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‘The Exibit’ offers art space for adults, kids

Mikaela Gray, 10, and her grandmother Mary Lee Howard made a windchime at Saturday’s Artie’s Kreative Korner event at The Exhibit Fine Arts Center and Gallery in Morris.
Mikaela Gray, 10, and her grandmother Mary Lee Howard made a windchime at Saturday’s Artie’s Kreative Korner event at The Exhibit Fine Arts Center and Gallery in Morris.

​There’s a new art space in Morris that serves as a gallery for those who would like to buy an original piece of local art, a place for adults to explore their artistic side and show their pieces, and a space for children to do arts and crafts projects guided by knowledgeable area artists.

The Exibit Fine Arts Center and Gallery, at 315 Bedford Road, has been open for about a year and is attracting creative folks from all around. A nonprofit overseen by a board of directors, the building is owned by artist Ray Grossi and his wife, Rose, who also have the business next door, Midwest Sign Works.

“This is a wonderful space for local artists,” Ray Grossi said. “And it’s a good place to expose kids to art. You want to plant that seed early.”

Grossi said The Exibit was designed after the model of Lonnie’s Art Gallery, a business begun by art aficionado Lonnie Mathison on Washington Street in 2013. The gallery since closed. Grossi and several other local artists showed and sold pieces through the gallery.

“Before Lonnie’s,” Grossi said, “there had never really been a space to show local art.”

The Exibit is aiming to fill that void by offering an exhibit space for artists, along with classes and workspace for adults and children. Grossi said artist Ed Cepial had the idea, then he and a group of other artists ran with it.

Last weekend, the building was filled with children and their parents or grandparents during “Artie’s Kreative Korner,” which was billed as “an art/craft project for kids ages five and up with their favorite adult.” It was hosted by the Grossis.

Morris resident Georgette Walker said she saw the event promoted on Facebook and thought it would be a fun thing to bring her Oswego granddaughter, Daniella Sarto, 5, to.

“She likes art and loves to draw and paint,” Walker said.

The project for that particular Saturday morning was using beads, bells and other baubles to string together a windchime.

Mikaela Gray, a Plainfield 10-year-old, came with her grandmother, Mary Lee Howard, of Morris.

“I like crafts,” Mikaela said. “I like to do stuff with Mason jars, and I do jewelry.”

Howard said she enjoys crafts herself and knew Mikaela would appreciate the creative time.

“I know she loves crafts,” Howard said, “and it’s just a fun morning we can do together.”

Mandi Medler, of Morris, brought her three children Caden, 9, Adelyn, 7, and Arienne, 5.

“It helps their fine motor skills,” she said, “and they like the end product. It’s something they can take pride in.”

Morris resident Debbie Roth brought her three LaGrange Park grandchildren because she said it was the perfect activity for a cold day. Kaelyn, 10, Cullen, 8, and Aoife, 6, said they were having fun making the windchimes.

Rose Grossi said some of the events The Exibit has held this past year were an art journal workshop, Zen doodle workshops, art shows and exhibits, a Wine and Watercolor, artists gatherings, open mic nights and open houses.

One of the center’s upcoming events is Life Drawing, which Grossi said is an opportunity for those of all ages to sketch a live (non-nude) model.

Another is a drawing class taught by Ray Grossi for adults, which runs weekly through Feb. 6.

Rose Grossi said The Exibit is currently holding an open call for art by high school students for an art show to be held in February. A juried art show for adults will be held in March.

Open studio nights will be held on Jan. 25 and Feb. 22, and open mic nights are scheduled for Feb. 2 and March 2.

The center is also hoping to offer creative writing classes and scheduling guest speakers for the future.

For details, visit the center’s Facebook site, under, “The Exibit Fine Arts Center & Gallery,” or call 815-258-5191.

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