Park Junior High Art Gallery Featured on WTTW's 'Chicago Tonight'

The recently renovated and highly unique Nettie J. McKinnon gallery is called "a treasure of American fine art" in the five-minute segment.

The program “Chicago Tonight” on PBS channel WTTW has produced and aired a five-minute segment on the recently renovated Nettie J. McKinnon art gallery at Park Junior High School in La Grange Park, calling it “A Treasure of American Fine Art.” 

The segment (which can be watched in full here) tells the story of how former area principal McKinnon began collecting art during the Great Depression in what eventually expanded into a full gallery with some notable artists and rare treasures. 

As related in the piece, the gallery includes work by famous artists like John Henry Twachtman and John Singer Sargent. Every piece in the gallery is worth over $10,000, the segment said (the gallery is well-secured), with ones of less cost spilling into the hallway walls. 

“McKinnon was very forward-thinking, and she decided that her students should be exposed to art,” said Joyce Fitch of the SaltCreek American Art Foundation, which curates the unique gallery, in the piece. “We’ve taken on Nettie’s philosophy as our philosophy, which is that when a child is exposed to art, they grow in reverence and grace.”

According to the segment, students of all ages make regular use of the gallery, such as inspiration for poetry or for foreign-language writings. It is also available for tour by appointment with the SAAF.

In 2010, Patch contributor Laurie Whitman wrote about the history of the gallery  in detail as well.

Watch the full segment at the WTTW website.

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Erik Bloecks February 27, 2013 at 03:32 AM
Nettie Mckinnon was Prinipal at Oak Ave and Ogden Ave Schools not Park Jr High. Back in her day Park was still Nazareth Academy. I remember seeing the artwork when it was displayed at Ogden.
Darren McRoy February 27, 2013 at 04:16 AM
Ah, Erik, thanks for the fix. I'll edit that. The segment also got wrong the name of the SaltCreek American Art Foundation.
Deb February 27, 2013 at 04:07 PM
My daughter (who's a Junior @ LT this year.) was a docent for the Nettie J. McKinnon Gallery when she attended Park Junior High. She studied and learned about each piece of art work in the gallery and then was able to take guests on tours through the gallery. Guests who toured the gallery included students from district 102 as well as people from all over the area who had an interest in art. This gallery is a true gem. My daughter will still tell us about certain pieces of work from the gallery in great detail. She really enjoyed being a docent for the gallery. I'm glad to see that the gallery is still going strong.


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