Rescuer of Once Loved Things: The Art of Donna Castellanos

March 17 - May 6, 2018

Local artist and educator Donna Castellanos collects and transforms everyday objects--which she calls “once loved things”--into a bold hands-on exhibit. Castellanos imagined each separate museum space as if it was a room in a house such as a study, playroom, dressing room, or workshop. Each thematic gallery then has an autobiographical element, whether through materials important to her or narratives that evoke her past. Throughout the exhibition, visitors encounter worn and well-loved items that share a commonality, from repurposed encyclopedias to antique musical instruments. Both nostalgia and inclusion are strong motifs as guests are invited to add their own contributions to her personalized installations.

Many of the exhibition materials were sourced from estate sales and thrift stores. Reusing these castoff items, Castellanos incorporates them into a variety of mixed media from painting, sculpture, installation, wearable jewelry, and clothing. She then invites gallery visitors to reconsider items that can be easily discarded, especially when viewers are encouraged to become active participants by playing, creating, and performing. Castellanos gives these “once loved things” a second life by inventing a new outlet for a visitor’s engagement and an exploration of their own creativity.

Donna Castellanos has been in the Elmhurst community since she was born, and now gives back to the community as an artist, curator, and educator. As the Elmhurst Art Museum’s Education Program Coordinator, she teaches a variety of classes and designs interactive interpretive displays for each of the major exhibitions. Since 2013 she has been the art director and curator for Flight 112, a local bar, restaurant and gallery in Elmhurst. Castellanos received a degree in graphic design from the American Academy of Art in Chicago.


Press highlights:
Chicago Tribune “Old things find new purpose in Elmhurst Art Museum exhibit” by Myrna Petlicki

Related Programs

Saturday, March 24, 2018 - 1:00pm

Family Day: Scavenger Hunt

We invite you and your family to take a closer look at the exhibition with a scavenger hunt. Search the exhibition galleries to find hidden images as well as cleverly reused and transformed found objects. When your search is completed, you are invited to dig through a treasure chest to find salvaged materials for your very own assemblage art piece.

Free with museum admission or current membership

Saturday, April 7, 2018 - 1:30pm

Artist-led Tour and Activity

Join artist and educator Donna Castellanos on a tour of her exhibition, highlighting common items that she has repurposed. She will then lead a hands-on art making activity with items acquired from SCARCE, an award-winning environmentally conscious nonprofit.

Free with museum admission or current membership

Tuesday, April 10, 2018 - 6:30pm

EAM/EPL Book Discussion | "The Keeper of Lost Things" by Ruth Hogan

A charming, clever, and quietly moving debut novel of endless possibilities and joyful discoveries that explores the promises we make and break, losing and finding ourselves, the objects that hold magic and meaning for our lives, and the surprising connections that bind us.

Free and open to the public. Please register in advance by calling (630) 834-0202.

Friday, April 13, 2018 - 7:00pm

Have No Fear: Jewelry Fashion Show

Join us for a runway fashion show featuring the handmade wearable art by exhibiting artist Donna Castellanos. She has created a line of wearable artwork available for purchase exclusively at the Elmhurst Art Museum and Victoria's on Main.

Tickets $10 per person. Food and beverages will be provided. Registration online or at the door.

Saturday, April 21, 2018 - 1:30pm

Artist-led Tour and Activity

Join artist and educator Donna Castellanos on an in-depth tour of her exhibition. She will then lead a session in which participants are invited to use found materials to make their own artwork.

Free with museum admission or current membership