Local artists showcased at Illini Union Art Gallery | Arts and theater


MATTOON – Sarah Marjanovic, the artist who created “Rooted in History, Growing Up for Community,” the information panel at the Douglas-Hart Foundation Friendship Garden in Mattoon, hopes to serve the community again. .

An art exhibit featuring her art, as well as artwork by Heather Sandy, is currently on display at the Illini Union Art Gallery on the University of Illinois at Champaign / Urbana campus.

The exhibition, titled “Living Hosts: Cultivating Collaboration,” offers an interesting and entertaining juxtaposition of the two artists’ styles and methodologies.

Marjanovic, a resident of Champaign formerly of Newton, and Sandy, a resident of Effingham, both have careers in the art field and are actively involved in education and in their communities. Both are recognized artists, having exhibited in many states and having been the subject of articles.

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Marjanovic is a graphic designer and former teacher at Olney Central College, Eastern Illinois University and Parkland College. Sandy is an art professor and head of the art department at Olney Central College. They are both alumni of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville; each holds a Master of Fine Arts from SIUE.

Marjanovic grew up in a rural area, involved in farming and restoring wild lands as a co-owner of Gillespie Farms.

“My artistic research stems from outdoor experiences. Growing up with a family of naturalists instilled in me a love of nature and a strong sense of belonging, ”said Marjanovic.

“I create intriguing interactions,” commented Marjanovic of his art. “By choreographing vivid aggregates of color and texture, I create dynamic landscapes that reflect both degradation and adaptation and that represent the delicate and the vulnerable as well as the strong and the resilient.”

Sandy said she spent her childhood in an urban setting but grew up around gardens.

“It wasn’t until I moved to a rural landscape that I started to see the man-made influences on nature,” Sandy said. “I am intoxicated by the beauty of nature. While creating figurative paintings, landscapes and still lifes, I study color, shape and form; however, I also study how the human hand shaped the natural.

The works of Sandy and Marjanovic were recently exhibited at the 29th Cedarhurst Biennial Competition Exhibition, held August through October at the Cedarhurst Center for the Arts in Mt. Vernon. Over the years, each has exhibited at the Giertz Art Gallery at Parkland College in Champaign, Illinois; the St. Louis Artists’ Guild Gallery in Clayton, Missouri; and many more.

The July 2021 edition of Knightline (an OCC publication) reported that Sandy’s ‘Protect and Respect’ artwork won first place in the 2021 Art for Health and Unity competition sponsored by the Unity in Action magazine and that it would be used to promote public health safety in the community of Champagne.

Online magazine Smile Politely recently said of Marjanovic’s work: “Experiencing Sarah Marjanovic’s multimedia work is a bit like meeting the artist herself. The warmth and natural beauty that beckons you is also offset by the quiet strength that comes from a deep commitment to its message, conservation, and an amazing array of skills.

She has participated in “Unifying the Divide,” a collaborative mural project in Dayton, Ohio, and also recently appeared in the episode “Prairie Ridge and the Gillespie Family Farm” of Natural Curiosity, a podcast by Steven Shepard, which features spotlight Marjanovic’s involvement in efforts to restore and maintain natural communities, as well as “Cows I Have Known,” illustrated by Marjanovic and is the graphic designer for Living with Wildlife Illinois and Outdoor Illinois Journal.

“Living Hosts: Cultivating Collaboration” runs until January 31.

Both artists maintain websites with frequent updates on their upcoming projects at sarahmarjanovic.com and heather.com.


William E. Bennett