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Arts & Culture

COVID & and Arts: Art Legacy League Moves to New Location

Art Legacy League

The Art Legacy League has found a new home on the Davenport riverfront and will hold a two-hour open house on Friday, Nov. 20.

Founded in 2012, the nonprofit Art Legacy League is dedicated to the memory of Father Edward Catich and his contributions to the calligraphic arts, history of writing, and his long legacy of teaching. Father Catich, who died in 1979, was an internationally renowned artist, calligrapher and visionary instructor who founded the St. Ambrose University Art Department.

The league moved from J.B. Young Opportunity Center, 1702 N. Main St., Davenport. It had been there since 2018, and is now at the historic One River Place, 1225 E. River Drive, Davenport. Board member Paul Herrera, who studied with Catich, says the move from J.B. Young was necessary after coronavirus struck early this year.

Credit Art Legacy League
Paul Herrera

“We were one of the first organizations in there; we were perfectly happy. We had a nice spot, they were very cordial and provided us what we needed. What happened was Covid, basically. What they had to do was to close down the schools and J.B. Young Center, just a total lockout. We understand, but it lasted for so long, as the time came to renew our lease, we knew that with rumors of a second surge of Covid, we would probably get locked out again.

“So basically, our classes were cut short because of lockout and thought we just can’t risk losing out on another three or four months, or who knows how long, of trying to raise funds and hold classes. So that was our motivation for finding another venue.”

There was supposed to be a Catich exhibit in June at the Bereskin Gallery in Bettendorf, but they couldn’t get pieces out of J.B. Young, so Herrera displayed his own works.Herrera says artist Amy Nielsen – who teaches with Art Legacy League -- knew the One River Place owner Molly Arp Newell. They have more space now than at J.B. Young, and will hold off on holding classes until after Jan. 1.

Credit Art Legacy League

“We have more natural light coming in, more windows. Artists just love natural light. We need to have natural light. We have more hours of accessibility. For instance, we couldn’t have a weekend workshop at J.B. Young without special arrangements. Here at One River Place, we can have a Saturday, Sunday workshop.”

The open house will be Friday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and they’re going to limit the number of people through the rooms at once. Herrera says there will be three different stations for the open house – one at the building entrance for a Chamber ribbon-cutting; the Art Legacy League classroom on the second floor (in Room 201), and on the third floor (in Room 325). There will be directional signs for visitors. The third floor space available that day will offer works for sale.Among those items are 11-by-17 prints of a famous Catich cast of the Trajan Inscription in Rome, Italy, for $10 each. Herrera says the Trajan Inscription has been regarded by paleographers and calligraphers as the finest example of the best period of Roman monumental lettering.The league's classroom, gallery, and  archive will be open throughout the year. Also, they will still offer the same variety and quality of art classes as before, with adjustments made for social distancing.Original artworks by Father Catich will always be on display at the new location. They still have a large selection of giclee reproductions of his work and Catich designed holy cards for sale. Revenue from these items helps ALL to continue the tradition of carrying on the Father Catich legacy of art instruction. Newell is founder and president of EnviroNET, which works to solve engineering and environmental problems specific to real estate revitalization, landfill monitoring, and other issues.One River Place has 20 tenants, and the building has five suites available for lease. For more information on the all-volunteer ALL, visit www.artlegacyleague.org.