Tag Archives: Larry Cimaglio

John Stewart program aims to expose more students to the arts

by Keith Beebe
ELBURN—The old adage of turning life’s lemons into lemonade might be a tad cliche at this point, but it’s a concept that seems to be working just fine for the art department at Kaneland John Stewart Elementary School.

“We applied for a $3,000 grant from Crayola where you were supposed to come up with a dream scenario for your arts program, and we submitted the idea of having a different artist give a presentation at the school each month,” said Bonnie Whildin, an art teacher at John Stewart. “I was sure we were going to get that grant, but we didn’t, so I just said, ‘Let’s see if we can still do this (idea) with all the connections we have.’”

As it turns out, quite a few artists have been more than willing to donate their time and energy to Whildin’s cause, as both she and her co-teacher, Heidi Gilkey, have put together an event intended to host a different artist on the second Wednesday of each month.

And these artists are not getting paid to appear, either.

“It’s really sweet of them to donate their time, because we really don’t have the money to pay them,” Whildin said.

Larry Cimaglio, an artist from Wheaton who specializes in glass blowing, visited John Stewart on Dec. 8 and gave a 90-minute demonstration that included students making their own glass jewelry.

“This event is intended to bring art into the school, bring artists into the school and give the community more exposure,” Cimaglio said. “I talked about glass art (during the presentation) and gave my viewpoint on the importance of art, and I cited two studies by the Guggenheim Museum that talked about the relativity between art education and literacy, and also art education and problem solving.”

Whildin said more than 30 people showed up to Cimaglio’s demonstration last Thursday evening.

“We thought that was a very good response for the first show, especially since we’re now in a paperless society and can’t send advertisements on actual paper home with the kids so their parents can read it,” Whildin said.

The next art demonstration is scheduled for Jan. 12 and will feature clay artists Joe Hernandez, a former ceramics teacher at Waubonsee Community College, and Cory McCrory. Additional art demonstrations are scheduled for Feb. 9, March 9 and April 13—the Wednesday following the Kaneland Fine Arts Festival, which will take place on April 10.

“We always think this (upcoming) Fine Arts Festival will be the best one ever, and even though we’re struggling with the finances, I think we’ll be fine,” Whildin said. “We have a good following, and I don’t believe there’s another event in the Kaneland School District that brings out 3,000 people like we do … and it’s free to get in.”

Express yourself at the Fine Arts Festival

by Susan O’Neill
KANELAND—Students will have a chance to create a piece of jewelry during the Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival under the tutelage of local glass artist Larry Cimaglio.

Cimaglio, who has been creating art with glass for 25 years, said he loves to see children’s imagination come to life.

“Once they understand there aren’t any strict rules and it’s up to them to be creative, they start to express themselves,” he said. “It’s really fun to see it happen.”

Cimaglio is a regular at Kaneland’s Fine Art Festival. Kaneland John Stewart art teacher and originator of the festival Bonnie Whilden said she thinks he has participated in the festival for more than half of its 11 years.

“He believes in what we’re doing,” she said. “He supports the need for art education in the schools.”

Cimaglio started out as a vice president of sales and marketing for Ed Hoy’s International, a Warrenville, Ill.,-based distributor of fine art glass. Whilden was one of the teachers who attended one of his mini-programs for teachers to come in and play with glass art.

“It was really neat to see the teachers pick it up and offer the opportunities to their students,” he said.

Cimaglio left Ed Hoy’s to open his own studio and currently offers classes at schools, events and retailers, in addition to exhibiting his own work at shows throughout the year.

Ed Hoy’s has donated enough glass for students to create 300 pieces of jewelry during the day. Between showing the children how to make their pieces and baking them in the kiln, Cimaglio will create glass ornaments while people observe.

Other workshops targeted toward the students include a painting workshop with artist Tony Carnesecchi, a pre-kindergarten art experience featuring Kindermusik of St. Charles and the Northern Illinois University Steel Band.

Visual art of all kinds by professional artists as well as artwork by Kaneland students will be available for viewing throughout the day, and performing artists will be scheduled at various times. For a complete listing and schedule, visit Kaneland.org.

Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival
Sunday, April 18
11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Kaneland High School

Performing artists include
• Irish Music School of Chicago Musicians
• Da Capo Duo, Elburn-based flutist and classical guitarist
• West Suburban Early Music Society Recorder Ensemble
• Ballet Folklorico Huehuecoyotl, Elgin Community College Institute
for the Performing Arts dance ensemble
• Prairie Echoes Chorus, local a capella four-part harmony singing group;
member of Sweet Adelines International
• State Street Dance, Geneva-based dance studio

Photo: Glass artist Larry Cimaglio will be on hand to help students create glass jewelry at the Kaneland Fine Arts Festival April 18 at Kaneland High School. Courtesy Photo