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Downstate Road Trip Round Up: Amazing Art

Regional road trips are all the rage right now. Many folks feel most comfortable hopping in the car with their loved ones and exploring sights that are off the beaten path. Some of those sights may even be in your own backyard! For plenty of regional travel ideas, check-in every Wednesday for a Downstate Illinois Road Trip Roundup on themed topics showcasing several destinations across the southern portion of the state. This week’s topic is all about art, and not just one medium of art…we’re talking about all kinds!
Amazing Art-effingham-illinois

You can find art everywhere you look… and that certainly extends to our beautiful community here in Effingham! Going into its 23rd year, Sculptures on the Avenues is a self-guided walking tour that winds in and out of the Downtown Effingham area. These sculptures, which bring life to the streets of Effingham, were created by some of the Midwest’s most well-known sculptors (and some of its best-kept secrets, as well). Each one is part of the annual Sculptures on the Avenues outdoor exhibition. We encourage you to visit and discover all of the incredible sculptures that have transformed the City’s avenues into an outdoor, walkable art gallery. Leonardo Nierman created the most notable piece that stands at the center of the exhibition each year. This permanent piece, “Flame of Hope,” is located at City Hall. We encourage you to start (or end) your walking tour here and learn how one unique piece started this whole exhibition! Many of the beautiful, well-crafted sculptures have significant meanings behind them. Whether it radiates joy and happiness, or demonstrates balance and movement, these artists express their love for art and life through each of their artwork. Pick up a Culture Guide to learn more about each piece as you walk through the exhibition. The Effingham Art Guild is home to dozens of award-winning artists. The Art Guild has traveling exhibitions that are open to the public at several different locations in the community. Every four months the exhibits change. You can see some of these beautiful pieces at Joe Sippers Café, the Effingham Public Library and the Effingham Performance Center. Just a little outside of Effingham, a botanical treasure house and outdoor gallery, Alwerdt’s Gardens and Alwerdt Artworks and Sculpture Park is one of the Effingham area’s hidden gems! Located just one mile south off of Interstate 70, Exit 82, the business and park cover several acres of land with their display gardens and half-mile sculpture walk. Stroll the lush grounds, and view 1,200 varieties of fragrant, uniquely landscaped herb, perennial and ornamental gardens. Visit the gift shop and garden center, which feature hundreds of interesting plants and gifts. Beauty abounds at Alwerdt’s… Open April 1st through October 31st. Visit for more details and hours. The City of Effingham is proud to be an arts-friendly community. Whether you craft, paint, sculpt, brew, cook with locally sourced foods or anything in between, we’re proud to support those who help make Effingham the vibrant and extraordinary community that it is!
Amazing Art-IllinoiSouth


ILLINOISouth has an impressive art scene. Home of several art festivals, murals, and art museums, southern Illinois residents have no shortage of options when it comes to opportunities to immerse themselves in a creative, artistic environment. The Olney Walldogs Mural Event is taking place in stages this year, due to the pandemic. There are 15 new murals popping up all around town for visitors to enjoy. While admiring the art, be sure to keep an eye out for white squirrels hidden in the murals! The popular art show, Art on the Square, also offers an opportunity for community members to come together to support the arts. Complete with pieces from over 100 artists, live music, food and more – Art on the Square is sure to be an unforgettable event. Consistently ranked as one of the top art shows in the nation by Art Fair Sourcebook, you don’t want to miss this fun-filled event in October! The Midwest Salute to the Arts Festival in late August is a nationally recognized art festival in Fairview Heights. Enjoy a weekend full of food, drinks, music, and, most importantly, all kinds of art! You can even watch as artists create some of their pieces! In October, Highland’s Art in the Park festival has countless art exhibits for visitors to explore. They even have a Kids Kreation area where children can make their own art! The Richard Bock Sculpture Museum in Greenville has been showcasing sculptures created by Bock since 1975. The museum also features letters and architectural drawings from Frank Lloyd Wright. Visiting the museum provides a great educational opportunity to appreciate the arts and learn about history. Enjoy all of the spectacular art that ILLINOISouth has to offer!

Amazing Art-mt-vernon-illinois-Cedarhurst-Art-Craft-Fair

Mt. Vernon

The slogan of Mt. Vernon, Illinois, isn’t “Creativity Redefined” for no reason. In fact, there are so many reasons we can’t even fit them all in this blog! Some of the more traditional portrayals of creativity can be found all around town in sculptures… at least one at every school and many more throughout the town, including nine in the downtown area alone! Perhaps the most popular displays of creativity can be found at Cedarhurst Center for the Arts. Open year round, Cedarhurst boasts a permanent collection, guest collections, a children’s gallery and a sculpture park as well as a wide range of art classes for all ages. Coming up in September is the 45th Cedarhurst Art & Craft Fair and the 16th Annual Ironclad Art: The Motorcycle. This year’s Art & Craft fair will showcase more than 80 unique artisans from across the country, a healthy recovery toward pre-pandemic fairs. After a heavily modified 2020 festival weekend, Cedarhurst is excited to welcome back local nonprofit civic groups as food vendors and the KidZone, expanded to include an entertainment tent dedicated to family-themed performances. This year they welcome you to relax and enjoy the new beer garden area featuring craft beer from St. Nicholas Brewing Co. As in the past, the fair will showcase regional musicians throughout the weekend.The 16th Annual “Ironclad Art” the Motorcycle held on the Grounds of Cedarhurst Center for the Arts is a perfect example of redefined creativity! This event showcases the art of the motorcycle with a wide variety of makes, models and designs. From traditional to completely unique, vintage to completely restored, street bike to dirt bike, there will be a little bit of everything at Ironclad Art on Sunday, September 26, 2021. Ironclad Art offers FREE Admission for spectators, “display only” bikes and parking. Registration for Trophy Awards are from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Sixteen trophies will be awarded in a variety of classes and an awards presentation will begin at 3:00 p.m. Enjoy a live demonstration by James Dirt Dorner of Artbydirt from Champaign, IL as he transforms scrap motorcycle parts into a unique sculpture. There will also be a tribute to Dale Walksler, (1952-2021), former Mt. Vernon Resident, Wheels Through Time Museum owner and motorcycle aficionado. While you are there you can listen to live music by Jeff Bradley and Dave Simmons and dine on delicious food concessions by The Frosty Mug Bar & Grill.

Amazing Art-Southernmost-illinois

Southernmost Illinois

Marion and Christy Poggas of Zeigler will have two separate exhibits of their works on display in both the main and west galleries of the Ella Elizabeth Hise Museum of Regional Art at Southeastern Illinois College running through Sept. 12. Their show An Intimate Portrait of Southern Illinois will be shown in the main gallery, while Freedom to Travel will be displayed in the museum’s west gallery. Marion is known for photography while his wife Christy uses an array of media including graphite, ink, watercolor, colored pencils, markers and oil paint. Christy has also expanded her artistic interests to include basketry, jewelry and Oriental Sumi e painting.“Their works for each exhibit blend together beautifully to showcase both their views of southern Illinois and their travels,” said museum curator, Melody Bryant. In An Intimate Portrait of Southern Illinois, Marion explains that the subject matter of his photographs have left quite the impression on him.“These photos are from locations in our area that have made an impact on me, both visually and emotionally,” said Marion. “Some of the locations are iconic, others are virtually unknown.” Christy echoes the sentiment by saying that revisiting many of the areas she grew up around in southern Illinois, including Giant City State Park Lodge, Cave-in-Rock, Cobden, old Shawneetown and numerous others have been the inspiration for the paintings in this exhibit. “As a native of Southern Illinois, I have a lifetime of experiences and memories of the beautiful natural environments of our area,” said Christy. Freedom to Travel showcases the Poggas’ travels while they have been retired. “The paintings and photographs in this exhibit are a small part of our remembrances of travel throughout the United States,” said Christy. “Like many people, we enjoy visiting new locations, experiencing and enjoying the local hospitality and cuisine, discovering the sights, and just being somewhere new.” A closing reception for both exhibits is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 12 from 1-2 p.m. and the museum will be open until 4 p.m.Regular hours of Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, contact 618-252-5400 ext. 2599 or 2486 or email

Amazing Art-Visit-SI-marion-illinois


Public art is on the rise in Williamson County! Marion, Herrin, and Carterville are all making huge efforts to add custom art to their downtown districts! Downtown Marion has become a hub for creativity and expression. Over the last few months, the downtown has added at least ten new murals around the square! These large-scale projects have been completed by both local artists and nationally recognized muralists. Each mural has its own inspiration and its own style. This brings an eclectic feel to the downtown area and offers each passerby their own experience. The mural that was recently completed on Tower Square Pizza was both designed and executed by a local 14-year-old artist and tells the story of Italian immigration into the area in the 19th & 20th centuries. We have also welcomed a few artists from around the country to come make their mark on Marion. One of these artists, from California, completed a 175-foot mural on the Marion Cultural and Civic Center! However, the new mural isn’t all that’s happening at the Marion Cultural and Civic Center! The theatre has reopened and has a number of upcoming shows scheduled! Live entertainment returns with music, shows, and more! In November, you can catch popular early 2000’s band, The Plain White T’s on stage! See these artists and more right here in Southern Illinois! From public art to fine art, check out our calendar for a list of upcoming events!