The McAninch Arts Center (MAC) at College of DuPage will unveil its newest art installment, “Universal Consciousness,” featuring 10 works by self-taught painter Lisa Gengler, at an opening night reception at 7 pm Saturday, Nov. 10, at the MAC, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn, Ill.
The exhibit opening was planned in tandem with New Philharmonic Orchestra’s November concert series, “Mozart and Muspratt.” Following the opening, patrons will be treated to the orchestra’s performance at 8 p.m. as well as a post-concert champagne toast at 10 pm.
Though primarily a painter, Gengler is a multi-disciplinary artist whose work history includes visual art, dance, music and theater. She is also an arts advocate and philanthropist. The MAC is hosting her exhibit in celebration of her extraordinary dedication to advancing the arts in Chicago’s western suburbs.
“The MAC and New Philharmonic are saying thank you to generous and long-time supporters of the arts Lisa and Duane Gengler,” said Stephen Cummins, director of the MAC. “One of the reasons Lisa is such a wonderful advocate for the arts is because she herself is an artist. We are taking this opportunity to celebrate her talents with a showing of her work at the center that she has graciously supported.”
For over 20 years, Gengler and her husband, Duane, have donated time and resources to the MAC. They were financial sponsors of the campaign to build the MAC in the 1980s and have since contributed to the MAC’s endowment and programming needs as well as a fund for new works. Gengler was also co-founder and long-time president of the College of DuPage Foundation's Cultural Guild, an organization which raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to support the arts.
In addition, she founded the Lisa Gengler Scholarship and the Kristina Meyers Memorial Scholarship, as a tribute to her daughter.
“Lisa and Duane have painted a vibrant picture of their passion for the arts,” said Michael Trench, chief development officer for College of DuPage Foundation. “Their love for the arts, and for College of DuPage's McAninch Arts Center, will have a lasting impact on the ability of the College to make cultural opportunities available to our community.”
The public is invited to attend the concert and post-concert champagne toast; pre-concert reception is private. Tickets are $33 for adults, $31 for seniors and $23 for students and patrons under 17. Call (630) 942-4000.
About the exhibit
For “Universal Consciousness,” Gengler enlisted the help of Father Michael Komechak, curator of Benedictine University’s Art Collection, a 3,450-piece anthology of original works.
Komechak has worked with Gengler on numerous occasions and said her paintings in this collection reflect a distinct awareness of the larger universe and a fusing of historical figures with contemporary events, both from her own life and from society at large.
“Lisa’s work is expressive and figurative, often encompassing the beauty found in nature, spirituality in our environment and elements of history,” said Komechak. “Unlike many artists, Lisa does not begin with preparatory drawings. She puts on classical music and begins to paint, straight from her heart. She is a very courageous artist, with wonderfully bold color sense and flowing forms.”
A self-taught painter who works in acrylics, Gengler is also strongly influenced by her childhood experiences. She grew up in Germany and came to the United States as a teenager, moving first to Los Angeles, Calif., and eventually settling in Oak Brook, Ill. The anchor piece of her exhibit is called “The Loving Tree,” an 8-foot-tall canvas inspired by Gengler’s memories of climbing trees as a child.
The exhibition will run through Monday, Nov. 19, in the MAC’s main lobby. Viewing hours are from 9 am – 9 pm, and admission is free.
About the McAninch Arts Center
The McAninch Arts Center at College of DuPage (MAC) is a state-of-the-art facility bringing professional theater, music, dance, comedy, opera and visual art to the residents of Northern Illinois. Housing three distinctive performance spaces and an art gallery, the facility’s unique design allows patrons to experience all the arts under one roof.
Since its opening in 1986, more than one million people have attended performances, gallery exhibits or events at the facility. The MAC scheduled more than 250 performances during 2006-2007 alone, bringing in more than 69,000 patrons from the Chicago region and beyond.
In addition to presenting touring artists, the MAC houses five resident professional companies, including New Philharmonic Orchestra, DuPage Opera Theatre, Arts Center Jazz Ensemble, Buffalo Theatre Ensemble and New Classic Singers.
The MAC also maintains a robust community outreach program with initiatives such as its SchoolStage program, which connects performers and students for an interactive, educational arts experience.
Because of its efforts to increase community access to the arts, the MAC has earned the Illinois Arts Council’s Partners in Excellence designation, which recognizes 40 of the most significant cultural institutions throughout the state.
The MAC is situated 30 miles west of Chicago in central DuPage County, near I-88 and I-355, and offers free parking and discounted rates for groups and outings. For tickets and information, please call 630-942-4000.