ROCK ISLAND -- Glorie Iaccarino and Meg Hollister are down-to-earth artists who share a love of nature and love to share that passion with others.
The two have partnered to open the Quad-Cities' first gallery exclusively devoted to eco-art, called Zola Gallery, at the Shoppes on 2nd, 1700 2nd Ave., Rock Island.
"It's something I always wanted to do," said Ms. Iaccarino, gallery owner and founder of the Eco Arts Council of the Quad Cities. When she started that group last summer, one of her visions was to have a gallery "to celebrate and facilitate eco-arts and have a physical presence, have a centralized location."
The focus of Zola Gallery and the council, which will meet there, is "to get artists to have more of a heightened awareness of their relationship to nature and express that in their works, to explore it further, try it as a new genre of art," Ms. Iaccarino said. The council also urges artists to consider ecological practices in their process and to be good stewards of the environment.
"It's nice to give artists that do that already a home. It's pretty unique to this area," said Ms. Hollister, a longtime lover of painting nature scenes who has created alarge installation of trees, leaves and butterflies made from recycled cut paper.
Ms. Hollister has been active in the Eco Arts Council, teaching at its first salon, where artists share their work and offer demonstrations. She also has taught art at the Figge Art Museum and the Boys and Girls Club. Ms. Iaccarino has logged 20-plus years doing environmental education at local schools, writing an environmental column for Families First magazine and coordinating arts education programs.
"Art is a universal language. Nature provides a universal bond," Ms. Iaccarino said. "Art can influence and change the world, and nature heals and can bridge cultures as we all seek refuge, restoration and rejuvenation in our environments we call home. So how symbiotic that art and nature complement each other as universal forms of connection and expression."
Since both Ms. Iaccarino and Ms. Hollister are of Italian descent, they named the gallery Zola, which is Italian for "a piece of earth."
"All the ideas we've been talking about over the past six months somehow just seemed to click right here so here we are," Ms. Hollister said.
The gallery offers eco-art for sale -- the plan is to offer works by different artists every month -- in a professional, industry-standard setting. It also serves as a meeting place for members of the Eco Arts Council and a place to teach educational eco workshops. It offers a variety of services: art lessons, educational workshops, art installation, art critiques and publication, graphic design, creative consultation, large-scale mural painting, photography, portfolio/promotion support to artists and custom canvas frames built to order.
The two women are exhibiting their artworks first, and new art will go on display in March. There will be no fee to exhibit, but Zola will take a 20 percent commission on any sale, and all artists have to be pre-approved.Zola also provides art rentals for three months at a time, after which clients will have the option to purchase the art.
Exhibiting artists will be required to offer an eco-arts salon, a public opportunity to talk about their philosophy and share their art, Ms. Iaccarino said. Starting this week, she and Ms. Hollister will teachchildren's workshops from 11 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 2 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays for $15 each, including a make-and-take project.
Zola also will offercareer-development services to artists on Thursdays, including resume-building, for a fee.
"A lot of artists are great in artworks, but as far as self-promoting -- how to write an artist statement, an exhibition statement, a resume, how do I plan for my exhibition?" Ms. Iaccarino said. "It's also the business of art."
"It's nice to be able to have that one-on-one, developing the artists professionally," Ms. Hollister said. "I don't think it's easily accessible."
Ms. Iaccarino also would like to create a "gallery guide" to educate families about art and galleries -- "what can you get out of it, what do you look for," she said. "It helps the parent become an educator, encourage creative thinking in their child. Kids are future artists, future consumers. It's how to look at art, appreciate it. It's getting the parents to help the child to ask questions, to investigate the art and enjoy it more."
Zola will participate in the periodic Gallery Hops, arts tours that take place in The District of Rock Island, and its owners see it as a natural neighbor to other creative businesses at the Shoppes on 2nd.
"It's an environment where businesses are complementing each other. It enhances the overall experience there," Ms. Iaccarino said. "Creative, collaborative partnerships are what I'm about."
"The kind of people that are going to be drawn in here are the same kind of clientele that would be interested in what we have to offer," Ms. Hollister said.
"I call it a happy accident," District executive director Catherine Rodgers-Ingles said of the collection of new businesses in the retail incubator. "I couldn't have asked for [a business] more complementary."
Zola hours, activities and other new 'shoppes'
Like all of the Shoppes at 2nd, Zola Gallery will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. Among its regularly scheduled events will be:
-- Private art lessons and creative consultation services offered by appointment on Mondays.
-- Children's workshops on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
-- At the lunch hour on Thursdays, a "Creative Cafe" where guests may enjoy complimentary coffee, have access to art books and magazines, doodle and draw and talk all things "art and creativity" with other like-minded people.
-- One Friday evening each month, the gallery will have an artist opening reception, followed two weeks later by an eco-art salon presented by the featured artist.
-- Saturday will be Family Day Open Studio, when visitors can partake in make-it-take-it crafts.
The other Shoppes on 2nd are:
-- QC Collective, a retail co-op featuring more than 50 artists. -- Good Karma Shirt Company, handcrafted and custom-designed repurposed clothing. -- Vivian's Vintage Varieties, antiques featuring jewelry, furniture and collectibles. -- Artful Offices, stylish high-tech office supplies, opening in February. -- Recommending Reading, a bookstore featuring local authors, coming soon.
Today is Monday, Sept. 15, the 258th day of 2014. There are 107 days left in the year.
1864 — 150 years ago: The Rock River Illinois conference of the Methodist Church will hold its annual sessions this week in this city. About 200 ministers are expected to attend. 1889 — 125 years ago: The Brush electric company had prepared a new schedule of rates to become effective Oct. 1, with slightly increased rates to consumers. 1914 — 100 years ago: The Rock Island Aerie of Eagles made plans for the laying of the cornerstone of a new $50,000 Eagles Home. W.C. Maucker is to be master of ceremonies. 1939 — 75 years ago: Col. Charles A. Lindbergh spoke on "America and Foreign War" in a neutrality debate over nation wide radio hook-up. 1964 — 50 years ago: Two awards of the National Safety council were presented to the city of Rock Island today at noon at a meeting held in the YWCA. 1989 — 25 years ago: The final tallies are not yet in for the summer 1989 Quad-Cities tourism season, but officials are expecting the number of visitors to the area to be at least as good as, if not better than, 1988.