Celebration pays tribute to Brickton Art Center's founder

A celebration and exhibit on July 30 honored the two-decade anniversary of Park Ridge's Brickton Art Center and its

Annamaria Hallagan said her mind was flooded with memories of old art exhibits as she gathered together several dozen postcards from shows hosted at Park Ridge's Brickton Art Center over the last two decades.

The postcards were neatly arranged within four black picture frames hung on a wall in the first room of the 20-year-old gallery and teaching center at 306 Busse Highway. The postcard display served as a testament to Brickton's long history within the Park Ridge community and was part of a celebration and exhibit on July 30, honoring the two-decade anniversary of the center and its founder, the late artist Pamela Whamond.

Hallagan, president of Brickton's board of directors, said she's been involved with the organization for the past 14 years. Her daughter, Olivia Hallagan, 22, said she began taking classes at the center when she was 6 years old. She now teaches at the center and serves as a representative for the art gallery at various events around Park Ridge.

"I don't know what my childhood would have been like without Brickton," said Olivia Hallagan, a Park Ridge native who said she attended summer classes at the gallery as a child, graduated to assistant teacher and then became a full-fledged instructor at the center.

In a toast to the center's founder and the individuals who have helped sustain its existence, Alyssa Harris, the nonprofit's outreach director, said Brickton has a way of making those involved with the nonprofit feel as if the gallery and teaching space is a part of their family.

"I've been at Brickton in various capacities since 2001," she said. "It's hard to believe I've been here for 16 years, but at the same time, it's not hard to believe because it drew me in from the start and has become a second home, which it has for a lot of us."

Harris, who was hired by Pamela Whamond, said she still feels connected to the artist and gallery founder.

"She brought us in, and we're still here," she said.

In addition to the postcards, and newspaper clippings detailing the history of Brickton — which is named after the city's former moniker — as it evolved over the years, Whamond's oil paintings covered the walls of the back room of gallery. The oil paintings featured idyllic and intimate vignettes of domestic and natural landscapes viewed from interesting angles, including a birdhouse hoisted high in the sky, the front half of a canoe, and a red lawn chair positioned in front of a white picket fence.

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Article Celebration pays tribute to Brickton Art Center's founder compiled by www.chicagotribune.com

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