Amber’s Art Place brings owner Amber Larsen’s vision full circle to operate an all-ages space in Crystal Lake where fine arts flourish. “Art is an integral part of our daily lives – it is all around us and offers real meaning to life,” she explained.
Opened in October 2014 in the historic Dole Mansion, Amber’s Art Place is a natural next step in Larsen’s journey as an artist and educator.
She spent 20 years teaching art in District 47, then in 2008, founded Creative Artistry Fine Art School, located in a cottage behind the Dole. For six years, she built enrollment, classes, staff and scholarships. But growth meant less time for instruction. She longed to return to her roots and focus on fine arts education. The timing was perfect to open her own studio.
Amber’s Art Place is a reflection of Amber Larsen’s years as an educator and passion for fine arts.
Fine Art and Fun
Amber’s Art Place, located on the third floor of the Dole, is a reflection of Larsen’s years as an educator and passion for fine arts. It offers classes for every age, every skill level and every budget. Classes include Young Art (4-8), Youth Art (8-17) and Adult Art.
Larsen also hosts special events like Adult Paint & Pour parties, art parties for children, Christmas Elf Workshop, workshops during holiday breaks, as well as summer art camps.
In conjunction with the Donna Vestal Foundation, Amber’s Art Place offers 12 full-year scholarships for children ages 5-17 based on artistic merit and financial need. “Our goal is to offer fine art instruction for all children,” she said.
Amber's Art Place offers classes for every age, skill level and budget.
Beyond the Studio
Larsen said it’s important to engage children at an early age because art is essential in human development. “Art teaches creative and critical thinking skills, fine motor skills, problem solving and freedom of expression, and builds self-esteem,” she said.
And because she believes art also resides outside of her studio’s four walls, she offers students plein air (outdoor) art experiences, art field trips and visits to other artist studios. “McHenry County is so inspiring – I see art everywhere here,” she said.
Amber's Art Place occupies studios 301-303 at Lakeside Legacy Arts Park (third floor, far right).
Larsen, a Wilmington, Ohio, native, has found a good fit in Crystal Lake, where she, her husband and two children have lived since 1992. “The community has been very supportive of the arts – they really believe in it,” she said. “Seeing people rally to save the Dole [in 2002] made me want to get involved.”
She looks forward to partnering with fellow artist of all disciplines in the Dole/Lakeside Legacy building.
LEARN MORE ABOUT AMBER'S ART PLACE
Dole Mansion, 401 Country Club Road, 3rd Floor, Crystal Lake
More Photos: MCL Photo Gallery