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McConnaughay spotlights every day hero, Lynn Caldwell of Fine Line Creative Arts Center

This week, Senator McConnaughay spotlights every day hero, Lynn Caldwell, Executive Director of Fine Line Creative Arts Center in St. Charles.

As Executive Director, Caldwell oversees the staff, 40 plus faculty members, field operations and works with the Board of Directors. Additionally, she helps organize team-building activities, field trips, adult art education and facilitates students’ art experiences. While it’s a large responsibility to manage the arts center and its two art galleries, Caldwell says the volunteers and art community are instrumental in the center’s success.

“Fine Line has an incredible volunteer base, and that’s because we have such a great community of people here in Fox Valley,” said Caldwell. “There’s an excitement for art; everyone shows up wanting to be here and create something. I think that when you make that kind of special connection with a place, you want to help it succeed.”

The St. Charles artist first encountered Fine Line’s founder, Sister Denise Kavanagh, when she was beginning her bachelor’s degree at Northern Illinois University and Kavanagh was finishing her MFA in 1979. Caldwell, who studied textiles and clothing, began going to Fine Line for materials, and later submitted her own work to one of the center’s special events.

The transition from participating to volunteering can be seen frequently at the center. She started by showing her work at the center’s “Wearables” fashion show, and shortly after, signed on to volunteer for the event’s boutique organization committee. Caldwell received a call in 2002, the year Kavanagh mournfully passed, to take over the course on Kumihimo, an art of Japanese braiding.

After instructing and volunteering, Caldwell then took the initiative to organize a party for Fine Line’s 25th anniversary to honor the late Kavanagh’s legacy. While interim directors filled Kavanagh’s shoes over the next few years, the role of executive director opened up again in 2006. Passionate about the center’s success and future, Caldwell submitted her name for consideration and landed the leadership role.

“Art education and incorporation is so important to our community,” said Senator McConnaughay. “Lynn has done incredible work promoting art in Kane County—whether it’s creating it or appreciating the work of others. She is not only passionate about art, but she wants to help everyone discover their own love of art and try something new, while meeting amazing people.”

Originally opened as an art gallery for Sister Kavanagh and the Sisters of St. Francis to display their work in Geneva in 1979, visitors began asking for weaving lessons from Kavanagh, later establishing the gallery as an arts center. Fine Line continued to grow in popularity and size and moved to its current space in St. Charles in 1986. The center now teaches as many as 1,300 students a year, with well over 200 class offerings. It is also home to two nationally-recognized art galleries, Kavanagh and Dempsey Gallery and proudly displays the artwork of the treasured founder Kavanagh.

Senator McConnaughay is proud to recognize Caldwell’s leadership and gift for promoting art in Kane County. For more information on her work at Fine Line Creative Arts Center, visit

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