Channy Lyons researches and writes books and arranges exhibits and programs on art, nature, community and personal history. The founder and director of the Illinois Women Artists Project, she is guest curator of Lakeview Museum’s Illinois Women Artists exhibition and co-organizer of the symposium at Bradley University entitled Uncovering the Stories of Midwestern Women Artists, 1840 to 1940. She also writes and records features about local art for “Hidden Treasures” on WCBU.

  1. My life won’t be complete until I…The list of projects I still want to tackle is long. I hope it always will be.
  2. What would you say to your 20-year-old self? At some point in life, you’ll have a chance to do something(s) you love to do. Watch for it. Work hard. Keep learning. Be ready for it. Remember what Goethe said: “At the moment of commitment, the universe conspires to assist you.” 
  3. What is your favorite childhood memory? I had a wonderful childhood with lots of adventures and plenty of laughter. I remember spreading out art materials on our terrace when my artist grandmother would visit to make puppets and collages of woodland materials, and to sketch. 
  4. What’s some of the best advice you’ve been given? My parents always told me I could accomplish anything I wanted to in life.
  5. If you were able to retrieve only one item on the way out of your burning house, what would it be? That’s assuming my husband and four-legged kids were safe, right? And that my husband had grabbed his wallet. Then I’d grab a box of family letters and artwork. As I ran to get the box, I’d grab all the family-made artwork I could carry. 
  6. What or who inspires you? My husband, my friends. A good idea. Beautifully made creative works. 
  7. What book do you think everyone should read? Find a writer whose voice you like and read everything she or he wrote. Look for her short stories and essays, too.
  8. Who are your heroes? My husband. My parents. The early women artists I’ve been learning about, who flexed their creative muscles despite their situations. 
  9. What are you most proud of? Right now, I’m really grateful for the chance to be working on the Illinois Women Artists Project, especially to be guest curator for the exhibition at Lakeview Museum this fall and to be organizing the symposium at Bradley University with professors Stacey Robertson and Sarah Glover. 
  10. What is something that always brings a smile to your face? My husband and our four-legged kids. The beautiful river view, the bluffs, the woodland animals that cross our yard. My grandmother’s European sketches.