From 1979 to 1980 I worked at a discount store in downtown Peoria called, “Murray’s.” It was a fun place to work and I always had a blast going out with my co-workers to the nearby bar, Ike and Swannie’s, where we’d all get plastered to the gills and steal the balls from the pool table. In 1980, I got my job at Fleming Potter, but continued to work weekends, partly for extra money, but more so for the fun with my co-workers. Then around Christmas time I was hanging out at the switchboards talking to my friend Marilyn who was manning the switchboard and the owner George Murray happened to show up. He said hi and just like Dionne Warwick, he just walked on by. The only problem with this picture is that I happened to be clutching a fifth of opened lime vodka, which I was drinking on my break (I need to write this whole story up sometime in full.) The next weekend I was told by my manager that my services were no longer needed and I lost touch with Murray’s and most of the people who worked there.
Well, today I return! Murray’s closed years ago, but the building is still there and it houses some local shops and the third and fourth floor are artist’s working studios and galleries. I thought from time to time it would be fun to go there and visit a random local artist, chat with them and take photos of their art and their gallery. And so, it’s off, like the wild wind we go!
The building is now called, Walnut Street Warehouse and the third and fourth floors are the art galleries known as the Artists At The Murray Center For The Arts.
There's the building, you can still see the Murray's logo fading away into the brick exterior.
Ribbon Records is located on the ground floor and one of these days I plan on doing a post from here. But it's closed today, so let's check out the art galleries in here.
And speaking of artists, here's a list of them on the wall next to the elevator.
Ha! Chris is an old friend of mine, we went to high school together and I haven't seen him in years. Let's go to his studio and see if he's there.
Ha, this is right where the switchboard for Murray's was where I got caught with the lime vodka! Let's go find Chris' studio.
Here's the studio, I knocked, but he's not here. He must have a day job or something, I'll email him and maybe meet him down the road for another post from here.
Let's walk down the hallway and see if we can find some random artist in here and get some photos of their studio and art.
Nobody's here at this studio either. I tried several others, but no one's around. Time to improvise and try to save this post.
There's some art an colorful lights in the hallway, let's look at some of that.
I like this, the paper gives it a 3-D effect.
I'm guessing this is a collective collage from all of the artists on the floor.
Here's some art made up using Chinese menus as a base. The thing about Chinese menu art is you look at it, walk away and fifteen minutes later you want to look at it again. Then you want Jello, of course.
Let's see if there's anybody with a pulse on the third floor.
I see an actual, living, breathing human opening a studio door here! Let's go find out who this human is!
Meet Bill Conger! He shares a sparse studio with another artist and here he is, standing next to one of his conceptual sculptures. The studio kind of reminds me of my apartment back in New York.
Bill's sculptures are made from found items and he said he calls them "conceptual sculptures," for a lack of a better name. I suggested the name of "Carl" for them, but I don't think that idea is going to stick.
Some tools of the trade are collected up on this desk.
Bill shares the studio and here's the other half, let's go see who this artist is!
This is Ann Coulter, a pastel artist. I told her she looks different in person than on TV and her weary laugh told me she had heard that joke before. I asked her if she ever felt like changing her name and she shot back, "She should change her name, I'm sure she gets it too!" Ha ha ha! Nice comeback! Let's check out the art she's creating.
There's piles of colorful pastels all over in here.
The colorful chalk is kind of a work of art unto itself.
Here's a piece of Ann's art hanging on the wall.
I love these postcard art pieces, very cool!
Wow, she's got a full-sized fridge in here, let's be nosy and see what's inside of it.
Houston, we've got Rolling Rock!
Cheers and thanks to Bill and Ann for being such gracious hosts and letting us tour their art studios! We'll check back in later and see if we can barge in on Chris's space. See you all tomorrow!