You voted for your favorite candidate here by making a donation to NCI ARTworks. These donations support our programs throughout the year. The new queen of the arts, Julie Jenkins, was crowned by the magnificent Mad Hatter at the Annual Mad Hatter Ball on November 17th at the Westclox Event Center!
Julie Jenkins was born and raised in rural Ottawa, Illinois. She studied art through high school, and then went on to IVCC for her A.A. in Art. Julie continued her education at SIU in
Carbondale, where she received a B.S. in Art Education. In December 2021, she completed her M.A. in Art Education from Eastern Illinois University. Currently, she resides in Peru, Illinois with her husband. She is teaching high school art at LaSalle-Peru Township High School in LaSalle, Illinois. She earned the Illinois Alliance for Arts Education Fine Arts Educator Award for 2013.
Julie is the co-founder NCI ARTworks. She is member of the Illinois Art Education Association and National Art Education Association. Her work has been exhibited at the former Collins and Co. Studio and Gallery, the Prairie Arts Center in Princeton, Illinois, Music Suite 408 Paintbox Gallery in Peru, Illinois and several local restaurant galleries. Julie was also a featured artist in the Spring/Summer 2008 issue of Spirit magazine.
Julie’s body of work is comprised of an ongoing study of nature, music, and urban areas. Her primary media is painting with an additional focus in photography. She bases her paintings
primarily off of her photographs taken on various travel experiences. Julie advocates for the arts and encourages her students to express themselves through art.
This year's Mad Hatter was none other than Don Grant Zellmer! For over forty years Don has been a professional entertainer, whose credits include performing all over the country in showrooms, casinos, theatres, and film. Don has appeared on stage with Hollywood legends such as Debbie Reynolds and Mickey Rooney as an opening act, as well as for numerous popular recording artists like Barbara Mandrell, Tony Orlando, The Diamonds, and even comedienne Phyllis Diller. For nearly 20 years, he owned and operated Zellmer’s Dinner Theatre in the Peoria, IL area, and before returning to the Illinois Valley area, Don spent two seasons headlining two shows in Branson, MO. He operated the Follies Theatre in Utica until 2011 (now a production company) and for the past 15 years has been the Director & Choreographer of Musical Theatre at IVCC.
Each of the Queen candidates below is committed to the community and to fostering the arts in all of its forms throughout the Illinois Valley. NCI ARTworks thanks them all for there commitment to fostering the arts in the Illinois Valley.
Photo highlights from the 2023 Mad Hatter Ball