Kathleen Farrell’s Art Gallery

As a member of the United Scenic Artists Union Local #829, I frequently create easel paintings, murals and sculptures for union conventions and union halls. My labor paintings have been featured in exhibitions at the Field Museum in Chicago, (Creating Art, Building Communities: Joliet and Friends of Community Public Art, February to July 2003), the American Labor Museum, the Bread & Roses Gallery 1199 and The Puffin Room Center for the Arts & Activism. My work has been included in the following books; The Art of Placemaking: Interpreting Community Through Public Art and Urban Design, Merrill Press (Knights of Labor-Irish painting included in book), 2007, Sculptures: The Great Columns of Joliet, U of Illinois Press 2006, Murals/ The Great Walls of Joliet, University of Illinois Press, 2001, Urban Art Chicago, Ivan Dee Press, 2000, Wall of Heritage/Walls of Pride: African American Murals, Pomegranate Press, 2000 (Paul Robeson and the CIO-UAW Struggle 1940 mural is included in book), Community Murals: A Peoples‘ Art , The Art Alliance Press, 1984, and The Art and Culture of the American Labor Movement, Neuen Gesellschaft Fur Bildende Kunst NGBK, 1983. Feature articles exploring my labor and community based murals have appeared in magazines such as The Public Art Review Magazine and Labor’s Heritage Magazine (Vol. 8 No. 4, Spring 1997).

Mark Rogovin, founder and director of the Public Art Workshop in Chicago introduced me to labor union and community based public art in 1975. I have a Master of Fines Arts degree in printmaking from The National Superior School of Decorative Arts, Paris, as well as a Master of Arts degree in Popular Culture from Governors State University.

Since 1997 I have directed Friends of Community Public Art (FCPA), a not for profit arts organization headquartered in Joliet, Illinois. FCPA’s artists have created over 150 works of community based public art including 50 life size sculptures. My labor union art includes Renaissance technique easel paintings, murals, mosaics and sculptures.

I strongly believe that visual art can have a profound effect on the way a population feels about itself, which ultimately can transform the collective culture of that group. The community and union public art I create tell the often forgotten stories of the lives of ordinary people, their history, struggles, and hopes.