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.
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