Niles artist Clare Hoinville featured at Frame of Mind in downtown Dowagiac.

Archived Story

Hoinville open house Saturday

Published 9:39pm Wednesday, March 21, 2012

When Clare Hoinville’s 30-plus-year career as a high school art teacher was drawing to a close, she feared she would lose her artistic ambition.

Turns out the Niles resident had nothing to worry about.

Fueled by a prolific five-week fellowship at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., in the late 1990s, Hoinville entered retirement committed to painting.

Upon retirement, she suddenly had time to commit to developing as an artist, studying at Notre Dame and the Art Barn in Valparaiso. She spent her days capturing the scenery of South Bend and other towns in Indiana, before shifting her focus to her home in Niles.

What followed was a series of paintings featuring landmarks and nature scenes throughout Niles, which is now hanging at the Riverfront Café in downtown Niles through the end of May.

Hoinville, who also paints portraits and still lifes, has more of her work also on display at Frame of Mind in Dowagiac.

An open house will take place 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday at Frame of Mind, 145 S. Front St., Dowagiac.

“I paint whatever takes my fancy,” Hoinville said.  “If something looks interesting, I capture it.”

Among the settings of her works on display at Riverfront are Island Park, Trinity Episcopal Church, Lakeland Hospital, the Ring Lardner House and the Broadway and Main Street Bridges.

More than a dozen works are on display but it’s just a sampling of Hoinville’s Niles collection, though.

“One winter I painted all my neighbors’ houses from the different windows of my house,” she said. “It was so cold and miserable. I was going stir crazy so I painted the houses.”

Hoinville, who has a degree in art education from Western Michigan University, has won several awards and been featured in galleries at the Art Barn and the Midwest Museum of Art in Elkhart.

A member of the Niles Art Association, Hoinville believes a strong art community is important for any city.

“It’s nice for local residents to look around and see an artist has found beauty in their backyard,” she said. “I think it helps people appreciate and value their surroundings.”

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