Clark Half Bun PaintingTyler Clark is a Chicago artist who creates acrylic paintings and often makes her pieces more multidimensional with textiles, hair and jewelry.

How long have you been an artist? Was there a single moment when you realized this was your passion? 

I have loved art my whole life. College is when I realized it was something I wanted to take more seriously. I studied math and mechanical engineering at Spelman College andClark Bun Painting Georgia Tech. They were difficult programs. Art was my stress reliever. I realized it was therapeutic for me, so I started painting more. When friends came to visit they would fall in love with my art. That’s when I realized I could make a business out of it.

Illinois has been incorporated into your work in the past. What does being able to live and work in Illinois mean to you?   

Clark Piano Man PaintingI love living in Chicago. It is such a beautiful city with so many things to do. One of my favorite things to do is go for a run along the lakefront and see the beautiful skyline, which I love to paint. Illinois is home for me, so I also appreciate my support system here. My family and friends really make it easier for me to push myself as an artist. I am also involved in the art social scene.

What opportunities does Illinois present for local Illinois artists? 

I am a visual performing artist, so I paint live, showcase and sell my art. I do a lot of amazing art events with Paradigm Creative Group. I encourage people to attend one sometime. I also started my own scholarship this year through Saint Mark United Methodist Church. It is very important for me to give back. Clark Obamas Painting

What is your favorite medium to work in?

I use acrylic paint on canvas, and I often include multidimensional elements such as hair, fabric and jewelry.

Where can people view or purchase your work?

People can follow my work on Instagram by clicking here. You can also subscribe to my website and purchase my art at www.inspirebytyler.com.

What artist inspires you and why?Clark Blonde Bun Painting

I am inspired by all artists who have similar styles to me. I love the Chicago artists I paint alongside at different events and artists I follow on social media. I also admire the late Annie Lee who was famous for her work, especially in the black community. Many people tell me that my art reminds them of her work.

Also, Katrina Jackson inspires me. We grew up together in the same neighborhood. She is a painter and tattoo artist who was featured on a VH1 show called ‘Black Ink Crew Chicago.’ She is living out her dreams, and I admire her for that. I recently presented Katrina with a painting of her at an event in Chicago. It was a special moment for me.

Monument to the Great MigrationDesigned by Alison Saar, Monument to the Great Migration celebrates the thousands of African Americans who journeyed to Chicago in search of freedom and opportunity during the early 20th century. The statue is located at 2600 S. Martin Luther King Dr.

The great migration is one of the most profound and celebrated cultural movements in modern history. The statue depicts a traveler waving his hand to symbolically greet his new home, while he carries a worn suitcase in his other hand to represent his journey. The statue is oriented toward the north to symbolize his destination.

In 1927, the State of Illinois erected a memorial to celebrate black veterans of World War I after a lengthy campaign led by the Chicago Defender. Victory Monument, found at 3500 S. King Dr., is a towering granite column with designs by renowned French sculptor, Leonard Crunelle.Victory Monument

On three sides of the pillar, heroic bronze figures symbolizing the tragedy and glory of war are depicted. The fourth panel is inscribed with the names of 137 fallen soldiers of the Eighth Regiment of the Illinois National Guard. A bronze figure stands tall and strong at the top of the column.

Both monuments are located in one of Chicago’s most celebrated Southside neighborhoods—Bronzeville.

Photo by Neal Herbert

The yearly descent into another Midwestern winter need not be a cause for hibernation. This winter, snow and ice will cause some people to spend longer hours in the comfort of their homes, waiting for an eventual return of spring to venture back out again. However, in parks across the state of Illinois, winter weather is no deterrent from enjoying the great outdoors and the many activities that are only possible when the air is cold and the ground is blanketed in snow.

This month we are featuring the Hennepin Canal State Trail as our park of the month due to its unparalleled access to snowmobiling.

Snowmobiling is a uniquely thrilling way to take in winter scenery. The Hennepin Canal State Trail, located just outside of Sheffield in Western Illinois, is one of the best places to enjoy snowmobiling in Illinois. Hennepin Trail is home to Illinois’ longest snowmobile trail, which runs for 91 miles along the canal’s old tow path, offering unique views of the canal’s historic locks and viaducts.

When there are at least six inches of frost in the ground and at least four inches of snow on the ground, the trails are open to snowmobiles. Riders may travel on the ice at their own risk when snowmobiling is allowed. Park staff posts this information at the site access areas and on the park’s telephone system at (815) 454-2328.

Parking, toilets, and a warming house are located at the visitor center just east of Sheffield (RR #2, Box 201 Sheffield, IL 61362). Other registration points and parking are located at Lock 24 near Geneseo, Lock 23 near Atkinson, Lock 11 near Tiskilwa, Route 92 Bridge 56 near Tampico, Route 88 Bridge 45 south of Rock Falls and Bridge 15 near Sheffield. Because they are supported by snowmobile registration fees, all public snowmobile trails in Illinois are free to use.

During the warmer months, Hennepin Canal State Trail is ideal for biking, equestrian riding, fishing, hiking and hunting. The park is also open to boats and canoes on the canal from which the trail takes its name. Built between 1892 and 1907, Hennepin Canal was the first American canal built entirely out of concrete. Visitors to the trail still enjoy learning about the canal’s large and innovative locks.

The end of temperate weather does not mean the end of outdoor fun in Illinois. Schedule your visit to Hennepin Canal State Trail before the winter wonderland warms up!

lightsThe Grant-Grusecki family of Park Ridge has a special holiday tradition that is guaranteed to light up your world – literally. 

The family puts on an annual Christmas light show, which features thousands of lights that are synchronized to music.

Viewers can enjoy five music and light shows by tuning into 98.1 FM. The family also features and illustrated show on the chimney and roof of their home that is in sync with the music.

The shows include a special tribute to the military, Michael Bublé’s “Holly Jolly Christmas””, Prince, “Beauty and the Beast” and Darlene Love’s “All Alone on Christmas.”

The family also sets up lawn displays and a sled for visitors to take photos with. But don’t worry, you can still hear the music from speakers on the lawn while you’re at those attractions.

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Reindeer in redYour kids won’t have to sneak to the window when they hear Santa’s sleigh land on your roof in order to see his reindeer this season, thanks to Snowman’s Reindeer Farm near Canton.

Scott and Tracy Snowman’s family farm, just ten minutes from historic downtown Canton, is currently home to four reindeer – Sven, Snowball, Mistletoe, and Kringle. Open Friday through Sunday during the holiday season, with extended hours beginning the Wednesday before Christmas, admission to the farm is free, though the reindeer experience itself is $5 per person. While you’re there, take a few minutes to see Santa and take pictures with the Jolly Elf, free of charge.

Snowman’s Reindeer Farm opened in 2015, after several years of research that began as Scott and Tracy were working on illustrating their 2011 children’s book, “’Twas the Night Before a Green Christmas.”  Their first reindeer, Klaus and Nutmeg, joined their farm family in September and were visited by several thousand guests the first holiday season. Sven joined the family shortly after and Snowball (2016), Mistletoe (2016), and Kringle (2017) were all born on the Snowman farm. Now in its third year of operation, Snowman’s Reindeer Farm employs about ten people from the Canton area, as well as a similar number of Snowman family members.

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