Parlor Art

Throughout the year we feature exhibits of special interest in the Parlor and Narthex outside the Sanctuary. In the past we have exhibited various forms of artistic endeavor of our members and friends of the church, themed exhibits dealing with issues confronting Christians today, work of our Sunday School students and more. The Parlor Art Gallery is curated by CUCCSTC member Kathy Westman.

180 Years of CUCC – 1837 to 2017 | March 1 – March 31, 2017

The church from which The Congregational United Church of Christ, St. Charles, Illinois evolved met for the first time in the small cabin of one of the members on the shore of the Fox River where Mount St. Mary Park now resides.
This exhibit includes both photos and artwork showing the church at Third and Walnut, and now at Fox Mill as it appeared through the years.
In addition to the photos in the parlor, bulletin boards full of photos and artifacts are displayed in the area between the church office and Rodgers Fellowship Hall. Written histories of the Church were published in 1937 and again in 1987. March 1, 2017 a booklet summarizing the first two works and bringing the history up to date was released. It may be viewed or downloaded from this web site by going to **Church History Supplement**

Recent Exhibits

Faces: Unarmed Black Men Shot by Police | January 15 – Mid-February, 2017

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963

Unarmed Black men and boys who were thought to be too dangerous to live, shot and killed by police from 2011 to 2014.  In 2014 and 2015 alone, over 500 unarmed Black men and boys were killed by police in the United States

Faces in the Gallery –There are 30 photographs in the exhibit.  the link below will open a list of the name of each victim, and the date and location of his shooting. CLICK HERE to see the list

Margaret Bucholz – Artist | December, 2016 – January, 2017

Margaret Bucholz was born in Japan and lived there 9 years. She picked up her love for art from her mother who is a Japanese Ikebana (flower arranging) master and an oil painter. From 9 years of age until age 21 she lived in Hawaii where she picked up her love for bright colors and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drawing and Painting from University of Hawaii. Now a long-time resident of Wheaton, because she has fallen in love with the changing seasons, and the vivid fall colors, she doesn’t plan on moving anywhere else soon.
Many of her watercolor pieces hang in private collections. To further her skills, she has taken many workshops at The Clearing and Dillman’s Resort from many well-known artists. Currently she is taking colored pencil classes at Beech Tree Studios in Geneva, Illinois.
Margaret is currently president of Addison Art Guild and teaches colored pencil and watercolor painting classes at DuPage Art League, and acrylic, watercolor and pencil sketching at Addison Park District, and is available for demos in watercolor (wet-on-wet and pour method) or colored pencil.
Commissioned portraits from photos of pets or people are available upon request as well as other subjects. Contact church office for information.
“There is nothing I would rather do than create art and be in the moment of reflecting beauty which is all around us.”

Eliska Marie Kostelny -Artist | August-September, 2016


Parlor Art Gallery hosts 11 artworks that push the known boundaries of acceptable art with cultural and political implications. It is art of an up and coming, local art student, Eliska Marie Kostelny. It’s Hip, It’s Young and it is August and September’s Gallery Artshow.
“Many of my concepts center on the fragility of
humans and the preservation of the natural world… combining two objects not normally seen together,” Eliska reports. Can you find objects incorporated into the paintings – a selfie, a mother’s cry, a blindman… each hybrid object exploring a range of issues? The Gallery invokes experimentation with young modes of expression. “I find that my personal philosophy
and my political views often find their way into my work. I create art in the hope of making people consider concepts they might not normally consider.” Eliska Marie Kostelny opens the viewer to a hybrid of painted images with new modes of interpretations.

Two Exhibits in One from Geneva and Wayne


This month the exhibit space in divided between two separate contributing artist groups, The Wayne Garden and Art Club, and Beech Street Studio in Geneva.
The Wayne Art League was started in the 1950’s at the Little Home Church by the Wayside (UCC) in Wayne, Illinois. Today, they are known as the Wayne Garden and Art Club. The artists styles and subject matter vary as much as the media. The club desires to understand, support and participate in the creative process. Today, they continue to meet every Monday morning either at Little Home Church from fall to late spring. From late Spring to late Fall they take advantage of the world outside and paint plain air each Monday morning at various locations in the Fox Valley and Beyond. With a long history in the community as a group of dedicated fine artists, their work is shared at galleries and venues around the Fox Valley several times a year.

In the Narthex area, surrounding the main doors and the windows of the Sanctuary, the second exhibit features fine art in colored pencils, with varied subject matter. The exhibit is the work of the students of Andria Burchett and Beech Street Studio in Geneva.

Photography by OGCC – Old Guys Camera Club | January-February, 2016


In 2005, Jack Shouba, John Janunas, D. DeMet and Charlie Peterson met at the Fox River Camera Club sponsored by the St. Charles Park District. New ideas, new photographers from Mayslake Camera Club, Oak Brook, along with Bill Ludemann, the Morton Arboretum Camera Club with the President, Chuck Hunnicutt created today’s Luau Coffee weekly photo meet – Old Guys Camera Club. Several of the OGCC are church and local commuity members. The Fox Valley area is the primary subject matter with photographs of Chicago, Alaska and Mississippi subjects. All are for sale ~ check with the Office for contact information. The OGCC hope you enjoy the selection of images.

Trees of Life – Sonia McNally, Canterbury, UK | November, 2015


In the words of the artist, Sonia McNally: This collection of work highlights my interaction with trees over a period of 12 years.
For me a tree exists in two simultaneous dimensions – the physical observable world and the inner world of the imagination. When I am painting trees, I am trying to capture both of these aspects together, on the canvas.
Nor do these trees exist in isolation. They are an integrated part of any landscape and culture, and as a landscape painter I am profoundly influenced by what is going on in and around the tree. These cultural, spiritual and historical resonances find their way into the work – whether the landscape is Celtic or Christian or, as is more usual, a blend of the two.
The imaginative dimension acts a portal for the spiritual, just as God appeard to Moses withing the burning bush, so I often see my trees as being imbued, almost on fire, with the presence of the higher, holy energies.
Whatever your own spiritual standpoint, I urge you to look at these paintings and to see both the outward form of the tree itself, but also, travel from the roots in the ground up to the branches in the sky, and experience the imaginative and spiritual essence of the tree which suffuses and intermingles with the external subject.

Sonia McNally, biography: I am a professional visual artist working in a space where the worlds of the imagination, spirituality and art converge. My work explores themes of the sacred, mythology, folklore and the relation iconography. I work onsite in ancient and wild landscapes, which act as a portal to imaginal narratives and a connection to the divine.
I have a First Class degree in Fine Art. I live in the Canterbury areas of Kent, UK and paint and exhibit internationally. I also take groups of artists on residential painting trips, produce public commissions and teach in Canterbury Cathedral.

Quilts – Gale Mack | September-October, 2015


Gale Mack, in her own words: My earliest memories of quilting came from when, as a child, I played under my grandmother’s large quilting frame in her farmhouse in Alabama.
During WW II she made the Blue Butterfly quilt for me, using scraps of material from family clothing that had been made from flour and seed sacks. Grandmother let me pick out the scraps for the butterflies. I still recognize the scraps in the quilt, and I remember who wore the dresses that provided the parts for my quilt. Two of the scraps came from dresses that I wore. The hand quilting done by my grandmother was just exquisite.
In the 1980’s I started to make small wall hangings and Christmas tree skirts. My first bed size quilt is the Hawaii Floral one, done in the stained glass method. I drew simple flowers, matching the flower to the ones that are in the framing of each block. It took several years for me to complete this quilt.
I have since become faster and now I can usually finish two to four quits each year. Most of them are made as gifts to family members. (I borrowed some of them back for this display.) The only one that I also took years to finish is the Iris quilt. One reason that it took so long is because, like the Hawaiian quilt, it is all hand work.
Each quilt presented new challenges. Most of the challenges were met with the help of other quilters, especially my forever friend Suzanne Driver and good friend Barbara Vlack. Both are quilters extraordinaire. They have the patience and take the time to help novice quilters.
I always have at least two quilts in progress and material and ideas for several more. Through the years I have bought fabric across the United States. There is a saying among quilters that, “She who dies with the most fabric wins.” Not really wanting to “win,” I went through my stash of fabric and donated and helped make more than 800 pillowcases (requiring 800 yards of material) for Children’s Hospitals in Florida and North Carolina.
Most of these quilts are my designs, but I have them machine quilted. I do not sell my quilts, however I have donated several to charities for auction.
I hope that you enjoy looking at these quilts half as much as I enjoyed making them.

Floral Paintings by Marge Hall | July-August, 2015


Parlor Art Gallery presents Marge Hall, Winfield, IL. John and Susan Rodgers chose to celebrate the gallery with Marge Hall’s extraordinary paintings of flowers. The paintings begin with her high contrast reference photographs taken spontaneously. The image is enlarged onto a wrap – around canvas with a water color pencil. Marge can spend sixty hours on a painting applying several thin layers of paint until almost a luminous flower appears. Marge tells us, “There is nothing more challenging or exciting to me than to capture the light”. Marge Hall is one of John and Susan Rodgers’ favorite artists as well as awarded Best of Show, People’s Choice and Award of Excellence in many prestigious exhibits.Marge was the first artist featured in the Parlor Art series, in 1999, shortly after we moved into the new building.

THE LIGHT OF THE HEART -The Community Art Therapy Project | May 15 to June15 2015


The Community Art Therapy Project provides a safe and encouraging environment for individuals to uncover the light of their hearts through the creative process of art making.
Art Therapy is a form of expressive therapy that uses master-level art therapists and the creative process of art making to holistically make changes to the mind, heart, body and soul that foster growth, healing, presence/being, connections, or whatever you may need in that moment of time.
The Community Art Therapy Project’s vision is to create a community that embraces and utilizes the creative process of art making to allow for the light of all of our hearts to shine bright, building a safer, connected and more supportive community for all to heal, grow, prosper and love.

God’s Earth Laughs in Flowers | April 1 to May 14, 2015


For the second year in a row parlor art from Easter through the end of May is featuring the works of the Sunday school kids from preschool through 7th Grade
As you enter the narthex, to the left and right are murals entitled “God’s Earth Laughs in Flowers” featuring the handprints of our preschoolers. Each child’s handprint is so unique but together they make a beautiful masterpiece.
Follow along into the parlor where the theme continues with handprints of our kindergarten and 1st graders turned into beautiful flowers that have bloomed to continue the laughter. Also will be found are footprints of our 2nd and 3rd grades that have been turned into bumble bees and bunny rabbits. Spring abounds!
Also in the parlor can be found handprints of our 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th graders with a title developed and chosen by the 4th and 5th graders “Hands Around God’s Colorful World”. Each handprint has been uniquely designed with the student’s name incorporated into it.
Special thanks go out to Terry Morton for helping produce and develop these art works. Also thanks to ALL the teachers who helped the kids during the Sunday school time make these beautiful pieces of art for all to enjoy and remind us of the promise of new life especially during this Easter time.

From the Personal Collection of John and Susan Rodgers | February and March, 2015


Faith is conveyed in a variety of ways. Perhaps one of the least of which is words. At least according to St. Francis who reportedly said, “Preach the Gospel always. And if all else fails – use words.”
It often feels that Francis was correct and that is one reason that Parlor Art is such an important part of our ministry. Hopefully over the past 15 years various artists have taken you to a place where the connections between you and God, and you and neigh- bor have been strengthened. You have found “Thin places” where you could feel God’s presence, love and guidance.
Susan and John Rodgers wish to share some of their art that is powerful and meaningful to them. Hopefully it will connect you, also, to the one who calls us to life and is present in every moment.

Christmas Quilts – by Sandie Bils | December 2014 and January 2015


Sandie Bils, Parlor Art Gallery artist and member of our church, presents Christmas Quilts. Colors, shapes, symbols each combined in the art of quilting create holiday themes. Sandie loves snowmen and cardinals and incorporates each in Christmas Quilts. As a child, Sandi Bils remembers her mother, grandmother, sisters making and tying quilts. She remembers her grandmother made silk pieced quilt tops embellished with decorative embroidery work. Sandie began quilting 25 years ago and has, at this point, made 25-30 quilts….. and counting. Sandie Bils hopes you enjoy viewing the Christmas Quilts and we of the Parlor Art Gallery sincerely appreciate the opportunity to show her beautiful art.

Faces of Ukraine – Photos by Mike Dixon | Late October and November, 2014


The Ukrainian people are full of life and enthusiasm…with a sense of dignity, beauty and strength. Women convey gentle lyricism, attractiveness and grace, regardless of age; the men are masculine, strong and heroic. Physical and spiritual beauties are combined. These are the self-sufficient, talented and beautiful people of Ukraine.

The Photographer, Mike Dixon has practiced architecture, with a focus on historic preservation, in St. Charles for 32 years. He took his skills and experience with him as he volunteered with the United States Peace Corps to help Ukraine. After three years, his time in Ukraine was cut short as a result of a government overthrow. He and 10 other volunteers moved covertly over the border into Moldova, and returned to the United States.

Mike continues to work with the people of the city of Lutsk in northwest Ukraine with the development of a restoration plan for the Lubart Castle, built in the fourteenth century. Contact the artist-photographer Mike Dixon at

Shower of Stoles Project | August, September and early October, 2014


“You know me. I am your daughter, your pastor. 
You nurtured me, encouraged me, ordained me. 
Yet I cannot tell you my name. For me the risk is still too great. 
I work and pray for the day when I am free to say who I truly am.” 
– Anonymous stole
The Shower of Stoles Project is an extraordinary collection of stoles representing the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people of faith. These religious leaders have served in over thirty denominations and faith traditions, 
and come from six countries on three continents.
This collection celebrates the gifts of LGBT persons who serve God in countless ways, while also lifting up those who have been excluded from service because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The Project bears witness to the huge loss of leadership that the Church has brought upon itself because of its own unjust policies.
The Shower of Stoles tours constantly around the country, being exhibited in local congregations, universities and seminaries. If you are passionate about the full inclusion of LGBT people in every aspect of the life of the Church, both at the congregational and denominational levels, there are many ways to create change. Parlor Art Gallery hosts Shower of Stoles August and September. The exhibit acts as a powerful tool in creating awareness in building an inclusive church it is meant to be – just, loving and extravagantly welcoming.
For more information visit