The best ideas surface when friends meet new friends over coffee. In 2008, Rene Dankert invited me to meet Lisa Haderlein and Linda Balek for coffee and brainstorming to develop a fundraiser for TLC, and Art of the Land was born.
The thrill and outpouring of support from our first Art of the Land event, 11 years ago, has grown into TLC’s major annual fundraiser. I’ve enjoyed volunteering to gather artists, helping hang the exhibition at the Starline Factory, and being able to show and sell my own paintings to support TLC. It amazes me to reflect on the size and attendance of the early events compared to how much it has grown and elevated in recent years. I’m proud to have been a part of this beautiful fundraiser, which has benefitted our community for so long.
Another friendship developed through TLC is in my own backyard. I’m lucky to live behind Randy and Nancy Schietzelt, who maintain the Wingate Property. Upon moving to Crystal Lake from Portland in 2002, Nancy explained how their property is held in trust to remain protected by TLC in perpetuity.
My family and I have benefitted being adjacent to this lovely acreage because their special prairie plants and flowers have spread to our property! Randy taught my husband, Paolo, about warding off garlic mustard and other invasive species, so I feel our yard reflects the same care and value as the Wingate Property.
As an artist, I am grateful to TLC to be able to gather inspiration through the beauty in my own backyard.