Carol Trzcinski (left), of Palos Park, is the new Executive Director of McCord Gallery & Cultural Center, taking over for former director, Linda Buchanan. (Supplied photos)

Carol Trzcinski (left), of Palos Park, is the new Executive Director of McCord Gallery & Cultural Center, taking over for former director, Linda Buchanan. (Supplied photos)

McCord Gallery welcomes new executive director

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McCord Gallery & Cultural Center, 9602 W. Creek Road, Palos Park, held a retirement party for its former Executive Director, Linda Buchanan on January 19.

By Kelly White

With a passion for the arts and a sparking personality, Linda Buchanan found her second home at McCord Gallery & Cultural Center.

Buchanan, of Palos Park, served on the Board of Directors at the gallery, 9602 W. Creek Road, Palos Park, before becoming the Executive Director of the gallery in 2021. She held the position proudly until she retired in January.

“What’s great is that every day at McCord is different,” Buchanan said. “It involves interaction with our students and instructors, working with the Board of Directors, and managing a not-for-profit business that requires new and innovative ways to acquire funds that keep McCord going. Scheduling the gallery exhibits was a collaborative effort, and so rewarding.”

McCord Gallery & Cultural Center’s mission includes increasing community awareness and involvement, and continuing to offer new and exciting artistic opportunities to the Chicagoland’s southwest community.

It was formed through the interests and dedication of the local community. A passionate group of volunteers assembled by the Village of Palos Park determined the fate of the McCord House, to be an arts center. Incorporated with 501(c)3 status in February 2003, the group took time to develop a fundraising campaign before opening in September of 2004.

Since then, McCord has remained volunteer run and operates with the Board of Directors and several smaller committees of volunteers for operations and programming. Buchanan always worked closely with all committees and oversees day-to-day operations during her time in office.

“The people I worked with were amazing,” Buchanan said. “And, community involvement in my role has always been so important to me, since we are such a vital part of Palos Park and the area at large.”

Buchanan, who obtained a Bachelor of Fine Art Degree from Cardinal Stritch University in Wisconsin, took over as Executive Director from Rene Leyva in May of 2021. During her two and a half years as Executive Director, she managed to paint, update the hanging system and replace the lighting in the McCord House to align with the Anderson Annex Gallery within.

She also created a successful art sale and wine tasting fundraiser, collaborated with the Palos Park Women’s Club in hosting fundraising events and instituted “Women in Art” featuring the works of women artists during Women’s History Month.

“What I will miss most about McCord is the day-to-day interaction I would have with students and those coming through our gallery for events,” Buchanan said. “We are truly a gem in this area, and my mission is still to promote McCord and all it offers. Where else can you come to see such beautiful gallery exhibits of artwork for free in such a wonderful setting?”.

During retirement, Buchanan would like to get back into creating her own artwork.

“My preferred medium was always pencil drawing, but who knows, I might even take a class at McCord,” she said.

Buchanan also plans to travel and garden, along with volunteering and helping out at McCord whenever she can.

Taking over her role of Executive Director at the gallery is Carol Trzcinski, of Palos Park.

“When I moved to Palos Park with my husband in 2002 it was the beginning of McCord,” Trzcinski said. “Since I was working full-time, I started volunteering at their fundraisers and as a docent for events.  Later I joined the Board and was Board President for nine years and have also co-chaired the Annual Fundraising Gala several times at McCord.”

Trzcinski, who attended Mundelein College (now Loyola University) and studied Retail and Business management, worked for Sears and Kmart as a Sourcing Manager and Buyer and for Pier 1 Imports as a store manager. Her corporate and retail experience serve as a key asset to the Executive Director’s position, the Board of Directors said.

“Having been a part of McCord on so many levels things just evolved in my taking this position,” Trzcinski said. “It was a natural transition. Having a Business Management background helps as McCord is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that survives on Sponsors, donors and grants.”

Her most important accomplishment, thus far, was being a part of the group of volunteers that raised funding for the building addition at McCord.

However, Trzcinski agreed with Buchanan and said her favorite part about working at the gallery is meeting and learning from so many interesting people.

“From the students to the art and music instructors to the artists that exhibit in our gallery there’s such a wealth of talent in our community,” Trzcinski said. “We have incredibly talented and loyal board members that work hard to keep the non-profit going. Plus, it is one of the happiest and positive organizations I have ever been part of. You will always leave McCord in a better mood than when you arrived.”

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