Illinois Art Station Foundation submits site plans to the Town of Normal to build a permanent facility at 101 E. Vernon Street in Normal.
On July 8, the Illinois Art Station Foundation submitted site plans to the Town of Normal to rezone its newly acquired property at 101 E. Vernon Street where they hope to establish the permanent home of Illinois Art Station, a public nonprofit that brings art and education to the youth of our community. “My vision is that children and teens in all their diversity will join together at Illinois Art Station, reaping lifelong benefits through educative visual arts activities, respectful dialogue, and genuine friendship,” says Dr. Laura E. Berk, president of IAS Foundation and founding donor of Illinois Art Station.
Since it began programming in 2018, Illinois Art Station has served more than 2900 children, youth, and their families with transformative, hands-on experiences with art. IAS has committed itself to civic engagement and education through the visual arts by partnering with organizations such as The Autism Place, Bloomington and Normal Public Libraries, Western Avenue Community Center and the Boys and Girls Club of Bloomington-Normal. Residents may recognize their impact in the large scale public murals IAS created with local youth artists and professional teaching artists that speak to a sense of community and belonging. These murals can be found at the intersection of West Market Street and Morris Avenue in Bloomington and inside the Washington Street Bridge tunnel along the Constitution Trail.
“This is a tremendous moment for IAS,” says Laura Jaster, the new Executive Director of Illinois Art Station. “Illinois Art Station was founded on the knowledge that art can be transformative. When children of any age engage with the visual arts, especially through making, they begin to see new things and learn about themselves and their world. Having our own space will allow us to provide the types of hands-on art experiences that spark this kind of transformation. We hope that children and their families from all over our community, especially those that may not have had the chance to experience art like this before, will find a home with IAS at our new location.”
Located near the Constitution Trail just minutes from Uptown Normal, the new home of Illinois Art Station will feature studio spaces, a public gallery, and outdoor space that will encourage visitors to explore, observe, and create. “Being able to integrate nature and exploration, close looking, and art making will allow us to provide something truly unique for our young artists,” Jaster said. “When people approach IAS from Uptown or walk through our grounds they will know that they are arriving someplace special.”
Illinois Art Station is a public nonprofit institution dedicated to providing all children, youth, and their families with transformative learning through hands-on experiences with the visual arts. For more information please contact Laura Jaster at 309.386.1019, email IllinoisArtStation@gmail.com, or visit IAS online at IllinoisArtStation.org.