ParkTalk Podcast
ParkTalk Blog
  • 630-848-5000
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates and Participation Guidelines. More information regarding the District’s response can be found here

Drop-In Painting Group Grows Artists and Camaraderie

Stop in at the Alfred Rubin Riverwalk Community Center on a Tuesday morning for a quick tour around the building and you will see a small group of artists quietly working on their paintings and drawings. The sunny room on the second floor provides the perfect space for spreading out their supplies and media—and for conversation and laughter as they create. When I visited recently the room was full of their beautiful artwork, which they had brought in to show the variety of media and techniques that reflect their different styles.  
Babs and Lois work on their art

Art to be exhibited at Morton Arboretum Nov. 2-4, 2018
One of the paintings, “Impressions of Zion 1: The Virgin River,” by Joe Rizzo will be exhibited at the Morton Arboretum’s Administration Building in the Cudahy Room from 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. on Nov. 3 and 4 as part of The Nature Artists’ Guild’s 2018 Holiday (Autumn) Exhibit of Natural History Art. Admission to the exhibit is free with general (paid) admission to the Morton Arboretum. Additionally, the Nature Artists’ Guild is hosting an artists’ reception on Friday evening, Nov. 2 from 4:30-8:30 p.m. that is for the artists' friends and family and members of the Morton Arboretum. 
Impressions of Zion 1: The Virgin River, copyright Joe Rizzo

Joe explained some of the steps in the process of creating Impressions of Zion, a triptych and form of modified pointillism using individual brush strokes in tiles.  In this photo he holds a stretched version of the photo from the river in Zion National Park in Utah, a place he has visited often. 

Other artists in the group also have exhibited their work in local juried shows and all had beautiful works that they were proud of. 

About the group
The Naperville Park District Drop-In Painting Group, as it is officially named in the quarterly Program Guide, meets every Tuesday morning from 9:00-11:30 a.m. in Room 205 at the Alfred Rubin Riverwalk Community Center located at 305 W. Jackson Ave. Most participants are 50 or over, but occasionally a young person will join the group during the summer. 

Beginners and anyone interested in pursuing their art in a friendly setting are welcome to join the group. One of the members, Rita, started attending in 2015 after she retired. “I was looking for something to do. I also took classes at Hobby Lobby and other places, and it really helped to have instruction,” said Rita. Most of the others have taken classes outside the group, but also learn from each other. 
Rita applying paint in a pour-over technique

“People get ideas from each other,” said Babs, who has been attending the group for more than 20 years. “Someone will come back from a class and show us what they learned and you think, ‘Oh, I’d love to try that.’ Once we sprayed paint in layers, and it was messy but a lot of fun.”

Why the group began and why it continues 
The camaraderie is a huge part of why the participants enjoy the group so much. Joe, who joined the group two years ago, said that he relies on the group “for all of my current events, as I don’t watch or read the news.” 
From left: Rita, Lois, Babs, Joe and Renée

“It’s a community,” added Rita. “And a support group, where you can laugh and have a shoulder to cry on,” said Renée, who has been attending for more than 20 years.
Renée working on a watercolor

“We all help each other,” explained Babs. “We encourage beginners to try painting because any teeny bit of talent that they have will come out.”

The Drop-In Painting Group started more than 25 years ago after a painting class ended. “There were 15 of us who wanted to continue to get together,” said Babs. The Park District has hosted the group ever since. 

Lois, who has been involved since the original painting class, works mostly with watercolor and colored pencil. She remembers one of the instructors who worked with the group saying, “I just love you people. You are all so different, but such good friends!"  
Lois is working on a pencil drawing from a photo of her with her best friend from childhood

New participants invited!
New participants are welcome to join the Drop-In Painting Group any time. Bring your supplies and your work in progress. There is plenty of space at the table and a room full of friendly artists ready to share what they know and encourage you to develop your unique style.  

Painting and Drawing Classes
For those looking for some instruction in painting or drawing, the Naperville Park District offers classes in partnership with College of DuPage and the Naperville Art League. For example, instructor Pam Keller teaches a Watercolor class on Tuesdays at 12:30 and One-Stroke Painting for Beginners takes place at Naperville Fine Art Center. Check the Program Guide for more art programs.

Gallery of Art from the Drop-In Painting Group

Flowers by Babs; Squirrel by Lois

Colorful Ramirezi & Friends, watercolor, copyright Joe Rizzo

Watercolor by Lois

Pencil drawing and watercolor by Babs

Swamp Ballet, painting by Rita

Watercolor (in background) by Babs

The Fisherman, watercolor by Renee


Watercolor by Babs

Retreating Glacier, ink and watercolor, copyright Joe Rizzo

Connect your business’s brand with a well-known and respected one like
the Naperville
Park District’s and reach a large, active and diverse audience.

To learn more about our sponsorship opportunities
contact Stacey Fontechia Sales and Sponsorship Manager at 630-848-3575 or at
Please consider making a donation of any amount to our Fee Assistance Program.
Your contribution will help Naperville residents in need enjoy the benefits of recreation programs.