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Drop-In Painting Group Grows Artists and Camaraderie

Stop in at the Alfred Rubin Riverwalk Community Center on a Tuesday morning for a quick tour around the building and you will see a small group of artists quietly working on their paintings and drawings. The sunny room on the second floor provides the perfect space for spreading out their supplies and media—and for conversation and laughter as they create. When I visited recently the room was full of their beautiful artwork, which they had brought in to show the variety of media and techniques that reflect their different styles.  
 
Babs and Lois work on their art

Art to be exhibited at Morton Arboretum Nov. 2-4, 2018
One of the paintings, “Impressions of Zion 1: The Virgin River,” by Joe Rizzo will be exhibited at the Morton Arboretum’s Administration Building in the Cudahy Room from 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. on Nov. 3 and 4 as part of The Nature Artists’ Guild’s 2018 Holiday (Autumn) Exhibit of Natural History Art. Admission to the exhibit is free with general (paid) admission to the Morton Arboretum. Additionally, the Nature Artists’ Guild is hosting an artists’ reception on Friday evening, Nov. 2 from 4:30-8:30 p.m. that is for the artists' friends and family and members of the Morton Arboretum. 
 
Impressions of Zion 1: The Virgin River, copyright Joe Rizzo

 
Joe explained some of the steps in the process of creating Impressions of Zion, a triptych and form of modified pointillism using individual brush strokes in tiles.  In this photo he holds a stretched version of the photo from the river in Zion National Park in Utah, a place he has visited often. 

Other artists in the group also have exhibited their work in local juried shows and all had beautiful works that they were proud of. 

About the group
The Naperville Park District Drop-In Painting Group, as it is officially named in the quarterly Program Guide, meets every Tuesday morning from 9:00-11:30 a.m. in Room 205 at the Alfred Rubin Riverwalk Community Center located at 305 W. Jackson Ave. Most participants are 50 or over, but occasionally a young person will join the group during the summer. 

Beginners and anyone interested in pursuing their art in a friendly setting are welcome to join the group. One of the members, Rita, started attending in 2015 after she retired. “I was looking for something to do. I also took classes at Hobby Lobby and other places, and it really helped to have instruction,” said Rita. Most of the others have taken classes outside the group, but also learn from each other. 
 
Rita applying paint in a pour-over technique

“People get ideas from each other,” said Babs, who has been attending the group for more than 20 years. “Someone will come back from a class and show us what they learned and you think, ‘Oh, I’d love to try that.’ Once we sprayed paint in layers, and it was messy but a lot of fun.”

Why the group began and why it continues 
The camaraderie is a huge part of why the participants enjoy the group so much. Joe, who joined the group two years ago, said that he relies on the group “for all of my current events, as I don’t watch or read the news.” 
 
From left: Rita, Lois, Babs, Joe and Renée

“It’s a community,” added Rita. “And a support group, where you can laugh and have a shoulder to cry on,” said Renée, who has been attending for more than 20 years.
 
Renée working on a watercolor
 

“We all help each other,” explained Babs. “We encourage beginners to try painting because any teeny bit of talent that they have will come out.”

The Drop-In Painting Group started more than 25 years ago after a painting class ended. “There were 15 of us who wanted to continue to get together,” said Babs. The Park District has hosted the group ever since. 

Lois, who has been involved since the original painting class, works mostly with watercolor and colored pencil. She remembers one of the instructors who worked with the group saying, “I just love you people. You are all so different, but such good friends!"  
 
Lois is working on a pencil drawing from a photo of her with her best friend from childhood

New participants invited!
New participants are welcome to join the Drop-In Painting Group any time. Bring your supplies and your work in progress. There is plenty of space at the table and a room full of friendly artists ready to share what they know and encourage you to develop your unique style.  

Painting and Drawing Classes
For those looking for some instruction in painting or drawing, the Naperville Park District offers classes in partnership with College of DuPage and the Naperville Art League. For example, instructor Pam Keller teaches a Watercolor class on Tuesdays at 12:30 and One-Stroke Painting for Beginners takes place at Naperville Fine Art Center. Check the Program Guide for more art programs.

Gallery of Art from the Drop-In Painting Group
 


Flowers by Babs; Squirrel by Lois
 

Colorful Ramirezi & Friends, watercolor, copyright Joe Rizzo
 


Watercolor by Lois

 
Pencil drawing and watercolor by Babs

  
Swamp Ballet, painting by Rita

 
Watercolor (in background) by Babs

 
The Fisherman, watercolor by Renee

 

Watercolor by Babs

 
Retreating Glacier, ink and watercolor, copyright Joe Rizzo


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To learn more about our sponsorship opportunities contact
Stacey Fontechia Sales and Sponsorship Manager at 630-848-3575 or at sfontechia@napervilleparks.org.

Looking for an opportunity to have a positive impact on people’s lives while building a fun and dynamic career? Consider the Naperville Park District! It takes all kinds of skills, knowledge and talent to serve the recreation needs of the Naperville community. If you’re passionate about the outdoors, staying active, having fun and encouraging others to do the same, then check out our part-time and full-time career opportunities.

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Funds raised through the Naperville Parks Foundation support the Naperville Park District’s Fee Assistance Program. The Naperville Parks Foundation supports the recreation needs and desires of the residents of Naperville – encouraging health and wellness, fitness, family time, and fun. The Foundation supports the mission of making recreation of all kinds accessible to everyone across the community, regardless of socioeconomic circumstances.

On Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011 Naperville Park District officials heard the good news for which they have been waiting for many months: the District has achieved national accreditation through the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA).

The decision was announced at the NRPA national conference in Atlanta following a formal hearing before the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA).

Naperville is only the second park district in Illinois to earn this distinction and the 104th nationally accredited agency in the nation; there are more than 10,000 recreation agencies in the United States. The Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies accredits a handful of park agencies each year that have completed a multi-step process involving a self-review by the agency, a site visit, and an evaluation and formal report by the Commission.

“We are extremely proud to bring this honor to Naperville,” said Park District Executive Director Ray McGury. “It’s an affirmation of our high standards and also an encouragement to continue bringing high quality recreation and parks experiences to our community.”

The Park District’s accreditation process began approximately one year ago and included an extensive self-evaluation by staff and a 5-day visit from CAPRA reviewers this past July. Maintaining the accreditation requires annual reports and 5- and 10-year reviews.

Park District staff members noted that the CAPRA process has helped them see the big picture, focus on long term goals and plans, review plans more regularly, organize documents so that they are accessible and useable, and collaborate more effectively with other departments and outside organizations.

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Our Mission
We provide recreation and park experiences that promote healthy lives, healthy minds and a healthy community.
 
Our Vision
To be a national leader in parks and recreation providing and promoting high quality experiences and facilities at a great value to our community.
 
Core Values
Health and Wellness, Environmental Education, Stewardship and Sustainability, Community Enrichment, Public Safety, Accessibility, Personal Growth and Enrichment.
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