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Benevolence, family inspire Bolingbrook artist Regina McClay

BOLINGBROOK – Artist Regina McClay tries to share her work and insights with as many people as she can.

From hosting seminars at local schools to participating in the annual Art in the Park and being an active member of the Bolingbrook Art Council, her art is her life’s passion.

But despite the exposure, nobody has ever purchased McClay’s work, and she isn’t planning to sell her art anytime soon.

“I give all my stuff away – to friends, family and organizations,” McClay said. “This is my passion. I do it to teach children and to make others think, reflect and feel joy.”

A New Orleans native, McClay moved to Illinois with her family when she was 6 years old. With extended family nearby, the McClays settled in Bolingbrook.

She went on to earn an associate's degree in interior design from Joliet Junior College and a bachelor’s degree in creative arts from College of St. Francis. McClay also took finance classes at Roosevelt University and is a certified and licensed child care provider.

Art is what McClay loves and is a hobby that was passed from her father down to her.

“My dad was one of the most creative people I have ever known,” McClay said. “He was always sketching and doing freehand art.”

Most of her work is done in markers and acrylic media, but she also dabbles in watercolors.

“Felt tips, Sharpies and permanent markers are the best,” McClay said. “I like the control they provide. Even though most of my work is abstract, I have to feel in control.”

McClay’s work is a prominent feature within the Bolingbrook Arts Council, which commissioned her to help create the tunnel mural near the Bolingbrook Town Center and often selects her pieces for the annual Art in the Park event.

The week of May 13, the arts council and nonprofit organization March of Dimes approached McClay about a new piece.

To commemorate the one-year anniversary of Dundee’s Santa’s Village Azoosment Park, a carousel was refurbished and repainted by artist Dutch Akers. The park then initiated the Carousel for a Cause program, in which replica horses were donated to local nonprofits, which commission artists to paint the statue.

The art will be collected by the Santa’s Village Azoosment Park, displayed until its season closes, then donated to communities.

March of Dimes and Bolingbrook Arts Council selected an “honored and humbled” McClay to paint their carousel horse.

“I was so excited to be chosen to complete on this piece,” McClay said. “I love the challenge it presents. It’s so different from what I have done in the past.”

McClay says she will incorporate thematic carousel elements while adding her own flare.

“All my work is an expression of my life and beliefs,” McClay said. “So, I will create a horse that expresses me and my family, my values and the Bolingbrook community.”

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