpture and ceramics at Morehead State University, and completing a residency at Art-St-Urban in Switzerland.  He maintains his studio in Lexington, Kentucky, where he recently completed a body of work for a solo exhibition with Kathryn Markel Fine Arts in New York City.

In describing Fettle, Achterberg states, “Street art versus fine art is a central theme for my work.  Being schooled as a fine artist sometimes comes into direct conflict with by blue-collar background and my association with underground and counter-culture movements.  Therefore, I seek balance, and I metaphorically express this in the work through the form and color of each piece.”

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

"C-U at the Movies" ...a Sculpture to Honor a Hometown Hero

Fifteen years ago, Urbana native and University of Illinois alum Roger Ebert started a film festival in Champaign-Urbana to share his love of film with the community, and share his community with those who loved film.  His passing was a great loss to all of those fortunate enough to have known him, but his memory lives on through his friends and family, the work of his wife Chaz, and the continuation of Ebertfest.  Today, Scott Anderson announced the kick-off of a new tribute to the hometown hero.
As head of the Roger Ebert Sculpture fundraising campaign, Scott Anderson presented its mission to commission and install a life-size bronze sculpture of Roger Ebert on the plaza outside the historic Virginia Theater, home of Ebertfest.  This fundraising campaign offers the citizens of our communities and movie fans everywhere an opportunity to share in celebrating Roger Ebert's contribution to the movie industry, the culture of Champaign-Urbana and some of the joy we have experienced in our own lives while watching films.  The sculpture will be a permanent memorial which will honor Ebert for both his career and his dedication to his roots. It will also honor him for his determination to press forward with Ebertfest in the face of huge medical challenges.

The sculpture will be created by artist Rick Harney of Bloomington, Illinois. It will be made of bronze and will be life size. It will depict Roger Ebert sitting in the middle of three theater seats displaying his signature "thumbs up" gesture.  Roger’s widow, Chaz Ebert, was unable to attend the press conference due to a scheduling conflict, however she has selected the composition of the sculpture and is providing the artist input to enable him to depict Roger at the stage of his life which she desires.

Many people and entities are contributing to this sculpture effort. These include the cities of Champaign and Urbana, the College of Media of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Champaign Park District, the Community Foundation of East Central Illinois, and the Public Art League.  Together, they are hoping to raise approximately $125,000 for the commissioning, building, and installation of this sculpture.
One can make donations directly to the Community Foundation of East Central Illinois or through the web site: Ebertsculpture.org. The web site has more information concerning the formulation of the idea, Roger Ebert’s career, the artist’s bio, the sculpture itself and how to donate.


Friday, August 30, 2013

Support PAL at Upcoming Gemshow Roundtables!

A unique opportunity to support PAL while enjoying an evening out. Christopher's Fine Jewelry Design has graciously offered to donate $15 for every person who attends their upcoming Gemshow Roundtable to PAL. In addition, they will donate 10% of the sale price of all gems purchased by PAL supporters (just let them know that you would like your purchase to support PAL).

If you've never enjoyed this unique event before, here's what you can expect. Gem dealers from around the country are invited to bring their collection to a dinner party setting at Christopher's. On September 5-7,  Sherris Shank , a renowned gem carver, will bring over 200 carved, colored gemstones. You and a limited number of guests will be escorted to the gem room where the table will be set with flowers and refreshments. Each stone will be passed around the table allowing you to handle each and, if you love it, keep it at your place setting. At the end of the evening you will have the opportunity to purchase stones directly from the dealer and Christopher can do a quick sketch to show you how the stones might be incorporated into a custom piece of jewelry.

Shows last approximately 3 hours and there is no pressure to buy. The only expectation is that you have fun.

The cost for this special event is $15 and reservations are required. Call the store at 352-2415 and let them know which show you would like to attend and how many people you are bringing. Also, let them know you heard about this from PAL. This is a great date night or girls night out!

Shows are:
Thursday, September 5 at 6 PM
Friday, September 6 at  6  PM
and Saturday afternoon at 1 PM

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Shield of Chichen Itza Installed in Morrissey Park

Public Art League is proud to announce the installation of The Shield of Chichen Itza, a sculpture by James K. Johnson.  The sculpture was installed, with assistance from the Champaign Park District, on Wednesday, August 28th in Morrissey Park, 1400 Windsor Road, Champaign.  The Shield of Chichen Itza represents the 34th sculpture Public Art League has brought to the community, and its installation is possible thanks to the generous support of the Champaign Parks Foundation.

James K. Johnson, the sculptor of The Shield of Chichen Itza, is the former Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at Eastern Illinois University.  He has received six grants from state and local institutions to develop glassblowing and bronze casting facilities and was selected as one of five sculptors to participate in a research project at the University of Costa Rica.  As an artist, he has participated in over 60 regional and national juried and invitational exhibitions, and completed numerous large scale outdoor sculptures in aluminum and cor-ten steel on exhibit in Kansas, Illinois, Arkansas, and Indiana.

In describing The Shield of Chichen Itza, Johnson states, “As a sculptor, I have always been concerned with creating works of art that cause the viewer to pause and reflect upon their surroundings and in doing so become more aware of the environment that they are passing through.   Each work of art that I have designed and fabricated is a reflection of past experiences that have shaped my life and the interest that I have in ancient cultures, especially the Mayans that used art as a means of understanding their place in the history of mankind.  Equally important has been my use of the arch as a means of transforming the viewer from a place and time of activity to one of calm and reflection.”

Friday, August 23, 2013

Sunder Planet Discovered!

The Public Art League is proud to announce the installation of Sunder Planet, a sculpture by Stephen Luecking of Chicago.  The sculpture was installed in the planter bed in the Orpheum Children’s Museum's parking plaza in downtown Champaign.  Sunder Planet represents the 33rd sculpture the Public Art League has brought to the community, and its installation is possible thanks to the generous support of The Robeson Family Benefit Fund.

Stephen Luecking, the sculptor behind Sunder Planet, is a Professor at DePaul University’s School of Computing and spent 25 years in DePaul’s Department of Art and Art History.  During that time, he participated in nearly 150 exhibits, 20 of which were one-person shows.  He is the author of several articles, essays, and reviews which have appeared in national and international art journals, as well as the book Principles of Three-Dimensional Design: Objects, Space and Meaning.

With Sunder Planet, Luecking demonstrates “mathematical art”.  Instead of using the elegant symmetries of spherical polyhedrons to create a closed surface, he has made simple adjustments in the proportions of the polyhedrons to create a piece that breaks the symmetry and creates interacting masses and voids.  Yet at the same time, the piece retains much of the symmetry’s original appeal.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Storm Drain Murals – Calling Artists!

The Public Art League (PAL), the Champaign County Design & Conservation Foundation (CCDC), the City of Champaign, Illinois and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, are seeking artists to create storm drain murals in our community. Selected artists will create stormwater themed murals adjacent to storm sewer inlets in order to raise awareness about stormwater management in an urban setting.

The mural themes will incorporate and illustrate principals of stormwater management. The murals must also consider and reflect multi-cultural, kid friendly, colorful, funky, and international melting pot characteristics. As public art works, we encourage designs with an exciting, vibrant, and energetic nature.

Additional information and the 2013 Storm Drain Mural Entry form can be found here.  The deadline for submission of entries is Saturday, August 10 at 5pm (central).

Friday, June 21, 2013

2013 Finalists Unveiled!

The Public Art League received 55 fantastic entries from all over the world (from as far as Austria and China) in response to the 2013 Call to Artists.  Of the entries, our advisory Jury panel selected 12 that we hope to bring to Champaign-Urbana this year.

This year's finalists are:

 “Ascend the Wind”
  by Michael Helbing,  (Berwyn, IL)
  Height:  15’,  Width:  11’,  Depth:  5’,  Weight:  350lbs,  Materials:  Stainless Steel

  “The Shield of Chichen Itza”
  by James K. Johnson,  (Charleston, IL)
  Height:  10’4”,  Width:  5’8”,  Depth:  18”,  Weight:  1200lbs,  Materials:  Cor-Ten Steel

  by Ted Sitting Crow Garner,  (Chicago, IL)
  Height:  12’9”, Width:  4’6”,  Depth:  5’10”,  Weight:  750lbs,  Materials:  Painted, Welded Steel

  by Dan Perry,  (Waterloo, IA)
  Height:  8’7”,  Width:  6’,  Depth:  3’4”,  Weight:  300lbs,  Materials:  Painted Mild Steel, Industrial Enamel

  “Sunder Planet”
  by Stephen Luecking,  (Chicago, IL)
  Height:  94”,  Width:  94”,  Depth:  94”
Materials:  Painted Wood

  “Tic Tac Toe Bench”
  by Benson Sculpture, LLC,  (Jackson, TN)
  Height:  8’, Width:  8’, Depth:  8’, Weight:  250lbs,  Materials:  Kiln Dried Yellow Pine

  “The Statue of Yong 2/100 – Evil Mind”
  by Jeong Yong Choi “Yong”,  (Chicago, IL)
  Height:  72”, Width:  60”
Depth:  37.5”, Weight:  700lbs
Materials:  Bronze, Steel, Artificial Grass

 “Reclamation Tower”
  by Michael Collins,  (Longview, IL)
  Height:  16',  Width:  4’,  Depth:  4’,  Weight:  400lbs
Materials:  Wood, Steel Copper, Aluminum

The following sculptures were sponsored at the 2013 Unveiling Party.  We look forward to meeting them soon!

  “Glory Pipes 2.0”      **SPONSORED**
  by Stephen Fairfield,  (Saint David, AZ)
  Height:  18’,  Width:  10’ (top)
Depth:  4’ (square),  Weight:  500lbs
  Materials:  Aluminum, Steel, LEDs, Electronics

  “Circle of Friends”   **SPONSORED**
  by Karen Crain,  (Littleton, CO)
  Height:  47”,  Width:  40”,  Depth:  20”
Weight:  450lbs,  Materials:  Bronze

  “Fettle”     **SPONSORED**
  by Luke Achterberg  (Lexington, KY)
  Height:  128”,  Width:  58”,  Depth:  40”
Weight:  350lbs,  Materials:  Paint on Steel

  “It’s a MisTree”     **SPONSORED**
  by Michael Helbing,  (Berwyn, IL)
  Height:  15’, Width:  6’, Depth:  11’
Weight:  250-300lbs, Materials:  Stainless Steel

The Public Art League now needs your help to bring all of these incredible sculptures to the community.  A bronze sponsorship of $2,000 will allow PAL to lease a sculpture for two years and have it installed for the public to enjoy.  There are also many other sponsorship possibilities and ways you can support the program (sponsorship).  Please contact us if you have an interest in helping bring more great public art to C-U!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

2013 Sculpture Unveiling

Wednesday, June 19 - 5:30p - 7:00p
The Fireplace Room @ Big Grove Tavern
One Main Street, Downtown Champaign

Join us on Wednesday, June 19 from 5:30 - 7:00p at Big Grove Tavern as we unveil the sculptures that could make their way to Champaign-Urbana this year!  Artists from all over the country have submitted their entries and you will have a chance to see the wonderful pieces that have been selected for installation.

Please join us for this exciting evening!

Wine, beer and hors d'oeurves provided
Please RSVP by June 14 to

Thank you to our generous sponsors:

The Barham Benefit Group and The Robeson Family Benefit Fund

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Downtown Champaign Welcomes "Counter Rhythm"

When strolling down Main Street in Downtown Champaign, you will see "Counter Rhythm" by artist Charles Ellis of Indianapolis, IN.  The sculpture is installed in the front window of Jos. Kuhn & Co. at 33 E. Main St.  To describe the sculpture, the artist provides the following definition:

"counter (contradict/ oppose)_rhythm (cadence/ measure)"

"A communal cadence of repetitive forces springs forth from a canted established base to find its individual radical essence."

Thank you to Jos. Kuhn & Co. for the sponsorship of this wonderful piece. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Introducing S4PAL!

What is S4PAL?  It’s a guide, a game, a poll and a new kind of social media!  Developed by Studio 2D and 2wav, S4PAL is an online application that allows you to give your impression of Public Art League sculptures through the use of descriptive adjectives.  Once you have provided your impressions, you can see how your answers compare to others who responded.  Simply go to www.s4pal.org and experience S4PAL!

S4PAL is inspired by the Stradjectives™ iPad app, a design strategy tool developed by Studio 2D and 2wav for finding key words and color palettes.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Art is Love

The Buzz Weekly wrote a nice article about the Public Art League and Board President David Wilcoxen.  Please follow the link below to see the article.


'Art is Love' for David Wilcoxen

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Art Lives Here Year-Round!

As part of this weekend’s Boneyard Arts Festival, The Champaign City Center Partnership would like you to know that art lives here year-round.  Take your picture next to any Public Art League sculpture and post it on the Partnership’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ChampaignCenterPartnership) to be entered into a drawing to win one of four $25 Visa gift cards (generously donated by the University of Illinois Employees Credit Union).  Public Art League sculpture location maps will be available at all Downtown/Midtown Champaign Boneyard Arts Festival locations.

Friday, March 15, 2013

PAL News - Spring 2013

2013 Call to Artists

The Public Art League is seeking artists to display sculptures in the Champaign-Urbana community.  Selected sculptures will be installed as part of PAL's rotating sculpture leasing program once sufficient donations are pledged.  The deadline for submissions is June 7, 2013. 

More information and downloadable application forms are available at http://www.publicartleague.org/artists.html

"Single Twist" at the iHotel

"Single Twist" By Mary Angers (Long Branch, NJ)

If you happen to be strolling through the lovely lobby of the iHotel, you will notice "Single Twist" by Mary Angers.  The piece is devoted to the geometry of moving planes and forms.

Thank you to Fox/Atkins Development, LLC for the site sponsorship of this piece.

PAL Launches New Website

The Public Art League would like to thank the Graphic Design Program at Parkland College for selecting PAL as one of their service learning projects for a web design course in fall 2012.  From a number of fantastic designs developed by the course's students, the submission from designer Scott Sheltra was selected.  Please visit www.publicartleague.org to see our new site!  Thank you again to Parkland's Graphic Design Department, its students and to Professor Paul Young for overseeing the project.

PAL Welcomes a New Board Member

Please join the Public Art League in welcoming Whitney E.W. Hartman to the PAL Board.  Whitney graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelor's degree in political science.  Following graduation, she worked for the I Hotel and Conference Center where she fulfilled a number of positions and responsibilities including sales, marketing, and

Currently, she is finishing her thesis for her Master's degree in Bioethics from Wake Forest University (Winston-Salem, NC).  Whitney is married to Andrew Hartman, of JSM Apartments.

Sculpture Maps Available!


A big thanks to designer Gretchen Wieshuber (Studio 2D) for contributing her time and talents to the design of our 2013 sculpture maps.  The brochures show the locations of all of the Public Art League sculptures installed in Champaign-Urbana.  Pick one up at brochure stands throughout the community or contact us at info@publicartleague.org and we will send you one.   

Downloadable maps are available at:

Thanks again Gretchen!  


It's Time to Renew!

As spring approaches, it is time to renew your Individual, Family or Business Friendship with the Public Art League.  Your support as a Friend is critical to the effort to bring more public art to our community.  Visit http://www.publicartleague.org/join.html and renew (or join) today!