Little did Bensenville resident Theo Deming-Grant know that a freshman art class at Fenton High School would inspire a colorful career in art and design that has come full circle. Now she is passing along her knowledge to a new generation of artists as an instructor with the Bensenville Park District.
Deming-Grant’s lifelong love of art began as a young student and was cemented when she first learned to use oil paint in high school. Since then, her artistic studies at Elgin Community College, College of DuPage and Lillstreet Art Center in Chicago have prepared her for a career in graphic design, sculpture and mixed media art.
“I always knew I wanted to be an artist from the time I was very young,” says Deming-Grant. “It was a matter of discovering my medium, and in high school I found I loved painting in all mediums. However, I find acrylic to be the easiest to work with.”
Her extensive portfolio includes oils, texture and acrylic painting, in addition to photography. Her work — including custom portraits and larger-scale murals — has been sought after by private collectors and corporations and has been featured in several Chicago art galleries.
Deming-Grant says, “I am beyond excited to be able to contribute to my hometown. Throughout the years, I have discovered that the area is full of rich artistic talent, and I’m hoping to inspire it in others as well.”
She is teaching four fine arts classes as part of the park district’s winter-spring offerings: Beginning Painting, Winter Workshop, Painting & Pencils Workshop and Family Clay Play.
The Beginning Painting class develops and encourages individual expression, knowledge and use of various media and art techniques as students use acrylic paint to complete pre-drawn canvases. Students will learn the basics if working with acrylic paints, including choosing and using brushes, as they develop their individual aesthetic awareness. The program runs five weeks and costs $40, $50 for non-residents.
The three-week Winter Workshop explores a variety of winter-themed arts and crafts. Each week students will make something new and will display their creations during the last week. The cost is $35 for residents and $42 for non-residents.
The Painting & Pencils Workshop introduces students to drawing and painting techniques, including sketching with pencils, painting, blending techniques, layering and color effects. Students of any level are welcome. The program runs Saturdays, Feb. 12 to March 26, and costs $35 and $42 for residents and non-residents, respectively.
Family Clay Play uses air-dry clay to help young artists discover the wonders of working with clay, guiding them through their creative instincts or following specific designs. The program takes place Saturday, Feb. 26, and costs $35 for residents and $42 for non-residents.
“The course I’m most excited to teach is definitely Beginning Painting,” she adds. “I feel as if I have the most to offer students in this class. Students will not only be able to learn painting techniques, but they can also learn more about art and about some of my favorite artists’ work — experiences they can take with them for a lifetime.”
Those interested in registering may download the registration forms from the Bensenville Park District website, BvilleParks.org, or complete the registration in person at the Deer Grove Leisure Center, 1000 W. Wood St., from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday.