Praire Center of the Arts
Connecting the artist to an environment!
The historic Peoria Cordage Company building is a grand old brick building - 120 years old and 140,000 square feet, near the Illinois River. The building served as a rope factory until the 1970s. Tri-City Machine Products, a full service machine shop, is housed in the facility, and through its collaboration with Tri-City, Prairie Center has studio space, equipment/technologies/tools, and gallery space in the building.
Studios are on street level and range in size from 40 X 70 to 20 X 30 and are open and flexible spaces. There is also a B&W photography studio with sinks, tables, and a ventilation system, enlarger and timer. This area has a full kitchen with lounge area and bathroom. One floor above the studios is a 15,000 square foot installation space which is not heated or air conditioned. The building has no elevators. Studio spaces are also dedicated to local area artists through a jury process. See our application page for more details.
Our residents have access to equipment, technologies and tools to facilitate the creative process. We have no technical assistance for use of the equipment. An artist using the presses, large format printers and the Imacon scanner must provide proof of experience in using the machines. Many artists prefer to bring their own laptop with the software they require.
Digital Lab: Apple Mac Workstation with Adobe Software including Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, Bridge, Dreamweaver, and Lightroom; Imacon 949 film Scanner, Epson Stylus Pro 4800 & 9800 large format printers. The 9800 can handle 44" paper.
Print Shop: In 2008 we began the acquisition of presses and assorted equipment to be able to cater to printmakers. To date we have acquired the following at auctions or direct purchase and have “refurbished” them: Dameco Etching press (36 x 60) has a steel bed and was purchased from Centre College in Danville, KY Vandercook letter press (15-21) from Schneck & Barnes printer going out of business in Springfield, IL Vandercook letter press (15-20) from Columbia College in Chicago Assorted metal type in wood cabinets Light table 36 x 36 Various paper cutters Basic digital plate making equipment Other small presses: Blick Master Etch Model II Trident G-600 (22 x 35). Blick Model 999 Etching press (17 x 35); Rollers have been adjusted and the original beds have been replaced to make them stronger; Blick Econo Etch Model II press with steel bed (9 ½ x 18); Acquired, but not in service at this time: 2 Heidelburg windmills, a third Vandercook letter press, and a Washington hand press.
The Gallery: The gallery offers 6,000 square feet of space which is used for exhibitions, installations, and gatherings. Organizations can also have access to the gallery for community events.
Praire Center of the Arts