Featured Artist: Heeyoung Kim

At Brushwood Center, we are responding to the COVID-19 crisis by doing what we strive to do year round: build a community around nature and the arts. This crisis is heavily affecting arts organizations and artists, as major art festivals, fairs, performances, and exhibitions that provide critical support and income are canceled or postponed. To help lift up the arts community during this difficult time, we will be highlighting a different nature-inspired artist each week and sharing their story with you. We encourage you to reflect on the impact of art in your life, and look for ways to support artists in our community.

For our first spotlight, we are featuring our internationally-renowned artist in residence, Heeyoung Kim. Heeyoung has been part of the Brushwood family since 2011. She began with her first solo show, and soon after started teaching her weekly classes at Brushwood Center.

Tulip, watercolor

In the spirit of natural history artists of the past, award winning contemporary botanical artist Heeyoung Kim documents and depicts native plants of prairies and woods in Midwestern USA. Giving priority to rare and endangered species, she also paints common ones when they have high ecological value. Rare orchid species are also her favorite painting subjects. Believing that humans can only survive when plants and pollinators thrive, Kim actively engages with locals to draw public attention to plant conservation through her exhibitions, talks at garden clubs, or nature and art related activities with students. Founder of Heeyoung Kim Botanical Art Academy, Kim is an internationally renowned botanical artist and instructor. She teaches the ancient art form of scientific plant illustration at Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods.

“Everything in nature leaves me in awe, large or small, floral or faunal, living or non-living….. I am always awakened and amazed by the beauty and perfect design of every part of Mother Nature, and I strive for expressing my enlightened self in art.”

Free Tutorial for Brushwood Followers:

Heeyoung has generously provided two free monarch butterfly coloring pages for Brushwood members to print out at home!  Simply follow the link to her online store and enter the code “BRUSHWOOD” at checkout to download.  You can also follow along with her step-by-step coloring tutorial on YouTube! 

Watch Heeyoung’s Coloring Tutorial
Download Coloring Pages

Follow Heeyoung Online

You can learn more about Heeyoung’s classes, view her portfolio, and purchase her work by visiting her website.  You can also keep up with her by following her on Facebook or Instagram.


Heeyoung’s Most Recent Exhibitions

5th Annual: Enriching Life – Botanical Art Exhibition, Heeyoung Kim & Brushwood Botanical Artists. November 24, 2019 – January 12, 2020 at Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods, Riverwoods, IL.

Heeyoung Kim: New Works – Orchid Watercolor Paintings. July 25- September 7, 2019, Joel Oppenheimer Gallery, Chicago, IL.

Botanical Art Worldwide, America’s Flora: Linking People with Plants through Botanical Art. 2018 – 2019, 4 venues in the United States.

Transylvania Florilegium, The Prince of Wales’s Botanical Art Documentation of Transylvania, Romania: May 23 – July 31, 2018, Embassy of Romania, London. Kim’s three watercolor paintings are included in the royal collection.

Ready, Set, Sew: Brushwood Center’s COVID-19 Face Mask Drive

Never underestimate the power of community in a time of crisis.  Artists and volunteers from Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods are rising to the occasion to address the dire need for face masks across Lake County’s healthcare community. With the help of mask-making kits from Brushwood’s Art Supply Exchange, more than 1,00 masks have already been distributed to hospitals, clinics, and assisted living centers.

What Brushwood Center is Doing:

Many local healthcare providers face a serious shortage of protective face masks in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak. As an organization dedicated to wellness that partners with multiple health care organizations throughout Lake and Cook Counties, Brushwood Center is mobilizing its community to meet this need.

Through online coordination of local artists, volunteers, and community partners, and with the material supplies from their very own BASE (Brushwood Art Supply Exchange) Brushwood is assisting in supplying much needed face masks. To date, kits to assemble well over 1,400 face masks have been distributed, and more than one thousand finished face masks have been delivered to healthcare workers in need. Mask fabrics represent the vitality and community spirit of the Chicago area, ranging from sports team patterns to cheerful spring flowers. Mask donation recipients include Vista Medical Center in Waukegan, Fenix Family Health Center in Highwood, Lake Forest Northwestern Hospital, Cedar Lake Assisted Living in Lake Zurich, Advocate Lutheran General, and the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center in North Chicago. 

“The need for protective equipment is urgent, and Brushwood Center’s community of artists and volunteers have really stepped up to the challenge. People are excited to help. Volunteers do the sewing, and we make sure the masks are delivered to the places that truly need them.” Catherine Game, Executive Director, Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods

How You Can Help:

For those who would like to contribute to support our healthcare heroes, all you need is basic sewing knowledge and instructions for mask sewing which are available on the Brushwood Center website http://www.brushwoodcenter.org. The materials needed are simple cotton fabric, elastic/fabric ties, and sewing equipment.

Donate your sewn masks to Brushwood Center’s front porch in the donation bin. Their mighty team of volunteers will handle the donation pick-ups and delivery to healthcare centers. Please email us at info@brushwoodcenter.org or message us via Facebook when you have dropped off your masks so we can track quantity.

Drop off between sunrise and dusk on the Brushwood Center front porch: 21850 North Riverwoods Road, Riverwoods, IL.

It’s okay if there are small differences between masks. There are many instructional videos available online as well that you can reference.

Throughout our area there are other organizations with similar mask drives. Wherever you choose to put your energy, just know that it is appreciated.

BASE (Brushwood Center Art Supply Exchange)

BASE is a creative reuse center operated by Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods where your unwanted art and craft supplies can find new life.  BASE provides materials, tools and education at very low-cost to the public, and free to educators and community partners. BASE remains closed due to COVID-19 through the end of April.

Brushwood Center joins Green Wedding Alliance

Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods is excited to announce our membership in the Green Wedding Alliance!

Green Wedding Alliance is a growing list of resources that connects various environmentally and socially conscious businesses with consumers who wish to be conscious of the impact of their event. GWA, which began in 2010, is the brainchild of co-founders Lynn Fosbender, owner of Pollen Floral Design, and Amanda Eich and Tony Vassallo, who own Spilled Ink Press. Both businesses are invested in sustainable and eco-friendly operating methods – as are the 50+ businesses affiliated with the Alliance.

At Brushwood Center, we are dedicated to nurturing personal and community wellbeing through nature. Through programming and events, we aim to teach the importance of creativity and community-centered environmental stewardship. One of the ways that we do this is by providing a gathering space in nature for events and retreats – always keeping sustainability at the forefront.

Catherine Game, Brushwood Center’s executive director, had a few words to say about our involvement with GWA.

“We are so excited to be able to create a space where people can hold celebratory events, like weddings, parties, and retreats in a beautiful setting like Ryerson Woods. It is also extremely important that we are good stewards to the area we are occupying. This partnership will allow us to provide new resources for people who want to be mindful of their footprint on their special day.”

Through our membership in the Green Wedding Alliance, we hope to reach more people who are interested in hosting sustainable, mindful events in a serene, natural environment. We can’t wait to see how much more we’ll be able to accomplish with GWA and the other like-minded businesses involved in the alliance!

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