Abandoned bank gets major makeover for over 70 artists


Tronnie Goss

At 6 p.m. on Saturday the Vault Arts Collective will host third live music performance highlighting local and independent bands.

Kalyn Hayslett, Verge Editor

A vacant bank in downtown Tuscola Ill. now serves as The Vault Arts Collective, home for 78 independent artists with a variety of art exhibits to showcase their work.

The space, located at 100 N. Main St., Tuscola Ill., approximately 20 minutes away from Charleston, is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The VAC started with two artists in an abandoned factory and an art show that sparked the interest of over 100 people, which validated John McDevitt’s idea to open the space for other artists.

“That night we decided to host a second show in 2009 we invited other artists, and six to eight artists were added to our collective and it grew organically,”  McDevitt said.

Once an artist shows interest in joining the collective, an application process is started, and the artist determines if they want to rent wall space or a room to display their creations and if they are interested in selling their artwork.

“Bottom line for the Vault Arts Collective is creating a space where young, emerging artists find a home to display and sell their work” McDevitt said.

Artists are not stipulated by the VAC to produce a specific style, type and genre of artwork. The VAC prides itself on being a place where viewers can experience a diverse collection of work.

“When you have 78 artists all doing separate things, that’s what makes it so unique,” said McDevitt. “When you walk in the door it’s a nice mix of artwork, it’s so different to explain it, but it’s not a typical art gallery.”

The core and slogan of the VAC is “In art we trust,” and have hosted several events catering to their artists. However, a shift from art to music has become the collective’s focus this year.

The Arts Music Project series, started on Aug. 11 with volume one, highlights local bands and musical talents. VAC transforms into a concert hall hosting independent and upcoming performers.

With volume two under their belts, at 6 p.m. Saturday, AMP awaits volume three, when Charleston’s ex-Cruddites, recently re-established as the Good Dinosaurs band, along with Minnesota’s Abominable Showman, perform their “instrumental surf music.”

“Our goal is to bring in as much independent and original music because we prefer more interesting than main stream bands,” McDevitt said.

In the midst of the AMP live music performances, the second floor’s Soundbank record store had its grand opening.

Member of Ex-bombers, Scott Wallace, teamed up with Cavetone Records and the VAC to provide a vinyl-only store of independent and local musicians.

“You don’t expect a vinyl store in an art gallery, but it’s a great fit,” McDevitt said.

McDevitt’s open space on the second floor combined with Wallace’s fascination with vinyl and ambition formed a collaboration with 25 percent of the proceeds goes into funding live music performances in the VAC and the rest into the Cavetone records.

VAC has established an Indiegogo campaign in an effort to raise $7,500 to create a permanent stage and lighting so they can host more live performance.

VAC offers a variety of thank you gifts determined by the amount of a benefactor’s donation.

“The first level is to incorporate the donor’s name on our stage and website. Second level, the donor’s name will be included in our posters. Third-level donors are given a T-shirt and fourth-level donors are given handmade artwork, jewelry from the artists in the collective,” McDevitt said.

This fundraising effort will ensure that no one who comes to enjoy live music will have to pay any cover charges.

Kalyn Hayslett can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].