History of the Glenview Art League

IT ALL BEGAN WITH AN ART FAIR (OR TWO). In the beginning, no one said “Let’s found an art league”. Instead, they said “Let’s put on an art show”. The year was 1954 and the location was Linneman Street. Paintings were hung on chicken wire which was strung between trees along the parkway and across driveways. That same year, Lyon School held a book fair. The principal, Ludwig Bodzewski, was a former art teacher, and he invited artists to show their work at the fair. The next art fair of which we have record was in 1955, and was held at the Patio Shops. Forty artists participated. By this time, an organization had come together under the name “Glenview-Northbrook Area Art Society”. Other names followed. Since 1978 the name has been Glenview Art League. In 1957, at the suggestion of Mr. Bodzewski, the fair moved to the spacious grounds of Lyon School. As of 2013 it has been held there every year since with a few exceptions: –In 1959 the fair was not held –In 1967 due to construction the fair was held in Jackman park. –In 1994, again due to construction, the fair was held on River Drive. Along the way there have been a few changes, such as: –Holding the fair for two days instead of one (1960). –Increasing the registration fee. (In 1961 it was two dollars). –A “Glenview’s Own” booth where a painting or two can be hung without registering (started in 1968). –Tent sharing (started in 2013).

Summer Art Fair 1958

MONTHLY MEETINGS One of the earliest activities was the monthly membership meetings. For years these meetings were held in the Maynard room of the old library. Other locations have included the Rugen Center, the Park Center, Attea School, and Westbrook School. Most meetings feature a live demonstration by an accomplished artist . In 1968 art films were shown. There have been some well known names. Among them were Charles Vickery, Irving Shapiro, Ted Smuskiewicz, Tom Lynch, and Winfred Godfrey. A 99 year old artist painted with colored scraps of paper. Another artist did a painting that changed from a day scene to a night scene, thanks to ultraviolet light. Watercolor is a popular demo topic. By 1994 a large overhead mirror had been built. As of 2015, we are still using it. THE BUILDING FUND In 1969 a building fund was established. The proposed building would have workshops, a meeting place, and a gallery. The art league had become affiliated with the park district in 1968, and the park district agreed to maintain the building if we would build it. As years went by, the fund grew. There were auctions, raffles, and solicitations. Meanwhile, the cost of building was increasing. Each time a goal was reached, a new goal was needed. Then in 1978 School District 34 closed Rugen School. The idea of owning a building was dropped. Some of the money raised was used to furnish an art room in the vacated school. Other money was used for scholarships. Also in 1978 the park district issued a new policy regarding money, causing the art league to again become independent. Although we do not have a building we do have an office, which we started renting in 2004.

Take a walk through our History Gallery

Summer Art Fair 1963

THE YOUTH ART FAIR At a 1988 board meeting Gopal Prachand proposed a Youth Art Fair. There had been one in the village he came from in India. Why wouldn’t it work here? The board agreed, and the fair was scheduled for November. But November crept up rather quickly and we were not ready, so the first Youth Art Fair was held the following February. It was an immediate success, and as of 2013 has been held every year since except 1990. The first location was the club room at Rugen School. By 1993 that location had been outgrown. From 1993 thru 2009 the fair was held at Glenbrook South HS with the exception of 2002 and 2003 when it was held at Pendleton Hall. Starting in 2010 it has been at Attea School. Over the years the fair has grown. A record was set in 2012 when over three hundred artists participated.

OTHER ACTIVITIES Here is a brief list of some other activities: –Venues for members to display their work in public places. –Members only shows. One of these was held at Maine North in 1973. –Weekend workshops. –Outdoor painting sessions. –A craft show. –A centennial art show (1999) in commemoration of the Glenview Centennial. –A unit in the Fourth of July Parade (2003). For this event giant brushes were constructed.

– A Short History of the Glenview Art League (ISBN 0-9613031-1-5) was written by the late Robert Sherman. It is currently out of print.

A Short History of the GAL by Robert Sherman


As a 501c3 tax-exempt organization, annual financial reports are available upon request.

Community Connection

The following are community resources for instruction, supplies, venues and support for arts of all kinds in Glenview, Illinois

Aaron Galleries
A fine art gallery

Arts Of Life
We are people with and without disabilities creating an artistic culture to realize our full potential

Arts and Entertainment in Glenview
Online guide.

Glenview School of Arts
Art classes for children and young adults. Classes provide a fun and positive atmosphere for children to learn the basic principles of art and to build a strong foundation in art.  The young adult and high school programs focus on preparing the student’s art portfolio for college and beyond. As the portfolio is essential for any artist, we encourage our students to develop the strongest and most varied portfolio possible. The portfolio showcases talent and individual growth.

Glenview Park District
Arts programs for adults and children.

Glenview Public Library
Arts at the library

Illinois Art Fair Directory
Comprehensive guide to art fairs in Illinois.

Oil Lamp Theater
A professional not-for-profit theater organization that is dedicated to the presentation of traditional theater in a unique, inviting and intimate venue. Its mission is not only to stimulate interest in the performing arts but al toromote a sense of, and provide a service to, the community.

Oil Lamp Theater

Once It Clicks
Programs in art, math and reading.

Terra Sounds
Classes in art, language and music. Recital hall, practice rental, show and concert production, audio and video production.

Tully Irish Dance Academy
Instruction in Irish Dance.

Virtuoso Performing Arts
Music, acting, dance, voice, musical theater.


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