Not long removed from being a student herself, long-time Rend Lake College Art Professor Therese Melena is aiming to make a difference for her future art students.

Melena has completed a painting of the Granada Theater in Mt. Vernon and is working on a painting of the stately 5th District Appellate Courthouse, also located in Mt. Vernon. The representations of these two popular King City landmarks will be on the auction block at the Student Art Auction, set for Thursday, April 7, at the Rend Lake Resort Conference Center. There will be a preview at 5 p.m. and the auction starts at 6 p.m.

Melena has been with Rend Lake College since 1990. She said the idea for the art auction started with a former student, Linda Krutsinger, and herself. Together, they thought it would be fitting if RLC’s art students generated their own scholarship money with their own works.

According to Melena, all of the money raised at the Student Art Auction goes directly to the scholarship fund.

Painting the Granada Theater was a worthwhile effort because it is such a popular landmark, Melena said. It also got her back into the swing of creating art.

Melena had been busy the past four years studying for her second master’s degree at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. She maintained a 4.0 grade-point average the entire time and graduated last August with a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Theater Design. Her first was a Master of Science in Education Degree in Community College Education, also from SIUC.

“I had been so busy studying, I didn’t have the drive or the impetus to do art,” Melena said. However, contributing to the Student Art Auction has fanned the creative flame.

“It’s a sinful pleasure, knowing I can help our students by practicing my craft,” Melena said.

She said she would have a difficult time being an artist who works alone in a studio because she would miss the greatest reward of teaching art, which is interacting with students.

“I love it when students have an epiphany,” Melena said. She said it is a wonderful experience when a student attributes his or her success to Melena’s drive to see her students do their absolute best.

For more information, contact Melena at (618) 437-5321, Ext. 1747, or call toll-free (in-district only) at 1-800-369-5321, Ext. 1747.

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