Link Art Gallery looking ahead

By Samantha Tucker
Posted 5/17/21

The Link Art Gallery is carefully moving toward reopening now that it is out of the Horace Link building’s shadow.

The Horace Link building, known locally as a former furniture store, was …

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Link Art Gallery looking ahead


The Link Art Gallery is carefully moving toward reopening now that it is out of the Horace Link building’s shadow.

The Horace Link building, known locally as a former furniture store, was scheduled for demolition after it began raining bricks on its next-door neighbor, the Link Art Gallery, last month. The bricks broke several windows, bent the fire escape and tore away the overhang on the back door.

“That’s what happened the first time all the bricks fell off,” said Link Art Gallery director Susan Stafford.

Fortunately, none of the damage is structural, and the board of directors is not financially responsible for repairs since circumstances were outside their control. However, planning the next steps has been delayed because people cannot enter the building. Stafford said board president Tom Hebermehl and Horace Link owner Pete Spung are talking things over.

“I know the president of the board has been in contact with the owner of the building,” she said.

The art center also sustained slight damage in the back of the building from the demolition crew members who were initially unaware of the building’s historical value. Parts of the Link Gallery date to 1842 when it was the home of Milton K. Alexander, an early businessman in Paris. Abraham Lincoln was a common visitor to the Alexander Home when he was in Paris as a circuit riding attorney.

Stafford explained the insurance company representing Darad, Inc., the company doing the demolition, is dealing with the damage. She added Darad’s employees have made every effort to keep the Link Gallery safe after that hiccup.

“They’ve been really good to work with,” she said.

The worst thing about closing the Link has been the disappointment of students, artists and visitors looking forward to shows. The Painting the Prairie Show and the annual student art show were both casualties.

“The biggest hurt was the student show this year,” she said, adding this was the second year in a row the show was shut down.

“It’s the same thing that happened last year with COVID. We got the student show up and then, COVID.”

Artwork from schools across Edgar County was already on display when Horace Link started collapsing, so the Gallery was still able to announce student winners and give out awards.

In 2-D art, first, second and third place winners in the junior high category were Kendra Viel of Mayo Middle School, Allison Trigalet of Mayo and Lottie Volstorf of Crestwood, respectively. Viel also won Judge’s Choice. The high school winners were: Chey Wakowski of P.A.T.H. in first place, Kaylin Williams of Shiloh High School in second and Elliott David of Paris High School in third.

For 3-D art, the junior high winners were: Miryam Smith of Crestwood, first place, Zoey Shreeves of Shiloh Junior High in second and Allison Warwick of Crestwood in third. First in the high school competition was Izzy Hoth of Shiloh High School, followed by Alice Hoult of Paris High School in second and Mollie Pollock of Shiloh High School in third. Hoth also won the Judge’s Choice award for 3-D art.

The gallery’s hiatus has not been a financial burden, thankfully, but Stafford believes keeping art away from the community is its own toll.

“Financially it’s not hurting us to be closed, but it’s the idea,” she said.

Now, with the Horace Link building down and the rubble steadily disappearing, the Link Art Gallery can look to the future. The board does not know what will happen with the open space next door, so they are focused on tentatively reopening summer classes. These will be fewer and smaller than traditional classes, but on the bright side, the gallery has a good reason to hold them outside. Stafford said hopefully the first courses will open in June.

“We’re hoping this is all cleaned up and we can use that alley back there,” she said.

The Link Art Gallery is located at 132 S. Central Ave., Paris. More information can be found at or by calling 217-466-8130.