Category: Creativity and Inspiration

CALL FOR ARTISTS: “An Artful Protest: Liberty & Justice for All” Online Art Show

CALL FOR ARTISTS: “An Artful Protest: Liberty & Justice for All” Online Art Show

June 13, 2020
For Immediate Release
Compassion Center for the Arts
404 N. Prairie St., Bloomington, IL

An Invitation for Amateur and Professional Artists to Unite and Express on the Topic of Racism and Injustice

Why Art? The Arts allow us to express ourselves in a way that no other platform can. Visual and performance art gives us a way to express our individual passion and release raw emotions. Compassion Center for the Arts, the Art Circle of Bloomington-Normal, and Bloomington-Normal NAACP have joined to invite people of every race, age, and denomination
to an online community event called: “An Artful Protest: Liberty and Justice for All”.

Who, What, When, Where? During this online event, we welcome anyone who is passionate about uniting against Racism and Social Injustice to submit their original works of art. This can include any form of art including paintings, sketches, photographs, sculpture, mixed-media, poetry, dramatic works, journal entries, vocal and instrumental music, rap, any form of dance and more. The Facebook event will be active from June 19 (Juneteenth) through July 4. Participation is free and open to everyone regardless of age, race, denomination, and gender. Our organizations do not wish to stifle creative expression. We would like to remind everyone that this event has been created as an outlet for expression, awareness and unification; not further division.

Instructions: Simply post photos or videos of your visual or performance art directly to the Facebook event: “An Artful Protest: Liberty and Justice for All”. Your art post can stand-alone or you may add details such as title,art medium, art size, and an explanation. Posts will go live in the order they are submitted and approved as non-divisive, from June 19 through July 4. While participation in this event is free, donations can be made to the Bloomington-Normal NAACP if you feel led to do so. Each individual artist can decide whether or not their art is for sale. We ask that art sale inquiries occur between the artist and art patron off wall via Facebook Messenger. Artists keep 100% of any art sales. Sponsors are not responsible for art transactions.

About the Sponsors of this Event:
Compassion Center for the Arts is a non-profit aiming to educate, enrich, and mentor our wonderfully diverse community in McLean County through the arts. We are passionate about compassion and want to use creative arts to bring our lives together…appreciating and embracing all of our God-given gifts and differences. To learn more, go to our website:

Art Circle of Bloomington-Normal is a creative community gathering in Faith, Hope and Love inspiring Beauty, Truth and Goodness through individual expression and appreciation of the Arts. Information about Art Circle can be found at

The Bloomington-Normal NAACP is our local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People with the vision to ensure a society in which all individuals have equal rights without discrimination based on race. The NAACP local chapter’s webpage is

11th Annual What’s So Good About Good Friday? Art Show

11th Annual What’s So Good About Good Friday? Art Show

Eleventh annual “What’s So Good About Good Friday?” art show at Second Presbyterian Church in downtown Bloomington on Thursday, April 9 and Friday, April 10, 2020. This art show centers on the power of Jesus’ crucifixion, death, and resurrection to accomplish something impactful and lifechanging.

Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”  (John 8:12)

    The idea for this show was birthed in 2010, when one of Angel Ambrose’s friends asked the question, “Why do Christ-followers think the cross is a good thing, when it was such an instrument of torture?” Her friend’s curiosity and discomfort were apparent as she inquired. Angel answered, “Because for the Christ-follower, the cross isn’t the end of the story, it is the beginning of our new story.” This show allows artists to shine their artistic light for Christ.

    We ask each artist to express the meaning of “What’s So Good About Good Friday?” in your own life. This meaning will be different for artist and that’s the beauty of this art show.  For some it is a literal depiction of Scripture. For others, it is an abstract of shapes and colors.  Each year, we see artistic creations that stir our souls and help us contemplate the beauty of the cross. Our greatest desire is to glorify God through art that will point viewers to the heart of our Lord.

    Art will be on display on Thursday, April 9 from 11:00 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Good Friday, April 10 from 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.. Reception for artists from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. on Good Friday, April 10. Second Presbyterian Church invites you to worship at the Good Friday Tenebrae service to follow the reception at 7:00 p.m. Artwork will also be on display during Easter Sunday services.

Pamela Cather “Wildlife Photography”: September 12

Pamela Cather “Wildlife Photography”: September 12

Pamela Cather “Wildlife Photography” Art Circle Guest Speaker on Thursday, September 12, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. at Jacob’s Well, 304 Jersey Ave., Normal, IL

Pamela Cather “Wildlife Photography” 
Guest Speaker @ Art Circle on Thursday, September 12
7:00 p.m. @ Jacob’s Well, 304 Jersey Ave., Normal, IL

Master Photographer Pamela Cather will talk about her passion for wildlife photography at Art Circle on Thursday, September 12, 2019 at 7:00 p.m at Jacob’s Well Community Church in Normal, IL. Pamela will share some of her favorite images; many of which were taken locally at or around Lake Bloomington. You’ll also learn some basic tips that you can use photographing wildlife for yourself. 
We can see wildlife all around us. From the simplicity of a bumble bee collecting pollen or a fox playing or stalking its prey, capturing the essence of the beast is what every wildlife photographer seeks. Finding those special moments when the animals display their own behavioral patterns or human-like characteristics require patience but are well worth it once that unique photo is captured.
Art Circle’s September meeting with local art announcements and art sharing will follow Pamela’s wildlife photography presentation. We are looking forward to a great evening. All are welcome. 

Our Mission Statement
Art Circle of Bloomington-Normal, Illinois is a creative community 
gathering in Faith, Hope and Love inspiring Beauty, Truth and Goodness 
through individual expression and appreciation of the Arts.

Connect with Art Circle online:
Twitter: @artcirclebn
Instagram: @artcirclebn

WANTED: Volunteer Art Teachers @ Threshold To Hope

WANTED: Volunteer Art Teachers @ Threshold To Hope

Threshold To Hope, non-profit, Bloomington, IL

Volunteer request from Nora Zaring on behalf of Threshold To Hope:

Threshold to Hope is looking for artists to volunteer to lead an art class in the upcoming months. We love to learn new things so any medium would be appreciated. We do art on Mondays from 10-2 and Fridays from noon-4pm. However, you do not need to fill the full time. We usually have 6-10 people in a class. Our clients are mostly low income or those with disabilities that can not afford to do regular paid art classes. Please contact Nora Zaring at with questions or to book a date. 

Follow/Find Threshold To Hope online:
Twitter: @ThresholdHope
Instagram: @thresholdtohope 

Cross Pollination: 7pm Thurs., March 14 @ Jacob’s Well

Cross Pollination: 7pm Thurs., March 14 @ Jacob’s Well

Dear Art Circle,

Our next meeting will be Thursday, March 14, at 7pm at Jacob’s Well on Jersey in Normal, IL. …and, since it’s Pi Day 3.14, there will also be pie as refreshment.   

We hope you’ll plan to join us for Q&A discussion on a myriad of creative topics. 

This will be our first Cross Pollination meeting of the year and we will combine the Cross Pollination discussion with art sharing. 

Cross Pollination Background:
At an Art Circle meeting nine years ago in spring of 2010 two things happened: 
Angel shared her frustration over trying to set up a postcard to industry standard print specs requiring a 1/4″ type safety and an 1/8″ of bleed and Janean said she had to google how to mix brown using primary color tempera paint before teaching an elementary art lesson. Angel’s type safety and bleed prepress stress was second nature for Janean who worked in mail order advertising for sixteen years. The brown paint thing was easy peasy for Angel who has been painting for even longer than that! Angel said aloud, “We should have gotten together and cross pollinated!” [And in case you are wondering, google gave two formulas for mixing brown. The first was to remember a Christmas tree and mix red + green and the second was orange + blue.]

Experimenter’s Cross-Pollination 
At our March 14, 2019 meeting we invite you to bring one example of an art form or art supply you have experimented with. Then we will take turns presenting our experiment to the group and answering questions that arise. 

What have you tinkered with? Did it work? Has it become a part of your artistic repertoire? 

In September 2018, Angel’s example was the use of gel mediums and what she has done with them. Angel showed a triptych of three identical subject matters with gel medium handled in very different ways on each piece to see what effect/affect they would have in the final piece.

We want to be resources for one another. We’ll go around the circle one at a time so everyone can hear both the Q and the A. In this way we can learn from one another. We all have knowledge to share. We ask for courtesy during the Q&A discussion, taking turns speaking and please limit side conversations, so that we can hear one another as a group. 

We hope to see you Thursday, March 14 at 7pm at Jacob’s Well for our Cross Pollination meeting. Invite friends! Everyone is welcome. We can always expand the circle by adding more chairs, literally and figuratively. Plus, there will be pie for 3.14 Pi Day! 


*Our Mission Statement*
Art Circle of Bloomington-Normal, Illinois is a creative community 
gathering in Faith, Hope and Love inspiring Beauty, Truth and Goodness 
through individual expression and appreciation of the Arts.

*Connect with Art Circle online:
Twitter: @artcirclebn
Instagram: @artcirclebn

Special Guest Speaker, Judith Valente – Oct. 11

Special Guest Speaker, Judith Valente – Oct. 11

Judith Valente will speak on “The Art of an Everyday Contemplative” at a presentation to Art Circle of Bloomington-Normal. The presentation will be Thursday, Oct. 11, at 7 pm at Jacob’s Well Church, 304 Jersey Ave., Normal.

Art Circle, a faith-based group of artists and creative people, is opening the free event to the community.

Valente’s talk will be based on her new book How to Live: What the Rule of St. Benedict Teaches Us About Happiness, Meaning, and Community. In her book, she shows how the guidebook Benedict centuries ago created for successful community living has applications to contemporary life. Valente is a lay associate (also called oblate) of the Benedictine monastery Mount St. Scholastica in Atchison, KS.

“Being contemplative doesn’t mean we don’t or can’t live dynamic and energetic lives. It means that we bring a reflective, attentive attitude to whatever we do,” Valente said.

Valente is an award-winning author, poet, and journalist. She is the senior correspondent for WGLT Radio, a National Public Radio affiliate in central Illinois. She writes for U.S. Catholic and National Catholic Reporterand is a former staff writer for The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. She was a correspondent for Chicago Public Radio andReligion & Ethics Newsweekly on national PBS-TV.

Valente’s books will be available for purchase at this event. Cash and check accepted.

Art Circle of Bloomington-Normal is a creative community gathering in Faith, Hope and Love inspiring Beauty, Truth and Goodness through individual expression and appreciation of the Arts.

Connect with Art Circle online: and Facebook: If you have any questions please contact at

Book List

Book List

Here’s a listing of books on or about creativity & its obstacles our group has found helpful & repeatedly mentioned in Circle. Ask about these books at your independent & local bookstore or check out the links.


In no particular order:


The Creative Call: An Artist’s Response to the Way of the Spirit

by Janice Elsheimer 

This book has been a repeating theme at Art Circle since the group moved to Jacob’s Well in June of 2009.



The Courage to Create

By Rollo May

“Rollo May helps all of us find those creative impulses that, once liberated, offer new possibilities for achievement.”



Real Artists Don’t Starve: Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age

by Jeff Goins

“One of my favorite chapters is about having a creative community where you live.  Hmmm, sound familiar? :-)” ~Janean



Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking

by David Bayles and Ted Orland

“Today, more than it was however many years ago, art is hard because you have to keep after it so consistently. On so many different fronts. For so little external reward. Artists become veteran artists only by making peace not just with themselves, but with a huge range of issues.” ~Bayles & Orland



The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

by Steven Pressfield

“Defines the battles of creating and offers some strategies for winning the war.”   ~LizBeth


If you have anything to add to this list

please email us your suggestion

with a brief description why.

Good Friday 2018

CCC Art Show 2018 #2

Christmas Party 2017