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Local Artist Book Club Inspires Creativity


In a quiet, upstairs meeting room at Indian Prairie Library in Darien, IL, ten women – all artists who work in various mediums – repeat the following prayer in unison before beginning their discussion about their current title, LIGHT THE DARK -- WRITERS ON CREATIVITY, INSPIRATION, AND THE ARTISITC PROCESS edited by Joe Fassler (See Book Recommendations page).

Native American Prayer

We are so grateful for this time together,

To renew our spirit,

To share our trials and our lives,

To find new strength and peace.

All that we have is a gift.

May we be thankful;

May we celebrate;

May we share.

As they settle in around the table crinkling lunch bags and snapping open snack boxes, they delve excitedly into the latest chapter while munching absent-mindedly. The Book Club --- a private group that meets at the library – obviously enjoys engaging in lively, inspired conversation with no trouble staying on topic. Eagerly they jump into the conversation excitedly sharing passages they’ve underlined in their books that held special meaning for them.

Their goal for each title they select is to help them expand their individual creative horizons. As they grow as artists, they also enjoy the camaraderie they’ve built over their past five years of meeting together.

And hands-down, each member was enthusiastic about this particular book selection reveling in how each essay – authored by a different well-known writer – spoke to them individually regarding inspiration and the creative process.

As one member commented about the current essay under discussion, “I love knowing the back stories of others and recognizing our own selves in their stories, and in their struggles.”

But, how did this group of creative women launch a book club?

Laura Lein-Svencner, Darien, IL, is the book club’s founder. “I had lots of friends in the area who are artists and we all like to talk about what we’re doing. So, coming together as a book club focusing on art came very naturally,” she explained.

Laura added that when they first began meeting, it was in one another’s homes. As that grew inconvenient, they tried various restaurants or cafes’ until finally settling on the handiness of the local library. Because the club meticulously tackles each book chapter-by-chapter together, they only complete about two books a year.

Summing up, one member said, “Artists work alone, and when in a group of artists that synergy can be beneficial for feedback … it helps remove your internal critic as you see what others are doing and watch their work develop.”

They all agreed that spending time with other people who are all actively creating is extremely satisfying as evidenced by their upcoming fine art exhibit showcasing each member’s artistry which they’ve dubbed, “Nature’s Storied Paths” – and quite a story it is.

“NATURE’S STORIED PATHS” is now on exhibit at the

Mayslake Peabody Estate, 1717 W. 31st Street, Oak Brook, IL

January 15 – March 8, 2020

Reception on March 8, 2020 from 2-4 PM


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