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Millikin University's Blue Connection will host "Paws for a Cause" presented by Carriage House Press and the Decatur & Macon County Animal Shelter Foundation (DMCASF) on Friday, May 3 from 5 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. in Downtown Decatur. The event will include live print demonstrations using both traditional hand burnishing techniques and an unconventional approach with a steamroller.

Millikin University Art Professor Lyle Salmi and student artists from Carriage House Press created woodcut prints from photos taken of adoptable pets at DMCASF. Select framed prints will be available during a silent auction inside Blue Connection from 5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. with all proceeds supporting DMCASF.

When asked why he wanted to organize this event, Salmi said, "I wanted to move Carriage House Press events out into the public arena so students could experience the impact and potential connections made within the community by pairing their respective artistic skills with organizations for public events. I own three rescue dogs from the shelter, and I am committed to events for a good cause, so DMCASF was the best organization to start with."

Carriage House Press artists will also take over North Water Street to create giant woodcut prints using a steamroller provided by B&W Asphalt Paving in Decatur. "My idea was to take print making out of the studio and to the streets, literally," remarked Salmi. "Artists often create plates that are too large to fit through a traditional press, so they've found creative ways to make the prints. In the '60s people would run them over with a car, but the steamroller has become somewhat of a subculture of the traditional print making process."

Carriage House Press hosted their first steamroller printing event in September 2012. "We received overwhelmingly positive feedback from folks who attended the event," remarked Salmi. "If one wants to do printmaking out in the street, one must have a platform from which to capture people's attention - nothing does that quite like a steamroller."

"Paws for a Cause" will be held in conjunction with the Spring Art Fair. Additional activities throughout the evening include:

Perceptions Public Art Display

Nearly 20 graduating seniors from Millikin University's Bachelor of Arts program in the College of Fine Arts will present their art displays that analyze various perceptions of Decatur. In addition to visual installations, performances will be held throughout the evening on North Water Street.

"Students spent the semester shaping their projects through Decatur tours, collection of collateral and scrap materials, and conversations with community members," stated Millikin Lecturer of Arts & Entrepreneurship William "B.J." Warren. "They are discovering a different side of Decatur and coming up with some creative ways to share their findings."

Presentations during the event will range from original Decatur song compositions to multimedia dance presentations to a fashion show of found objects.

Decatur Public School District 61 Middle & High School Art Show

Decatur Public School District 61 will feature work from its middle school and high school students in a joint spring show on the third floor of the Madden Arts Center. Student work will be featured from across the District demonstrating the range of media students are exposed to in the classroom. The show will run April 28 - May 3 with a closing reception on Friday, May 3.

Barn Colony Artists, Inc. Annual Spring Show

Organized in 1939, Barn Colony Artists, Inc. is an organization of beginner, amateur, and professional artists from the Decatur area as well as friends of the fine arts. Held each May, the annual Spring Show at the Madden Art Gallery is judged to demonstrate the progress in skill and enthusiasm of the artists over the previous year. The member's only show has been held annually since 1940.

Opened in 2003, Blue Connection is Millikin University's student-run, retail art gallery. The gallery features artwork by Millikin students, faculty, and alumni artists. The business also serves as a laboratory experience for Millikin University's Arts & Entrepreneurship program. The program utilizes curricular-based activities and student-run ventures to give students a live laboratory experience in developing, launching, and growing a business.

"Paws for a Cause" and the Spring Art Fair will be held Friday, May 3 from 5 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. at the Madden Arts Center, located at 125 N. Water St. in Decatur. Complimentary refreshments will be provided by Lock, Stock, and Barrel with food available for purchase from Moon the Dog Food Truck. The event is free and open to the public.

For further information on Millikin University's Blue Connection visit www.millikin.edu/blueconnection or contact the gallery at 217.428.0112.
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Millikin University - Decatur, IL
 
Millikin University - Decatur, IL
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