"Beyond the Arches," a showcase of artwork owned by McDonald's to be displayed at Michigan City's Lubeznik Center for the Arts, is a sampler plate next to the corporations' super–sized collection.
The exhibit, which opens at Lubeznik Center's Hyndman Gallery on Nov. 14, contains 38 pieces from McDonald's corporate collection, which, according to the center's Exhibitions Curator CarolAnn Brown, is made up of more than 3,700 works.
"Their collection is significant in size," Brown said. "They have a little bit of everything. Trying to decide what kind of work we were going to pull was challenging because there is such a wide variety, and what we picked out is just the tip of the iceberg. But I think that our representation is a very good representation of what they have to offer."
Hosting a fundraising preview for "Arches" at 6 p.m. Nov. 13, the seeds for the exhibit were sewn by Glenn and Cathy Lubeznik, former center board president and former center marketing chair, respectively. More than a year ago, they approached the powers that be in regard to exhibiting pieces from their collection at Lubeznik Center.
According to center board member Rod Lubeznik, McDonalds began collecting art for their Oakbrook, Ill., headquarters as well as for their satellite offices worldwide in 1978.
While McDonald's may not be the first name to come to the minds of many area art aficionados, Lubeznik hopes the fast food empire will bring viewers to the center who would normally shy away from art galleries as a whole.
"Some people, when they hear that there's an art exhibit, sometimes they may have very high–brow, standoffish thoughts," he said. "But the very fact that this (exhibit) is associated with a brand that is so familiar to everyone, we're hoping that this will bring people to the center who might under normal circumstances not be as open to art."
Lubeznik also hopes the exhibit will appeal to younger aspiring artists and art viewers. Approximately 1,000 children make their way through the center per week, according to Lubenik, through their afterschool outreach programs and classes.
"I think the kids will be enthusiastic about seeing something tied to McDonald's," he said. "I think it will be quite energizing for them."
Brown, along with Lubeznik Center chair of curatorial committee Suzanne Cohan–Lange, selected the 38 pieces that make up "Arches." They made their first trek to McDonald's Oakbrook base to become familiar with and select works for the exhibit in January.
The duo, Brown said, were awestruck by the company's offices as well as with the art McDonald's had to offer them for their exhibit.
"A lot of people don't realize that the time and care that McDonald's put into their corporate offices and campus where their employees work, and the design of the building and architecture as well as the artwork that complements them," she said. "I think that the work environment is so rich in that sense. They've taken a lot of time and a lot of care in placing this work.
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"Visually, it's very exciting. There's something different around every corner."
A hearty portion of the selected works that make up "Arches," Brown said, were created in the mid 80s and early 90s.
"Their intent was really about collecting (works by) emerging artists both nationally and internationally at that time," she said. "For obvious reasons, some of the pieces are very indicative of what was contemporary at that time."
Notable artists with works in "Arches" include American painter Mark Kostabi, who along with exhibiting in galleries worldwide created album covers for the likes of Guns N' Roses and the Ramones; 19th Century pioneer Eadweard Muybridge, whose camera work set the grounds for motion picture photography; and Chicago–based artist May Lou Zelazny.
"One of the things that we have attempted to do, our staff, is create a very robust and interesting program for a regional arts center in order to bring artwork to Northwest Indiana that would not be available anywhere else," Lubeznik said. "And one of the things we're excited about is that we think that this enhances the life of the community in general."
While xxx Lubeznik praised Brown and Cohan–Lange's selections for "Arches," he also noted that his namesake center will enhance exhibit attendees' viewing experiences.
"The Hyndman Gallery is an excellent space. The main wall of the gallery is a curved wall which allows for a great deal of art to be seen and enjoyed. You get some terrific perspectives there."
"Arches" officially opens at Lubeznik Center Nov. 14 with a public reception for the exhibit at 5 p.m. Nov. 19. Additionally, area art expert Joan Chesterton will host a lecture on "Arches" at Lubeznik Center 7:30 p.m. Nov. 30.
Proceeds from the Nov. 13 preview will benefit Lubeznik Center education and outreach programs. "Arches" is scheduled to run at Lubeznik Center through Feb. 13.
Lubeznik Center for the Arts is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.