Illinois artist of the month: Cat ClausenBorn in California, Cat Clausen spent her childhood as a budding artist, making her own jewelry, pottery and clothing.

After graduating from college, Clausen worked in marketing, public relations and art direction for 10 years. She left her career in 1993 to become a stay-at-home mom and moved with her husband and 3-year-old son to Dwight.

It was here in the Land of Lincoln where Clausen would pursue her passion for art. She took up oil painting and has made portraits of musicians and education and political leaders, including her beloved Abraham Lincoln. Clausen is known for her Lincoln paintings, which have been featured on the cover of magazines and on banners throughout Chicago.

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Illinois artist of the month: John Kettman

Pop artist John Kettman of LaSalle became interested in art at the young age of 3. He became a serious artist in high school and has gone on to complete portraits of many famous individuals, such as Abraham Lincoln. Kettman is also vying for his painting of Streator native Clyde Tombaugh – the famed astronomer who discovered Pluto – to be accepted as a U.S. Postal Service stamp. Kettman has a petition online attempting to persuade the Stamp Advisory Committee to use his artwork on a stamp. You can view the petition here.

One of Kettman’s latest endeavors includes painting pumpkins with political candidates’ faces. You can check out this article to learn more about this interesting project.

Read an interview with the native artist below.

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FlossmoorStation

As soon as you walk in the door an aroma hits you resembling a flower bed on a warm summer day. As you inhale you can seemingly taste what’s brewing. The building still reflects its past life and creates a warm atmosphere for patrons.
Brewing day, and any other day for that matter, at the Flossmoor Station Restaurant and Brewery is a memorable experience.

The building that now houses the brewery and restaurant was originally a train station built by the Illinois Central Railroad in 1906. Once rendered obsolete, the building remained unused for years until Dean and Carolyn Armstrong decided to open their brewery in 1996.

Located in downtown Flossmoor, the brewery has become a staple in the community.

“The village of Flossmoor, they feel very proud about this place,” Head Brewer Eymard Freire said. “When I was here for the first time, that’s what sold me. You come here and it’s such a great history.”

Freire’s passion for beer has allowed him to move the brewery forward by updating recipes and keeping up with the trends in the craft beer industry.

Breweries continue to open and expand throughout the country. Freire believes the key to tapping into the craft beer trend is about creating novel tastes while avoiding gimmicks.

“It’s got to be multiple dimensional, the beer, the depth of flavor, the depth of aroma, what you get out of it, the experience of drinking beer, and that’s the trend,” Freire said. “It’s not about gimmicks. It’s not about adding peanut butter to the beer. It’s about the fine line between novelty and gimmicky, and I tend to be on the novelty side.”

Aside from the variety of craft beers offered, Flossmoor Station offers a bar menu that pairs wonderfully with their beer options. The menu includes salads, soup, steak, sandwiches, flatbreads, wraps and much more.

Once you’re ready to depart, the front door of the Flossmoor Station Brewery  leads to a welcoming downtown area and is only a few steps away from a  Metra station.  

“Few people know about this place in Chicago and the city,” Freire said. “More people should know about this place.”

bisbey smBrad Bisbey lives in Moline in the same house where he grew up. He became passionate about art and painting at an early age, and his subject matter ranges from portraits to landscapes and figures. One of Bisbey’s paintings, “Winter Fields,” was recently selected as a finalist in the 61st annual exhibition of the Society of Painters in Casein & Acrylic in New York City. He also exhibits and teaches classes at the Bereskin Gallery in Bucktown Center in Davenport, Iowa. Read on to learn more about Bisbey’s work.

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Happy Birthday, I Like Illinois! (SLIDESHARE)

"As the president of the Senate, I attend functions and events across the state and get the opportunity to meet great people doing outstanding things. Recently I was lamenting how hard it is to keep track of all of this good news and said aloud, 'You know, there ought to be a website.' And the response from my staff was, 'We can do that.' That's how the 'I Like Illinois' website got started." -- Senate President John Cullerton, September 11, 2014

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