It's All Art!!

The inspiration of Faith Humphrey-Hill.

What do I mean by "It's all Art?"

Art is all around us, everything we use, everything we do has at one time or another involved a creative process. I believe we are all artists, some of us just don't know it yet.

I am a working artist and moved to this area almost 20 years ago to be close to a more culturally vibrant scene, which Oak Park and River Forest certainly are. Shameless self promotion — you can see my artwork at www.kenreif.com, also exhibiting at in Oak Park and at Culver's in Berwyn. I also have two murals along the CTA Green Line embankment in Oak Park (the Tree and the Dog).

This is my first article here at Patch, and I'm honored to bring you art news and art people from around the area. Please feel free to drop a line here and contact me with any comments. I'd also like to post any art happenings that you want to shout out.

I recently interviewed Faith Humphrey-Hill, executive director of . Full disclosure department, I have been Faith's "boss" at the Art League for the past 18 months as president of the league's board of directors.

Faith is one of the first people you would see upon entering Art League's space at 720 Chicago Ave. Here's the official OPAL site. Her warmth and knowledge, along with former president Keith Taylor's amiable demeanor, made me think this was where I wanted to be. But enough of that, here's the interview:

Ken Reif: Who are you?

Faith Humphrey-Hill: I'm Faith Humphrey-Hill, I wear several hats, I'm a mom with 2 kids, I'm an artist and I'm the Executive Director of the Oak Park Art League.

Where did you go to school?

I received my BFA in painting and drawing from the School of the Art Institute and my masters in art management from Columbia College in Chicago and was first to graduate with a focus on art in youth and community development.

What is your focus/passion?

I'm all about making the arts accessible and not scary also making people comfortable with the entire creative process, no matter who they are, an artist, an art student or just the random person on the street. I feel strongly that art should not be intimidating.

Art is about training yourself to see the world, when you start making art you are looking beyond what things are, paying attention to the light and beautiful shapes, you appreciate the subtleties of life.

What brought you to the Chicago area?

I moved here to go to the School of the Art Institute, while there I ran the student galleries, I worked for a couple for profit galleries in the city, interned with Chicago Public Art during the "Cows on Parade" public art. I worked on a non-profit program for after school art programs for inner city kids which was a very rewarding experience.

Now, I have my own family and ended up at the art league which is perfect because I have experience with exhibitions and education and the art league provides a combination of the two. I love the entire experience, from the start of the artwork, to the exhibition which is an all important step in the process.

So this really lets you work with the whole spectrum of the artistic process.

Everyone should have an art league in their community. Art should be accessible to everybody.

Where do you feel the art league is headed?

There's a lot of potential for growth with our educational programs and with the exhibitions. Many of our classes are at capacity and our exhibitions also are having a high participation rate. But there is always potential for growth in all areas, possibly through working with other area art organizations.We are doing well, we have just celebrated our 90th year and are still going strong. Artists are kind and supportive, and also it's that kind of thinking that helped us weather the economic ups and downs. Artists are not linear thinkers. This is an art family.

Do you have artists in your family?

Yes my dad's a photographer, my husband is an artist and my sisters too.

What are your goals for your artwork?

I don't know. I like what I'm doing now and having conversation with other artists. I feel I'm having more success inspiring people to make art and be around art, which makes me very happy.

Tell me about the Oak Park Library opportunity.

Well the Oak Park Library has this front space open that used to be a cafe and they turned it into an "idea box" so I proposed to use this as a multi-artist studio space for a month. The artists will work there and display their art, so people can walk by and watch what artists do.

At the end of the month there is going to be a reception and sale with a percentage going to the library for their art fund. It starts May 1st through June 3rd with a reception on June 9th. What I also like about this library group is that it has artists from all across the area participating and working together. I'm hoping that the public will get a better understanding about the challenges of making art.

Thanks so much Faith for everything you do.

Thank you, I'm a busy person but I love everything I do.

It shows.

Debby Preiser April 13, 2012 at 02:13 PM
Ken: How cool! Art Critic At-Large. Good for you. I'll look forward to seeing and reading more profiles. Faith was a fabulous start! What a talented woman. I did not know all of her previous art experience including the "Cows on Parade," one of my favorite public art projects of all time. Debby
Camille Wilson White April 13, 2012 at 03:14 PM
Great article Ken! I have enjoyed having a chance to see all of your art that you post on fb. Fantastic interview Faith! You are such a talented woman!!! How interesting to find out that you were an intern w/CPAG. Also, the new "Idea Box" at the OPPL is very cool. Looking forward to seeing the artist at work in that space. Camille


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