Acquired Taste Celebration

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Acquired Taste Celebration, 2019. Photo by Della Perrone
Acquired Taste Celebration, 2019. Photo by Della Perrone

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Gold-framed painting of an early morning landscape, dominated by cool blue tones.
David Smith's painting "April Sunrise" (Acrylic on canvas board, 15 x 18 in.) will be part of the 2022 Acquired Taste Silent Auction.


Framed watercolor painting of a creek with sparse vegetation around it.
Sandra Batzli's painting "Stony Creek in Late Winter" (Watercolor, 19.5 x 22.25 in.) will be part of the 2022 Acquired Taste Silent Auction.

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Black and white framed print that shows an older woman with her head covered walking toward an arched passageway. She is surrounded by brick or stone structures and seems to walk uphill.
Birute Simaitis's etching "Old Town" (Artist's proof of copper etching, 14.5 x 17 in) will be part of the 2022 Acquired Taste Silent Auction.


Tall collage with patterned, textured pieces overlaying one another. The color palette of this abstract design is warm and rosy.
Bonnie Switzer's collage "New Beginnings" (Mixed media, 21 x 14 in.) will be part of the 2022 Acquired Taste Silent Auction.


Patrick Harness's Giclee print "Orange and Blue" (Printed on 100% rag paper, 26.5 x 26.5 in.) will be part of the 2022 Acquired Taste Silent Auction.

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Small, spiky gold sculpture on a flat base. The shape is a regular, spherical polyhedron with many points.
Vaidas Simaitis's sculpture "Holy Cow" (wood, gold-glitter paint, 11 x 10.5 in.) will be part of the 2022 Acquired Taste Silent Auction.


Framed drawing of flowers in colored pencil. They are white, gold, and pink with green leaves and densely fill the visible area of the artwork.
Diane Schumacher's drawing "Les Fleur" (Colored pencil, 9.5 x 13.5 in.) will be part of the 2022 Acquired Taste Silent Auction.


Blue glass square with an inset square that is slightly tipped and holds many colors. This glass art was heated to form a single piece, although it seems to have several components.
Debbie Eichelberger's fused, slumped glass plate, "Untitled" (Dichronic glass, 1.5 x 11 x11 in.) will be part of the 2022 Acquired Taste Silent Auction.

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Cast bronze heart-shaped leaf is placed on a table near a pencil for scale. The leaf is large, with a textured surface that shows the veins through which sap flows.
Carolyn Ottmers's sculpture, "Nature Study - Sweet Coltsfoot (Petasites japonicas)" (Cast bronze, 5 x 20 x 18 in.) will be part of the 2022 Acquired Taste Silent Auction.


Light dimly filters through a dense canopy of leaves, illuminating the spent blossoms of coneflower. Only their seed heads remain. The leaves above are green and golden. The light seems late in the day.
Judy Jones's painting "Fall Foliage" (Gouache and pastel, 25 x 20 in.) will be part of the 2022 Acquired Taste Silent Auction.
May 21, 2022 - 5:30 pm
Siebel Center for Design, 1208 S. Fourth St., Champaign
Sponsored in part by Krannert Art Museum Council and organized by the following committee members: Mary Kay Dailey, Karen Devine, Debbie Eichelberger, Susan Feuille, Lori Hunt, Brice Hutchcraft, Mary Beth Kurasek, Chris Schaede, Kim Wurl, Lisa Kocheril (Chair)

The Krannert Art Museum Council invites members, friends, and art lovers to come together to celebrate the museum’s collection and to help it grow in new and exciting ways. This special event brings you behind the scenes to see how new works of art are selected for the museum. And exciting news for this year — Acquired Taste Celebration will be held at the new Siebel Center for Design, adjacent to Krannert Art Museum.

The evening includes musical entertainment, featuring musicians from Sinfonia da Camera, a delicious sit-down dinner catered by Michaels' Catering, and fascinating art acquisitions—works that the curators and directors believe will be meaningful additions to the collection. Attendees will vote in order to put a favorite at the top of the standings. The winning work of art will be acquired with the evening’s proceeds.

There will also be a silent auction of original works of art by friends of KAM Council. Photographs of silent auction artwork will be available on the KAM facebook page later this Spring.

We will be following all of the University of Illinois guidelines for gatherings.

About the Silent Auction Artists

Page through the top slideshow to see works of art that will be available for the Acquired Taste Celebration silent auction.

Sandra Batzli

Painting: “Stony Creek in Late Winter”  
Transparent Watercolor, 19 ½” x 22 ¼”

As a graduate in Art Education from the University of Minnesota, Sandra was instructed in a variety of art media. She taught art in art museums, and in both public and private schools in Minnesota and California.

Her husband’s work took Sandra and her family to Barrow, Alaska where she painted watercolors of 58 tundra plants, and to Lower Hutt, New Zealand where she learned to spin and weave wool. Before moving to Urbana in 1971, she was a production potter in Davis, California.

Her interest in art education continued in Urbana where she benefited personally by studying various pieces in the Krannert Art Museum’s permanent collection and by viewing their special exhibits. Since 1990, she focused on and was inspired to paint watercolors of both the manmade and natural phenomena found in the ever-changing Midwest environment.

Sandra exhibited locally with Artisans 10+, a group she helped found, and maintained a home/studio in Urbana


Birute Simaitis 

Artist’s Proof: “Old Town”  
Copper Etching,  14 ½” x 17”

At age eight, I emigrated to America with my parents and three siblings on the USS General Howze, one of the US Navy Transport Ships that were used to transport refugees at the end of WW II .  We were fortunate to be in the American Zone of Germany, and fortunate to find a kind family in Missouri to sponsor us. 

We eventually settled in Chicago in a Lithuanian neighborhood. As far as I can remember, art has somehow been a part of my life. My mother guided me when I made my childish drawings.  My first visit to the Art Institute of Chicago was at age 14. That visit became an inspiration, and the Art Institute a regular haunt. However, my education was in Medical Technology and I worked at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago until I married Vaidas Simaitis and followed him to the University of Illinois.

Several years after moving to Champaign/Urbana in 1971, I discovered Parkland College, which at that time did not have a permanent location. Due to its wonderful art program and expanding campus, I was able to fill my free time with graphic design, art history, visiting museums, and especially the joy of painting. I enjoy visiting museums in our travels, but am especially drawn to street artists, outdoor art shows, and small exhibits.          


Bonnie Switzer  

Painting:  “New Beginnings”
Mixed Media with collage, 21” x 14”                                                                                                                                         

If there is a unifying characteristic of my art, it is to be found in my love of vibrant color and for the wonderful effects that occur-- usually planned, but sometimes not--when the paint flows onto paper.  I paint in both realistic and nonrepresentational styles.  When I paint real objects or landscapes, I am drawn to scenes of intense color, warmth, and peacefulness.  

My works are painterly.   I don’t strive for tight, photographic precision. In abstract paintings I am completely free to explore color, shape, rhythm and design without the need to represent a scene or object. I also make original, one-of-a-kind art cards, which are well known in the Champaign-Urbana area. 

I have been painting since 1990 and have taken art classes at the University of Illinois and Parkland College.  In 2002, I earned an Associate degree in Fine Arts from Parkland College.  In addition, I’ve also taken numerous art workshops from well-known water media artists around the country.  I won an award in the Watercolor USA national competition in 2018 and was named to Watercolor USA Honor Society.                                                                                                                                                  

The Cinema Gallery in Urbana displays and sells my art. 


David Smith

Painting:  “April Sunrise”   
Acrylic on canvas board, 15” x 18”

David Moore Smith has touched the lives of millions worldwide since earning his degree in visual design from Purdue University.  He began his career as a set and prop designer for Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood at WQED in Pittsburgh in 1971.  His work is seen in such designs as the puppet, Harriet Elizabeth Cow, and the Neighborhood model used in the opening and closing credits of the show.  David is now a fulltime artist who has lived, painted, and exhibited his work around the globe.


Vaidas Simaitis

Sculpture: “Holy Cow” 
Wood and gold-glitter paint, 11” x 10 ½”

While sipping Cappuccino at the entrance to Nordstrom in Chicago, waiting for Birute to finish shopping, I started to doodle on a napkin and ended up drawing an octagon. I added triangular points on the outside -- it looked a lot more interesting.  Before retiring from the Physics Department at UIUC much of my work was designing parts in 3 dimensions, and I tried to imagine what this may look like extended to 3D. Birute came out – no shoes - it was time to go, and I forgot about it.

Back in Urbana, several months later, the image kept coming back. I thought it would be a great challenge to see if I could actually make it somehow. Having a workshop in the back corner of our lot, I decided to try it. Since this would definitely involve power tools and I still needed all my fingers, I started with soft wood (redwood) and very large so I could keep by fingers far from the blade. Eventually I succeeded, but decided it was much too big, and started making much smaller ones, and then larger ones from 1-5/32" wood boards.  I started removing wood with cut out holes, and then cut out slots. This is one of the results, made from wood, glue, and gold glitter paint.

If you need to know the technical name of this polyhedron, you’ll have to learn to say:  Slotted Augmented ‘Rhombicuboctahedron’.  Or ‘RCO’ for short.

I hope you enjoy it.  Be careful, it can stick you, and it’s sturdier than it looks!  If it’s on the stand and gets bumped and starts to tip, don’t grab for it!!!  Feel free to throw the stand away for safety’s sake.


Patrick Harness

Giclee Print: “Orange and Blue”
Printed on 100% Rag Paper, 26 ½ “ x 26 ½”

Patrick Harness was born in Mobile, Alabama. He has since resided in Western Australia, Oregon and Brooklyn, New York where he attended Pratt Institute. His images are a result of 35 years of experimenting with a variety of media, with a focus on pastel and oil painting. He has happily resided in central Illinois since 1977 where he enjoys the company of his family, friends and the unique beauty of its rural landscape.

I view each work I create as an expression of a particular time, place, season and mood. I am especially inspired by the changing rural landscape of central Illinois.

I use a multiple layering technique with both the pastels and oil paintings. By allotting a passage of time between each layer, I allow the piece to "tell" me what is needed next. I also enjoy focusing on the implied movement of each subject, to reflect the passage of time.

The colors I choose are intended to convey a heightened awareness of the subject matter. My hope is to capture images of shelter, growth, space and pleasure in their most elemental forms. 


Diane Schumacher

Drawing:  “Les Fleur”
Colored Pencils. 9 ½” x 13 ½”

Diane received her undergraduate degree in art education from the University of Illinois and her graduate degree in interior design from Indiana University.  In the past, she has taught art in the public school system and has worked as a freelance designer.

In 2014, after working 23 years at Krannert Art Museum, she retired. At that time, she began taking watercolor classes with Margaret DeCardy, an accomplished artist who during her career has created magnificent watercolors.


Debbie Eichelberger

Fused Slumped Glass Plate: “Untitled”
Dichroic Glass, 1 ½ “ x  11” x 11”

A native of Champaign-Urbana, Debra Eichelberger received her BFA from Southern Illinois University with an emphasis on drawing and printmaking. She began her art career by designing promotional models for a textile dye manufacturer, with her designs appearing in several national magazines, including Good Housekeeping, Better Homes and Gardens and Co Ed Magazine. Later she worked at Parkland College as Assistant Community Arts Director and taught art classes. After receiving her MAEd. and teaching credentials from the University of Illinois she taught art in the public schools for 34 years. 

Over the years she has donated her artwork to Artists Against Aids and the Champaign County Humane Society Art Sale. After her retirement from teaching in 2015 she became a docent at Krannert Art Museum and joined the Krannert Art Museum Council, both in which she remains actively involved. She enjoys creating art in many mediums.



Carolyn Ottmers 

Sculpture: “Nature Study-Sweet Coltsfoot (Petasites japonicas)”
Cast Bronze, 5” x 20” x 18”  

This is a medium sized leaf, plucked from a Sweet Coltsfoot plant spreading across my backyard.  The largest leaves can measure up to 3 feet across from edge to edge.  Each leaf rises from the ground on a single stalk creating a wavering canopy for birds and small animals.  The flowers on this plant are negligible.  They spring up and disappear quickly, having done their duty.  I planted this species on purpose – so that I may harvest its massive leaves and cast them as components in my sculptural work.  Taken out of context, I am often asked what tree this leaf fell from.  This casting is a nature study, capturing the beauty of this particular leaf, made in preparation for a more developed project.

Generally speaking, my sculptures are often a hybrid of forms, processes, and materials derived from the human built and natural landscape and serve as metaphors for my observations of the human condition.  I frequently blur the distinctions between the two to suggest their semblance.  Inspired by nature, the forms are primarily generated through the casting process in a variety of industrial materials:  metal, plastic, glass, concrete, etc.  The associative nature of a given material as well as its aesthetic qualities, play an important role in defining the content of the work.  In particular, I am interested in the relationship of nature and culture, the correlation of generative systems and industrial production to the unique object, and the intersection of emerging and established technologies.  My work is often comprised of an inventory of forms that change composition with each installation.

I have recently retired from 30 years of teaching sculpture full-time at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  I have moved to Champaign in the hopes of spending more time creating sculpture and growing a diverse and mature garden to enjoy in my golden years.

You may also check out my work at Secrist Gallery in Chicago, IL.


Judy Jones 

Painting:  “Fall Foliage”
Gouache and pastel, 25” x 20”

I have always dabbled in some activity that could roughly be called "art."  (In this context, note the statement culled from a recent New Yorker magazine that "'Art' has come to mean anything that you can't think of another word for.")  I began to take it more or less seriously when I retired in 2000 and was able to take courses at Parkland College and spend many hours a day following through on projects.  More than anyone else at Parkland, I was influenced by Don Lake, a superlative realist and watercolor painter.  Under his guidance I learned that I had the ability to render things realistically and that style has carried me through to the present.

Unlike Don, however, I did not pursue "serious" subjects, but seemed drawn toward the slightly weird: a stick being electrocuted or wrapped up in old painting rags; fruit that had been "murdered" or skewered on a rusty fork; farm machinery that appears to be gobbling up weeds;  and sunflowers that have seen better days.  Most of the people and dogs I paint are sleeping (drugged?) or their faces are otherwise obscured.

I don't always do quirky, however.  I love to paint city scenes where I tend to select complexities like reflections in windows or the thousands of bricks that make up urban walls.  I also like to paint in "threes," like Animal, Mineral, Vegetable or Rock, Scissors, Paper. (See Untitled (blue)). 


There are three main types of watercolor, or paints that are thinned with water.  These are transparent watercolor, gouache, and acrylics.  Most people mean the first type when they hear the term.  In transparent watercolors the lights and whites are achieved by letting the paper show through the pigment.  Gouache uses opaque pigment and achieves its lights and whites with white paint.  Acrylic paintings use pigment suspended in acrylic polymer emulsion.

My paintings are either transparent watercolors or gouaches in approximately equal numbers.  Acrylic paint dries too fast and is too permanent for my taste.  I like to be able to go back into a painting and "mess around."



Event sponsorships are available at various levels, each coming with tickets and vote tokens. For more information on becoming a sponsor, please Contact Us.

If you would like to make an additional donation, please visit Krannert Art Museum | Contribute


We are grateful to our generous event sponsors for the 2022 Acquired Taste Celebration

Allen & Korkowski and Associates

Anderson Dental

Marc and Fran Ansel

George Batzli

Jane Brockway

Peter Cohen and Jeff Sposato

Deborah Day

Ann Einhorn

Susan Feuille

First State Bank

Beverly Friese

Elizabeth Goldwasser

Margaret Hansell

Peter and Joan Hood

Brice Hutchcraft

Nancy Johnson

Abe and Lisa Kocheril

Robert and Carol Lenz

Jon and Judith Liebman

Walter and Marguerite Maguire

Daniel McLean and Jon L. Seydl

Diane Miller

Nancy Morse

Walter and Jane Myers

Dann and Brenda Nardi

Richard Noel

Michael and Sheila O'Connor

Randy and Sheila Ott

Ed Perry and Martha Sierra Perry

David and Jean Peters

Alice Pfeffer

Gary and Fraeda Porton

Prairie State Bank

Gloria Rainer

Vaidas and Birute Simaitis

Cecile Steinberg

Rachael O’Byrne Sullivan and James Sullivan Memorial Fund

Robert and Bonnie Switzer

Ed and Nancy Tepper

Joy Crane Thornton

Marie Tompkins

Richard Wheeler and Pat Gill

Ed and Sharon Williams

Charles and Sarah Wisseman

Gaye Wong and Roger Clark