Expressions Graphics History

According to Carol

Expressions Graphics opened in 1981 by three women, Margaret Ringhaver, Mary Ellen Zerbe and I, because we wanted a place to do our printmaking (etching, block printing, silk screen, etc.) and also teach and educate about a side of art that not many knew much about.

We have been a moveable shop, mostly due to ever rddsddising rents.  We started at 907 Oak Park Ave, moved around the corner on Garfield, then to Art Works on Chicago Ave, a pottery studio that is now Terra Incognito.  Sadly, by this time Mary Ellen had dropped out, and Margaret became ill and later died.  At that time Janet Schill moved to the area and she and her friend Kathy Kelly, a graphic artist, decided to join with Expressions and form another partnership.

The next move was to Janice Elkins gallery on Harrison and then to a bigger store front again on Chicago Avenue near Harlem.  Finally we landed at 29 Harrison Street and have been there for about the last 10 years.

We have enjoyed our involvement with the Village and surrounding area throughout the years.  We have done outreach with Accolade Adult Day Care, Hepsibah House, The Cerebral Palsy Center, Cicero High School Freshman Center, Forest Park Community Center, Senior Citizens Center and Easter Seals Therapeutic Day Center.

We enjoyed working with the Oak Park Art League when we were on Chicago Avenue with a Christmas Holiday special event featuring a trolley between our places and in summer a fundraising dinner in the front yard at the League.

Many of our members have helped us by having fundraisers to keep us open:  Dinners and wine tastings were given by Cindi and Doug Guilboard, Rich and Laura Huff and Laura Myntti. Plus we have had help with grants from The Oak Park Arts Council for many years, the Illinois Arts Council, and matching grants from Northern Trust Bank.  Also Janet and her husband Jim and their parents have been loyal supporters and Jim has served as president for many years as had Rich Huff. Bev Keys and her husband have given much both money and time, as have Carlos Barberena and Rene Arceo. Janet has served for many years as president and has done much to support our studio and gallery. OPAD has given us wonderful PR over the years and we enjoy being in the art district.  We have had guest artists from Montreal, Calgary, Mexico, Nicaragua, Texas, Southern Illinois and Northern Illinois University.We have had art shows at Concordia College, Oak Park High School, Oak Park Hospital, Forest Park Bank, Oak Park Village Hall and had a table at Day in Our village for many years.