Artists' Coordinator Irene O'Neill:
Give people their space
OCTOBER 3, 2004

"People need a place where they can work and where they can learn from others."

Irene O'Neill talked to Q about the Awakenings Project art studio in Glen Ellyn, which she runs. The studio, open two days a week, provides space for mentally ill artists.

"People can bring their own materials, or we'll provide them," O'Neill said. "There is a potter's wheel, paint, paper and other supplies. Oh, and we have a loom. Many people in this situation don't have the best living arrangements. They live with their parents or in an apartment with other people. So we have a place for them to do their art."

She spoke of the good the studio has done. "It has aided people in their development as artists, and it's given them role models."

O'Neill, 49, of West Chicago is an artist herself. "I do mixed media, which mostly is taking whatever you can grab and putting it together."

O'Neill also sets up shows for the artists. She coordinated "Awakenings," a free exhibit that runs through Friday at Aurora University's Downstairs Dunham Gallery. For more information, call 630-844-5656.

Copyright (c) 2004, Chicago Tribune