ABOUT THE OLD COURTHOUSE ARTS CENTER
Old Courthouse Arts Center
Parking on the square can be difficult during lunch and dinner times and on weekends. But there is plenty of additional parking, all within a 5 minute walk of the Old Court House Arts Center. This downloadable map shows all the parking lots in and around the Arts Center. Don't forget: parking on the square is for only 2 hours during the day; parking lots located off the square are for 4 hours.
Mary Beth Ballon
Mary Beth has had many early influences in her life that have shaped her to the artist she is today.
After receiving her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago while working at Encyclopedia Britannica in the animation department in Ink and Paint she turned to Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario was accepted into the prestigious International School of Animation.
Worked at StarToons as a subcontractor for Warner Brothers as an assistant animator. Working most notably on Tiny Toons Christmas special which won an Emmy and is listed on the IMDb.
The pull of her first love, which she ignored, Painting kept creeping back into her life, finally answering the call she started taking classes. The first class with Alice White was all it took. Her passion, which had been suppressed for so many years, has now been unleashed. Mary Beth is passionate about her art especially her painting, always striving to improve, learning as much as she can, attending classes and workshops at The Palette and Chisel Academy in Chicago; studying with Scott Tallman Powers, Michael Van Zehl, Mary Quin, David Leffel , Steven Assael and Frankie Johnson; Attending open studio every week, painting in the North light.
Most recently introduced to En Plein Air -- hooked. Paints outdoors as much as she can.
Mary Beth is a figurative painter whose work tends to be traditional in the sense that she uses traditional materials but not always in the traditional way. Claiming the title of Abstract Realist one might see a thread of German Expressionism in her early work.
She has been heavily influenced by Lucian Frued and Steven Assael.
Painting in her own North light studio in The Starline Gallery Studios in Harvard, IL where she currently resides in a beautiful Eastlake Victorian with her husband and many furry companions.
Nanette Garcia has previously worked in pottery, jewelry-making, using various techniques and materials such as PMC, and bead-weaving. She has always been an avid painter, working in watercolor and now oil.
Nanette, was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois and now resides in Woodstock, Illinois where she has raised her family. She is a member of the Palette and Chisel in Chicago. She has taken many classes and workshops with many inspirational artists such as David Leffel, Mary Qian, Colley Whisson, and Scott Burdick.
“My work is traditionally representational. My love of people leads me to strive to convey their character, through their mannerisms or expressions. My love of travel and being out of doors, leads me to paint in plein air where I am striving to capture the changing light, and movement. My love of composing leads me to setting up a still life to paint a setting with lighting and objects that I find interesting in color and texture.”
Victoria Senn has worked in watercolor, acrylic, photography and most recently in mixed-media collage.
Senn was born in Chicago, Illinois and is a graduate of the American Academy of Art. She worked as a commercial artist and managed the art department (Howw MFG) while raising her family. Currently Victoria works at The Old Court House Arts Center curating and managing exhibitions.
Richly textured and colorful, her widely exhibited work combines paint, torn hand made Japanese paper, and digital print media. Senn’s collages are representationally grounded and focus on the human condition from a uniquely personal perspective.
Katherine Weber has tried her artistic hand at various mediums but waited until after retirement to take on the watercolor challenge.
Born in Evanston and raised in rural Woodstock, Katherine continues to reside locally. Her early art education began at the Art Institute of Chicago and she continues classes and workshops.
Most often her subjects are nature and often inspired by a botanical painting background but with amplified creativity and inspiration since having given herself permission to break the botanical/realistic rules. Expanding her repertoire of painting techniques and surfaces continues in her daily painting. A current fascination is with Terraskin paper which is made from stone. In the last few years she has entered the miniature painting competition world where images must measure less 25 square inches. Her works have recently sold in Washington, Kansas and Florida in international juried miniature shows.
The Old Courthouse was constructed in 1857, a classic brick structure designed by one of the country’s most prominent architects, John Mills Van Osdel. The adjoining Sheriff’s House & Jail was built 30 years later. After 115 years as the focal point of McHenry County government, the county outgrew the buildings in 1972 and the complex was to be demolished for a parking lot. But it was saved from the wrecker’s ball by Woodstock residents Cliff and Bev Ganschow. The Ganschows bought the buildings and began an extensive renovation program completed for American’s Bicentennial in 1976. Because of the buildings’ architectural and historical significance, both the Old Courthouse and Sheriff’s House & Jail are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Today the Old Courthouse complex is a proud landmark. Revival as the anchor of historic Woodstock Square (originally named Courthouse Square) for you and your family’s and friends’ enjoyment. Its entire three floors, totaling more than 30,000 square feet, are no occupied by unique restaurants, galleries and studios. Here you can still see the original pressed tin ceilings… impenetrable wooden jail doors…massive iron vaults with doors that are beautifully decorated with hand painted murals and floral motifs…election tallies recorded and preserved on a giant chalkboard…high arched doorways…an elegant winding stairway, and many other handsome vestiges of the 19th century which make the Old Courthouse complex a fascinating place to explore. The Woodstock Public House, which occupies the entire ground level floor, complements the authentic atmosphere with an All-America dining experience.
Over the years, the Old Courthouse and the Sheriff’s House & Jail has witnessed a panorama of American life and history. One of the most famous prisoners was Socialist leader Eugene V. Debs, jailed here after the great Pullman strikes of the late 1800’s. In the Roaring Twenties two of American’s most notorious bootleggers, ‘Dapper Dan’ McCarthy and Ear Weiss served a stretch in the McHenry County Jail. In 1932 ‘Lone Wolf; Loftus, billed as America’s greatest bank robber, was captured and jailed in Woodstock after authorities bad been trailing him for nearly three years. Another notorious gangster, Frank ‘Red’ McGee, sawed his way out of jail during the holidays leaving a farewell Merry Christmas note to the sheriff. The Jail’s death cell was used only once, after a minor Chicago politician and all-around hoodlum murdered a Chicago alderman over a drink of whiskey. He was hanged in the Square in 1886, the only hanging ever in McHenry County.