A Tribute to James Jenkins – The Man, The Artist

With a heavy heart we share the loss of a great man and great artist, James Jenkins. James passed away unexpectedly on April 1, 2020 and has left a great void in the lives of family and friends. We send our deepest condolences and heartfelt sympathy to all of you.

James always said hello to all he saw out and about and had a smile for everyone. His creative mind was outstanding. He will be missed by many.

Below are pictures of artwork created by James and links to articles about him and his voice in the world of art.




Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you as you go through this emotional journey.

The Mileurs

Attention: Call to Artist:
To all area artist, we at Happy Mileurs, are starting on-line galleries for local artist to show and share their work during these trying times, with all First Firdays events cancelled, we are offering the opportunity for local area artists to show and share their works to the public. We wish to share the talents of our artists to help brighten these days

We will continue our featured artist of the month and our weekly blog, and we wish to feature artist work thru each week. We ask that artist contact us at kevinheather@happymileurs.com, and present photos of their work, so that we may add them to our galleries. We wish to share with all of our friends and families, and ask that each of you to do the same. Thru trying times, we must each support each other. May God bless you and keep you safe during this troubling time.

If you have any questions please contact us at kevinheather@happymileurs.com, or you can message us here on facebook

Combined Opening Reception CAC/CIAO

This year over 50 artists exhibit together in the CAC/CIAO Exhibition. Last night was the Combined Opening Reception held on the 2nd Floor at the Contemporary Art Center in the Preston Jackson Gallery! On the 3rd floor Janis Mars Wunderlich has her remarkable work on exhibit. The crowd was smaller than normal but all artists celebrated the collaboration of work on display through the month of April.

The room was filled with excitement as we walked through viewing the workd of art on display. Family, friends and artists visiting and sharing in the marvel of more than 50 artists coming together in one elaborate exhibit.

Live music performed by John Miller and Preston Jackson filled the room.

Many genres of art are on display in the gallery. Our group mingled and shared each other’s work, each artist supporting the next. A positive environment filled with energy. We were able to view current works of Preston Jackson which is always a thrill. Three of us crossed the threshold together into his space, his working studio. One stated, “This is where the magic happens, feel the energy.”

Back to the gallery we wandered in small groups through the exhibit sharing our thoughts and feelings regarding the artwork. A unique moment each time we are together. The community comes to share in the moment which adds yet another layer of excitement and conversation. We are all thankful for this gift, our work being shared with our world. Each wall is covered in works of art.

Janis Mars Wonderlich is remarkable, her work is innovative and fantastic for lack of a better word. We had the opportunity to listen to Janis speak of her work, thoughts and emotions behind each piece and to experience her elaborate exhibit!

Contemporary Art Center is open to the public and welcomes the community to share in the love of art! Come see what CAC/CIAO and Janis Mars Wunderlich have on display through the month of April.

Until next time, keep creating and working toward your dreams. Dreams really do come true. We are living ours.


The Mileurs

First Friday in March

It is hard to believe we have already experienced First Friday in March. This month was “Girls Night” for my sister, our mutual friend and myself. We decided to take a relaxed pace for the evening.

Our first stop was Atelier 5835 to experience Judith Koren-Shanahan’s artwork. Judith is a very talented artist and a sweetheart. She welcomed us in, we signed her guest book and toured her studio. Her creations are vast, each tells a story and are thought provoking. The guest artists filled the second room with beautiful and unique creations. Each artist sharing stories about her work. Exhilarating!

Our next stop was the Peoria Art Guild. Shannon welcomed us when we stepped in from the wind. The artwork drew us in, the colors, texture and liveliness of each piece. This months exhibit is “My Midwest: A Closer Look” with Steph Van Doren. Steph your work is amazing! Thank you for an awesome exhibit!

We moved on to the Contemporary Art Center and visited several artists. It was good to see everyone and share current work. A casual experience with fantastic artists and works of art. Tanya has a new series that is fantastic! Duffy showed us her finished piece we viewed while in progress last month. Kagan is hard to work on her series of women in light bulbs! Gorgeous pieces ladies!

Our last stop, which has become a tradition, was Casa de Arte. We love this place! The owners are fabulous, the food, the drinks, the art….LOVE! Hattie Lee is the March artist. She creates unique pieces that are calming and colorful. We had the opportunity to be there when she sold her first piece of the night and watched her sign. The moment, happiness on her face and the collector’s was priceless. Thank you for such a great moment!

If you haven’t had a chance to experience First Friday in Peoria, Illinois give it a try. Check out ArtsPartners online or simply Google “First Friday Peoria Illinois”. It is worth the trip! Stop by Casa de Arte and try the tacos and a margarita.

Until next time, keep creating and working towards your dreams.


The Mileurs

The Business of Art

Arts Partners and America’s SBDC Illinois hosted The Business of Art on February 8, 2020. The roster of speakers and instructors was outstanding! We entered Bradley University with a sense of excitement and eagerness to learn how to turn our passion into our career. The number of attendees was remarkable.

Each of us checked in, received our badge, a goodie bag and went through the doors to embrace where we are in our dream. tables were set up for each of us to learn a little more about SBDC, IAL, Children’s Theater, The Peoria Art Guild., The Nest, CAC and more. We networked and shared our goals and status with those surrounding us in the main room. It was comforting to see familiar faces and to meet new. Here we are sharing a moment of “oneness”. Oneness is greater than what we think we are. It is amazing to share a moment with a group of like minded individuals working toward a common goal.

This year marked the fifth year of the convention and we all look forward to attending next year. The sessions were informative and relaxed. We were able to choose from a list of sessions and attend three. Personally, I wanted to attend all the sessions.

Dick Blick sponsored our lunch which was lovely. We all networked while we shared a meal. We friended each other on social media and clicked follow. The best thing we can do for each other is support each other, share each other’s posts, and be present. A wickedly fabulous learning day for all of us.

At the end of the day the speakers drew names and awarded prizes. We began the day putting our name in a bucket basically and names were drawn at the end of the sessions. Our large group came together one last time to mingle, network and share where we are on our path. Many thanks to the organizers, contributors, supporters, instructors, speakers and attendees.

Until next time, keep creating and working toward your goals.


The Mileurs

First Friday Fun

First Friday was fabulous! We met several new artists and the conversations were titillating, thank you too all that made our night a truly wonderful evening. Our journey began at North Art Studios where we met Sherri Burnett and experienced her beautiful paintings. She shared with us her love of art and that she loves how artists share experiences and information with each other. We visited Ruth Inman and she told us the story of her sunflowers painted on her garage wall. By the way, her sunflowers are incredible! Our last stop at North Art Studios was to Pumpkin Glass a beading paradise. They offer classes, have a spectacular inventory of beads and stones and are very friendly and helpful.

We then met my sister at Studios on Sheridan and visited with the artists and Steve Rouland. The music was perfect for the evening, the wine chilled and the gallery full of art lovers. We always enjoy visiting the Studios and the artists. It is a special place for Kevin and I, where we met, fell in love and celebrated our wedding reception.

CAC was full of familiar faces and fabulous art. The first spot where I learned relief and figurative sculpture under the guidance of Preston Jackson. Nikki Freeman Griner gifted me with my first Guest Artist spot in her studio. So may fond memories in these studios and galleries. The artists were welcoming as always and we were able to visit with Richard, Tanya and Kagan for several minutes before moving to out last stop of the evening.

Our last stop has now become a First Friday tradition…Casa de Arte. The environment is sublime, the artwork spectacular like the staff, food and drinks. We enjoy meeting the artists on exhibit, viewing their work and an adult beverage with our food. Shaun V Photography was in the house with her beautiful photography. She is very sweet and talented. Never disappointed and always ready to come back again and enjoy the life of the establishment. Thank you for making your stop a tradition where we like to stay awhile to share time with friends and family.

We hope you have enjoyed our First Friday experience. Until next time, keep creating and working towards your dreams.


The Mileurs

Celebrating One Year!

We are excited to celebrate our one year anniversary as the Happy Mileurs! Our passion project has been an amazing journey and it is only beginning. Thank you from our hearts to all of our readers, artists that have shared their story and their work, all those that support us and for such a fabulous first year! Kevin and I are thankful for all of you!

This first year has been filled with fantastic art, remarkable artists, exciting events and stellar exhibits. We cannot wait to see what this new year for Happy Mileurs holds. Privileged to live in a community full of amazing art and artists. Thank you again for all of your confidence in us and your support! You are all incredible!

Until next time, keep creating and working toward your dreams.


The Mileurs

22 VA – 22 Veteran Artists

“22 VA is a group of talented Veteran Artists that want to help other Veterans express themselves through visual and creative arts. 22 VA stands for 22 Veteran Artists who have come together in an effort to help reduce the number of Veteran suicides. Veteran suicide claims the lives of 22 veterans a day. This equates to around 30 suicides per 100,000 veterans, a rate that is more than double the rate for the civilian population. ” – 22 VA on Facebook.com

Were you aware we lose 22 Veterans per day to suicide? This is not counting those killed in accidents. 22 VA brings together Veteran Artists, each work of art tells a story and helps Veterans to heal from the trauma of War. Veterans have given all to fight for our Freedom, to defend their country and to preserve our way of life. We may not know the name or the face but the Soldiers are our Soldiers, our Veterans. Our family has lost two family members and two close friends to suicide.

Our hope is to raise awareness to this noble group and support all involved. Future exhibits are underway as we speak, please come and see what 22 VA has to share. View the remarkable art each artist brings. Learn more about 22 VA and support them on their journey. We will be following 22 VA on their journey, we hope you will also.

Until next time, keep creating and working toward your dreams.


The Mileurs

Saturday Wander

The Peoria Riverfront Museum hosted the Winter Riverfront Market. It was good to be out and see the vendors and artists. A nice crowd was present to take in the fresh produce, jewelry and artwork. We appreciate all involved to make this market such a great experience. As we wandered through two levels of vendors and artists, we saw many familiar faces and felt a sense of comfort as we shopped and visited.

VA22 Exhibit at the Peoria Public Library – Main

Kevin and I entered the exhibit and found ourselves lost in the artwork. The experience brought tears to our eyes and moved us emotionally and mentally. We had the pleasure of meeting Randolph Prunty, he shared stories behind pieces in the exhibit, including his own artwork. He added depth and a deeper meaning to the works. His wife was a joy to meet and learn from as well. It was good to meet them both and learn more about the artists, the organization and the work. Definitely an exhibit worth experiencing and learning about the artists and the created artwork. Watch your events page for more exhibits in the future.

Saturday was a great experience and we look forward to more VA22 Exhibits and continuing to learn more about the organization. Thank you to all artists, organizers and families for sharing your work with the community.

Winter Riverfront Market was fun and makes us even more ready for the warmer months and the Market to be outside in the fresh air.

Until next time, keep creating and making your dreams come true.


The Mileurs