New Exhibits Scheduled to Open in ICC Art Galleries in February

by Cyndi Merrill
by Noah Otten

Two new exhibits open in February in the Illinois Central College art galleries, located on the East Peoria Campus.

Soft Spot, a fabric art/mixed media exhibit by Noah Otten, opens February 7 in the ICC Performing Arts Center Gallery, located in the lobby of the facility. A talk by the artist is scheduled February 18 from noon to 1 pm in the gallery.

In addition, Making Friends, a ceramic sculpture exhibit by Cyndi Merrill, opens February 13 in Gallery 336B, located in the Academic Building. A meet and greet event with the artist is scheduled for February 13 from noon to 2 pm, with an artist talk slated for 1:30 pm, both in the gallery.

Soft Spots began with an investigation into the vast collection of fabrics left behind by Otten’s grandmother, an avid quiltmaker, after her passing in 2015. Calling upon traditional arrangements of pieced fabrics to form a multilayered hangable quilt is the artist’s major inspiration in the work.

Born in and currently working from Peoria, Otten received his bachelor of fine arts degree in studio arts with a concentration in oil painting from Bradley in 2017. He recently completed a residency at the Prairie Center of the Arts in Peoria, during which time he began experimenting with sewing, quiltmaking and fabric art.

Merrill earned both a bachelor in fine arts degree in ceramics and a bachelor of arts degree in studio arts from Illinois State University. A sculptor who resides in Mapleton, her sculptures reference motion and the idealized form as a type of therapeutic contemplation about contemporary standards of youthfulness and usefulness in the modern world. Merrill’s sculptures demonstrate how life extends beyond its own subjective limits and often tells a story about the effects of global cultural interaction over the latter half of the twentieth century.

Merrill is owner/artist of the Dog and Pony Art Gallery and Glazed and Confused Pottery, both in Peoria.

The exhibit by Otten runs through March 6. The exhibit by Merrill is on display through March 8.

Hours of operation for Gallery 336B are Monday through Thursday, from 9 am to 5 pm and Friday from 9 am to noon. The Performing Arts Center Gallery is open Monday through Thursday from 9:30 am to 7:30 pm, and Friday from 9:30 am to noon. In addition, the Performing Arts Center Gallery also is accessible when the Performing Arts Center is open for public events. Operation of all galleries varies with ICC’s holidays and breaks.

The exhibits are presented by the ICC Art Program and the Arts at ICC. The Arts at ICC has a rich history of enhancing the arts community and expanding education beyond the classroom. Arts at ICC presents more than 500 exhibits, performances, lectures, rehearsals, meetings, master classes, clinics, seminars, receptions, orientations, forums, auditions and tournaments annually.

For more information or to confirm a gallery will be open at a particular time, visit or contact the ICC Arts and Behavioral Sciences Department at (309) 694-5113.