James Frey worked as a commercial artist for 46 years, during which he specialized in designing logos. During his career, he designed more than 20 logos for businesses and organizations in East Peoria alone, including the library’s first logo, and logos for Fondulac Park District and the City of East Peoria. He owned and operated Spectrum Graphics LTD, a full service graphic arts company, for more than 20 years. Since his retirement in 2005, Frey has begun exploring additional styles of artwork. His paintings, drawings, and sculptures feature lifelike portrayals of wildlife and famous people. Frey’s use of bold colors and his attention to detail harmonize to create captivating works of art. Frey has taught art and sculpture classes at the Fondulac Park District.
Frey states that making artwork is a pleasant pastime during the winter months, and he creates it for the sake of enjoyment – both of the process and of the finished piece. Before his retirement, art was a job with more rigid specifications; now, he is able to relax and appreciate the freedom of creative expression outside of graphic design while still making use of his technical skills as an artist.
Fine Arts at FDL expands the library’s mission by stimulating imagination and fostering lifelong learning. Curated by the library’s Art Advisory Committee, the program strives to give local artists the opportunity to present new work in a public setting and encourages all artists in East Peoria and surrounding communities to submit an application for consideration.
The installation of art at Fondulac District Library’s facility at 400 Richland Street began with a generous donation from the Ray and Peg Bahnfleth estate. Several pieces were commissioned or purchased for the library’s collection, and funds were used for the installation on a Walker display system for exhibiting engaging works by local artists. Exhibitions of local art are expected to begin in the second half of 2016.
Fine Arts at FDL is curated by the Art Advisory Committee: Adult Services Manager Laura Warren, Communications Assistant Elizabeth Anderson, and Library Director Genna Buhr. The program is guided by the policy adopted and approved by the library’s Board of Directors.
The library currently has two areas for temporary exhibitions of art. Two 12-foot perpendicular wall sections with Walker display system railing are located adjacent to a second floor seating area and are available for displaying mounted, framed, and/or sturdy hanging art. Near its entrance, the library also has a tall glass-front display case with adjustable glass shelving for small or medium-sized three-dimensional art pieces. The case consists of four sections, each with adjustable shelves. The top two sections are each 48 inches tall and have lighting. The bottom two sections are 27 inches tall. All sections are 20 inches wide and 16 inches deep.
All exhibit areas are within the library and are publicly viewable during regular library hours.