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Antioch arts association gets new, larger home

Roger Shule Antioch paints wood paneled wall new locatiAntioch Fine Arts Associati41380 Rte. 83 Antioch. | Thomas Delany Jr.~ Sun-Times

Roger Shule of Antioch paints a wood paneled wall at the new location of the Antioch Fine Arts Association at 41380 Rte. 83 in Antioch. | Thomas Delany Jr.~ Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 10, 2013 2:03AM

The Antioch Fine Arts Association is moving from its original downtown location at 983 Main St., to a larger space only about a mile south at 41380 Route 83.

AFAF’s home since it was started 11 years ago has been a two-story frame house that was once the parsonage for the church next door, one of the village’s oldest buildings now owned by Lake Region Historical Society. The church has been renovated and is known as The Meeting House.

The historical center’s archives are in the former Lasco Florist building to the north. The parsonage to the north, at the corner of Main Street and Ida Avenue, has been used virtually rent-free by AFAF since it was established in 2001.

“When we first acquired the house, it stood empty, but my dad, Roger Lindblad, and Roger Shule, a founder of AFAF, entered a gentlemen’s agreement to use the building,” said Wendy Maston, historical society president. AFAF funded improvements to the building, including air conditioning and a new furnace.

“AFAF paid us $1,800 in rent this year, but it has cost us $40,000 over the past decade to take care of the building and for taxes. We need to charge a higher rent but AFAF can’t afford to pay the amount we need to charge,” said Maston, who said the historical society, like AFAF, is cash strapped and needs to generate more revenue to meet expenses. “We hope to find a renter, perhaps a professional like an attorney, to move into the building. We need to have a certain income from a renter to pay our expenses.”

In the meantime, AFAF leaders have been looking for a new home.

“We were determined to stay in Antioch and are delighted we found our new location just south of Route 173 on the west side of Main Street, less than a mile from our current location,” said AFAF President Gayle Mondie, a watercolor artist who lives in Ingleside.

There is plenty of room for a new gallery, gift shop and studios for artists in the building used previously as a chiropractor’s office and a bank.

“Our new landlords, Paul and Donna Parelski, are super nice people and supportive of the arts. They have given us freedom to do what we want to make it our home,” said Mondie.

AFAF members are cleaning and painting and getting ready for the move that will follow the last show that closes Dec. 15 at the current location.

“We will use upstairs for studios for our artists. Downstairs will be gallery space and an area offering unique gifts. It is very easy to access the large parking lot. It will be a nice location for us as we hope to offer more classes and one-day workshops to reach more people in the community with the arts.”

Mondie said the decision making involved in the move has been a team effort and included Robert Shule, vice president; Daisy Perez, vice president-elect; and other officers Katie DiOrio, Rich Ellinghusen, Bernita Schutte, Bev Walczak, Markus Clavadetscher and Jude Kaider.

Walczak said the historical society was very generous in allowing AFAF to pay little or no rent as it worked toward the goal of bringing art to the community and offering the public opportunities to learn about and enjoy art. “Our 45 artists live within about a 30-mile radius of Antioch and work in all kinds of media, ranging from sculpture to paintings to stained glass, photography and jewelry.”

Mondie said AFAF members support and participate in local art-centered events, most recently the Chairs on The Chain fund-raising project sponsored by Antioch Chamber of Commerce. At the end of next year, AFAF members will have a show at Anderson Art Center, Kenosha, Wis., with more information about the show to be announced in early 2013.

Future exhibits at the new location will be announced in 2013. “We will open in January with an opening celebration scheduled for warmer weather when we can take the art outside and we can give tours of our new art center,” said Mondie.

Mondie said the organization survives on the support of individuals and businesses in the area. “We are seeking individual donations of $500 to help get our new space up and running. Donors who are that generous will be listed on a plaque that will be displayed at the grand opening and hang in the gallery. We appreciate all donations that go toward bringing art to our community and our community to the arts.”

Meanwhile, the historical society, also a not-for-profit, is gearing up for a spring art show to coordinate with the Antioch School District 34 art crawl in May.

“Also in 2013, the meeting house will be 150 years old and we will focus on celebrating that anniversary,” said Maston, which will include an exhibit of Civil War-era dresses owned by museum director Ainsley Wonderling in the summer, followed by a quilt show in the fall.

“Through these events we hope to generate a lot more interest and donations so we can keep paying the heating bills,” said Maston.” At this point, we are maintaining four buildings, including our school house museum.”

A new roof on the school house at 817 Main St. and a new roof on the former AFAF building have cut into the organization’s dwindling funds, said Maston.

For more information about AFAF, visit the foundation’s Web site, More information about the historical society is found at

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