Art Camp

Southern Illinois has been called a mecca for visual artists.  The serene environment, the reasonable cost of living, the energy generated by the SIU Carbondale School of Art and Design and John a Logan College, and the emerging gallery culture lay a perfect canvas for creativity.

During the winter of 2012/2013 CCA will be working on roster of visual artists from southern Illinois whose work is available through their studios and/or on line.  If you are interested in being included in this list please send contact information, a brief biographical statment, and three images of current or recent work to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

April 24th, 2016, from 1:00 pm to 3:30 pm

In October and early November  of 2011 Carbondale Community Arts and the University Museum of SIU Carbondale  hosted the Smithsonian Museum on Main Street Exhibit, "The Way We Worked". Throughout the month CCA also partnered with galleries and museums across southern Illinois to present "Working in Southern Illinois", a series of exhibits and programs highlighting the history and development of southern Illinois' workforce. (Click here for more about The Way We Worked and other Smithsonian Institution Museum on Main Street opportunities.)


In preparation for the exhibit, co-chairs Gayle Klam and Mary O'Hara worked with University Museum Director Dona Bachmann and curator Nate Steinbrink to gather hundreds of photographs and conducted scores of interviews with area residents.

Carbondale-based highlights of the six week project included

  • a panel discussion about the future work in southern Illinois,
  • a special presentation about the history of the southern Illinois migrant community,
  • a focus exhibit on the Good Luck Glove Factory,
  • an exhibit of paintings by Robert Ketchens depicting the Missouri Sharecroppers Strike of 1939, and
  • a special exhibit at the African American Museum of Southern Illinois about the Ayer and Lord Railroad Tie Plant

 Other regional exhibits were coordinated through the Southern Illinois Association of Museums (SIAM) and its member organizations.

Many of Working in Southern Illinois photographs that were exhibited at the University Museum will be on display from mid-April through May in the atrium of Carbondale's University Mall. 

Detail from Robert Ketchens painting in Sharecroppers' Strike ExhibitDetail from Robert Ketchens painting in Sharecroppers' Strike Exhibit   Visitors at "The Way We Worked" during University Museum openingVisitors at "The Way We Worked" during University Museum opening


Poetry Out Loud (POL) is a national poetry education program that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance, and competition. It is a project the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Poetry Foundation that began in 2006 and last year engaged 365,000 students in competition for $50,000 in individual scholarship awards and school stipends. Poetry Out Loud is presented in Illinois through a partnership with the Illinois Arts Council, which works with arts organizations throughout the state to reach thousands of Illinois high school students each year.

2016 Regional Poetry Out Loud Contestants2016 Regional Poetry Out Loud Contestants

"Just keep doing this! Poetry is a wonderful gift. A good poem is a friend for life."

  Cynthia Roth,
  POL judge

2017 POETRY OUT LOUD REGIONAL COMPETITION will be held on THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 23rd. The competition begins at 4:00 pm in the MAry Ellen Dillard Media & Performance Gallery at Artspace 304.

The 2016 Regional Poetry Out Loud Competition brought school winners from Carbondale, Clay City, and Marion to the Artspace 304, where they recited poems they had studied from the Poetry Out Loud anthology.

Judges for the 2016 contest were Rodrigo Carramiana, Associate Professor of Mathmatics & Director of the Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities at SIU Carbondale,   Actor and Director Kevin Purcell; and Cynthia Roth, published poet and Instructor in the SIUC School of Art and Design. 

Each performance was scored using a standardized rubric that included physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, level of difficulty (of selected poem), evidence of understanding, and overall performance.

2016 Regional Winners 2016 Regional Winners

Regional winner Caroline Shaffer and runner-up Katelyn Wittenborn, both of Trinity Christian School went on to compete at the state finals in Springfield.

Carbondale Community Arts has coordinated the competition in the southernmost region of the state since 2008.

Attendance at the state contest is also free, accessible, and open to the public.State and territory winners advance to National Poetry Out Loud Competition in Washington, DC, where $50,000 in awards and school stipends will be distributed.

To learn more about Poetry Out Loud and explore the poems available for recitation in the Poetry Out Loud competitions, visit

Celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the All Southern High School Theatre Project with Carbondale Community Arts at McLeod Summer Playhouse!
The live on-stage adaptation of the movie musical, Singin’ in the Rain will dance its way onto Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s McLeod Theater stage July 27-30. The production, the All-Southern Illinois High School Theater Project (ASHSTP), produced by McLeod Summer Playhouse (MSP) and Carbondale Community Arts, closes the 2017 summer playhouse season.

What began as a student organized school musical in 1997 has become the largest high school theatre production in southern Illinois. This season ASHSTP celebrates its 20th anniversary, allowing 26 of the area’s brightest and most talented high school performers to work along side professional staff of MSP for a unique experience and intensive training in all aspects musical theatre performance.
 Over the past 20 years Carbondale Community Arts’ All Southern High School Theatre Project, working in conjunction with the Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s McLeod Summer Playhouse, has provided hundreds of area teens with performance opportunities and craft training in many facets of theatre arts.

Each summer, after a full school year of sports and forensic competition, the ASHSTP offers students the opportunity to bridge the civic boundaries and brings regional youth together in an atmosphere of collaboration rather than competition. It cultivates and showcases the talents of area teens as it provides top-notch musical theatre entertainment to McLeod Summer Playhouse audiences. At the same time, the ASHSTP provides regional high school talent with the opportunity to see what the SIUC Theatre Department and School of Music have to offer incoming students.

Carbondale Community Arts recognizes that great talent can go easily unnoticed in high school programs with limited resources. It is the goal of the ASHSTP to give the talented high school students of southern Illinois a chance to perform, grow, and to reach their full artistic potential. Congratulations to the hundreds of ASHSTP alums who have used this unique experience as a springboard.

Click here to support ASHSTP programming 





Carbondale Community Arts is accepting exhibition proposals for summer 2017 - 2018! To apply to exhibit at Artspace 304, Mary Ellen Dillard Media & Performance Gallery, or the Corridor Gallery at the Carbondale Civic Center, please complete an online proposal. The proposal requires: 

  • Contact information 
  • CV, resume or list of related experiences
  • Artist/ Group statement (approx. 300 words) 
  • Exhibition theme, intent, need of space. (approx. 300 words) 
  • Portfolio of works: five images that reflect the style of work you wish to exhibit. Format JPEG or PDF and labeled with first and last name and image number.
  • Label example: FIRST_LASTNAME_IMAGE01.JPEG
  • Image List with description of images. Please include image file name, artist name, title of work, date created, size (L"x W"x H"), Media, Price of Work.
    • Example:
                  Jane Doe
                  Title, 2017
                  8"L x 10"W
                  ink on paper

Apply Here

Gallery at Artspace 304 Floor Plan

Mary Ellen Dillard Media and Performace Gallery Floor Plan

Corridor Gallery at Carbondale Civic Center Floor Plan

If you have any questions or concerns please contact us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , stop by the gallery at 304 W Walnut St, Carbondale, IL 62901, or call 618.457.5100 to make further accommodations.

We will review your request for a show, and contact you if your work is selected for an exhibit.



After nearly 25 years as guests of the Carbondale Park District in Hickory Lodge, Carbondale Community Arts acquired a home of its own in March 2013.

Thanks to the generosity of a visionary and committed patron, CCA was able to purchase the 5,000 square foot building at 304 West Walnut, which was originally constructed in 1961 to house the Carbondale Public Library. The endowment, combined with private donations saw initial renovations complete Artspace 304, which opened to the public on October 17, 2015.

Artspace 304 is a multi-functioning community artspace with room for exhibits, small performances, and educational programming. Additionally, Artspace 304 houses Mary Ellen Dillard Media and Preformance Gallery and CCA's administrative offices.

Equipped with a full catering kitchen, 304 is also available for event and meeting rentals, both private and public.

Gallery hours for Artspace 304 are Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 11am-2pm. The gallery is also open by appointment and during all public events at Artspace 304.

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