Art in the Sanctuary

First Free has a long history of providing a stage for creative expression that encourages connection, dialog, and understanding. Our series of visual art exhibitions presents contemporary artwork with in the context of a sanctuary for meditation and worship. Continue to become creators with us.


September 2023 Buddy Plumlee, Chicago Artist Buddy received formal training at Scuola Lorenzo de Medici in Florence, Italy, where he immersed himself in Renaissance art and traditional studio practices. He […]
Cat’s paintings combine Indonesian textile patterns, processes and tools used in batik painting (an Eastern painting process using a hot wax resist and pigment dyes on textiles) with Western encaustic painting techniques (a painting process invented by the Greeks using hot beeswax and pigment fused with a heat source). Layers of pigmented wax are applied to the surface, and then “branded” using the solid brass tools. The wax melts away, revealing the colors below. The viewer is introduced to a kind of visual excavation, as top layers are burned away to reveal what came before. Cat uses these elements to vividly represent and express human emotional and spiritual states, and to explore relationships between beauty and structure.
Artist Larry Jon Davis is a native of the Mississippi River town of Clinton, Iowa. During his career Davis’ works have found their way into a broad array of private, corporate and public collections. Much of this art was influenced by travel in the UK, Continental Europe, Japan and North America. Over the decades his style has evolved from realistic towards a more expressive and abstracted manner. During the last four years he has eagerly pursued new effects through the introduction of cold wax medium into his oil painting technique.
Joan Geary is a lifelong resident of the Chicago area, growing up on the north side, and currently residing in the southwest suburbs. She first studied art as a teenager at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Later, at mid-life, she studied painting and sculpture at the College of Du Page in Glen Ellyn, and also did workshops with several internationally known artists,...
Melynda Van Zee shares her artwork at exhibitions and art fairs throughout the United States. Her works are in the collections of numerous private and corporate collectors around the country...
Poetry of a New Friend, 48x48, oil on canvas
Jeff McNutt was born in Iowa in 1967 and began his artistic pursuits in 1989 while working for The Walt Disney Company. In 1991 he moved to Los Angeles and continued his art education in animation houses across Hollywood, with street artists in LA, and also at Cal Arts in Valencia, CA. In 1993, Jeff moved back to Iowa to study graduate painting at The University of Iowa where he started to merge the ideas of animation, street art, and the beauty of nature.
Steven Carrelli was born in Canton, Ohio, in 1967. He received a BA in Studio Art from Wheaton College in 1990 and an MFA in Painting from Northwestern University in 1995. As a 1995-96 Fulbright scholar, he studied egg tempera painting in Florence, Italy. Carrelli has returned to Italy on many occasions to teach and to work.
Abstract Garden, 30x40
Known primarily as a sculptor from in the California Bay Area, Helen Dannelly began a new, groundbreaking series of paintings on paper after moving to Chicago in 2015. Expansive, vibrant, and complex, these abstract paintings are created using the unusual and immediate medium of translucent alcohol-based inks on Yupo, a synthetic watercolor paper. 
Let Down Your Net 40x40
Crystal Neubauer is a Mixed Media Artist drawn to the broken, cast out, and overlooked items of the past. She sees beauty in the mundane, brings new life to forgotten objects, and finds the process of salvaging old materials and creating new art to be therapeutic and healing. As her work evolves, a more complete understanding of her work and why she chooses to use materials that others see as trash comes to light.
Releasing the Anchor
September 2017 – November 2017 Originally from a small agricultural community in Northern California, Marissa has traveled widely and lived for several years in western Ukraine. Always drawing as a […]

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