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Augustana Observer

Draley-McFall wins first place at RI Fine Arts Exhibition

Draley-McFall’s winning piece, “Dad #2,” is on display in Centennial Hall. Photo by Kyle Soyer.

Draley-McFall’s winning piece, “Dad #2,” is on display in Centennial Hall.  Photo by Kyle Soyer.
Draley-McFall’s winning piece, “Dad #2,” is on display in Centennial Hall.
Photo by Kyle Soyer.

Heidi Draley-McFall, of Dewitt, Iowa, will display her artwork that won her the first place ribbon at this year’s 38th annual Rock Island Fine Arts Exhibition (RIFAE).
Draley-McFall’s piece, called “Dad #2,” will be featured along with 54 other local artists’ works at 4:30 p.m. on Friday in the Augustana College Teaching Museum of Art. Along with the ribbon, Draley-McFall also receives a $1,000 cash prize.
“I feel tremendously honored that the jurors responded so favorably to this piece,” Draley-McFall said. “This exhibition is of very high quality. Many works were quite strong and would have been worthy recipients as well.”
Draley-McFall won for her pastel portrait, “Dad #2,” based on a photograph of her father after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. After his death in 2012, Draley-McFall said she finally felt ready to recreate the photo.
“I needed to create a work that spoke to the issues surrounding the diagnosis and the effect it had on my father and the family,” Draley-McFall said. “However, even though he was very ill in this drawing, I didn’t want the work to focus on his disease, but rather his strength…and the transcendent power of the human spirit in the face of adversity.”
Draley-McFall also won in 2012. Her piece, “Mother,” won the Children’s Choice award.
Other top winners of cash prizes include Tyler Hennings of Monmouth, Ill., Dale Osterle of  DeKalb, Ill., Don Crouch of Macomb, Ill. and Rosalie Waranius Vass of Batavia, Ill.
Cash prizes will also be awarded for the people’s choice award, honorable mentions and the Founder’s Award in Honor of Shirley Harris, a past Rock Island Art Guild member.
RIFAE is the largest exhibition within a 150-mile radius of the Quad Cities, according to Rock Island Art Guild President Kathy Lelonek. Past Augustana Art History Professor, Mary Em Kirn, Ph.D., juried this year’s show, and said she hoped to create a dialogue between each piece submitted.
Rock Island Art Guild Exhibition Chair Jennifer Saintfort said the exhibition, which is on display until April 17 in Centennial Hall, is different every year. She said one difference this year was Kirn’s influence.
“Dr. Kirn decided where everything went and laid it out beautifully,” Saintfort said. “She laid it out thematically, as well as visually. With her different perspective and color pallet, it makes a stronger visual statement.”
In Kirn’s juror statement, she wrote, “It’s my hope that the visitor, not only will look at each work of art as an isolated entity, but also in relation to the works around it based on color, composition and theme.”
Lelonek said Kirn was successful in creating an exhibition which can aesthetically enrich the viewer’s experience. With Kirn’s arrangement, each artist is part of a larger conversation.
On that topic, Kirn also wrote, “To all the artists who submitted works of art for this exhibit, my advice is simple—continue creating and growing and, most of all, finding great joy in the creative experience.”
This statement resonated with many artists featured in the exhibit, including Emily Christenson of Moline, Ill. Christenson has had work displayed in RIFAE for six consecutive years and has yet to win an award. However, she said she is honored to just be accepted.
“I go (to the awards reception) every year,” Christenson said. “It’s nice to see who wins. It’s such a great show, and it’s an honor to just be selected really. It’s one of the most competitive exhibitions.”
Lelonek said it is important for the Augustana and Quad Cities community to not only view the exhibit, but attend the awards reception.
“It’s so important for students to go out and support the artists,” Lelonek said. “We give them a place to display their work, and we should give them the respect they deserve.”

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Draley-McFall wins first place at RI Fine Arts Exhibition