Blue Connection, Millikin University’s student-run retail art gallery will host “After Five Years”, an anniversary celebration commemorating five years of business success on Friday, May 7 from 5 – 7:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Blue Connection is located in the Madden Arts Center at 117 N. Water St. in Decatur.
“This event marks an incredible milestone for Blue Connection,” remarked Allison Lacher, manager of the Blue Connection. “Our success would have been impossible without the many dedicated students, artists, alumni and community members that have passed through Blue Connection’s doors over the past five years, and we are excited to celebrate with those who have made the gallery what it is today.”
This special event will feature the work of three spotlight artists, including ceramics by Millikin professor Annette Russo ‘80, photography by community artist Tonya Greve ‘97, and ceramics and drawings by Millikin sophomore Kari Thornton.
Each person in attendance will receive a complimentary commemorative gift. Other highlights include a silent auction, artist demonstrations, and a $50 Blue Connection gift card giveaway. Millikin’s Guitar Ensemble II will provide entertainment for the event, and complimentary hors d'oeuvres and beverages will be served throughout the evening.
While the gallery provides the community with a great venue to purchase original artwork consigned by Millikin faculty, alumni, and student artists, it also serves as an experiential learning laboratory for Millikin students, who work to organize efforts of operation, promotion, and marketing. Students from various majors have the opportunity to gain real-world experience in their field of study.
“In one semester, I have been able to draft press releases for publication, create marketing plans, organize events, and evaluate which strategies were beneficial to the gallery,” commented Alex Reed, a senior majoring in communication. “It has been valuable to apply my knowledge in a practical setting.”
“I draw from my experiences working at the gallery on a daily basis,” remarked Jennifer Troendly ‘04, a publishing sales representative for Cengage Learning, and former Blue Connection employee. “I believe this program taught me how to run my own business, develop relationships with customers, and manage my time.”
Lucas Bills ‘03, regional vice-president for Colorado Casualty Insurance, was part of the student team responsible for the creation of Blue Connection, and calls the gallery’s success “amazing.” “Our group created the original business plan. We came up with the name, designed the logo, and helped open the original gallery,” Bills said. “I must admit, I took significant pride when the Blue Connection got its permanent space. Seeing it exist five years later is very rewarding.”
For more information regarding “After Five Years”, please contact Allison Lacher at 217.420.6766 or visit www.millkinblueconnection.com.