Kent Broadbent's "Hot Off the Press" in “Broadbent & Smelser" at the Quad City Arts Center -- through January 26.

Through Friday, January 26

Quad City Arts Center, 1715 Second Avenue, Rock Island IL

A gorgeous and colorful collection of abstract media by a pair of Midwestern artists will be on display at the Quad City Arts Center through January 26, with the Rock Island venue, in Broadbent & Smelser, showcasing numerous evocative works by featured artists Kent Broadbent and Sarah Smelser.

A longtime resident of the Annawan, Illinois area, Kent Broadbent is an artist who initiates his creative journey with a single line, be it a No. 2 pencil or charcoal. Unpredictability is key as he allows each line to guide the process, adding and removing layers to unveil their hidden history. He also employs various instruments and materials such as sand and pigment to enhance texture. Broadbent's art transforms a simple line into bold, vibrant abstract pieces, aiming to provide viewers with a joyous experience, and encouraging them to lose themselves in his work.

As stated at the artist's Web site, "His preferred style is directed towards abstract expressionist lines, although he occasionally dabbles in abstract landscapes from walking in the country around his farm. During the last five years, he has been working exclusively in cold wax and oil, and loves the unique depth and richness that medium provides. He has won numerous awards for his impressive work, and his paintings are on permanent display in various regional locales. His first solo exhibit was in 2015, and he Mr. Broadbent has been selling work to private collectors, since that time. He continues to be very active in the art arena, and does solo and duel exhibitions, along with juried shows."

Sarah Smelser's Defying the Laws VII

Amidst the upheaval of the pandemic, Sarah Smelser defied norms, using her art to convey the disordered reality of the time. This process offered her solace and the freedom to bend traditional rules within her creations. Revisiting this work since 2020, Smelser has delved into experimental image-making, integrating drawing elements into her printmaking approach. Her pieces offer a unique perspective on place, employing repetition, balance, and emphatic gestures, while embracing an intriguing interplay between certainty and uncertainty.

The artist's Web site states, "Sarah Smelser received her BA from the University of California at Santa Cruz, and her MA and MFA from the University of Iowa. She has been an artist in residence at Vermont Studio Center; Franz Masereel Center, Artica Bilbao, Kala Art Institute, Jentel Artist Residency, Skopelos Foundation for the Arts, Anchor Graphics, Ballinglen Arts Foundation, Remarque Print Workshop, Tamarind Institute, and the Contemporary Print Media Research Center at the University of California at Santa Cruz. Her work is in collections such as Readers' Digest Association, New York Public Library, Library of Congress, Hallmark Corporate Collection, Microsoft Corporate Collection, Fidelity Investments, Spencer Museum, Weisman Art Museum and Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts."

Broadbent & Smelser will be on display through January 26, with regular gallery hours Mondays through Fridays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free, and more information is available by calling (309)793-1213 and visiting

Support the River Cities' Reader

Get 12 Reader issues mailed monthly for $48/year.

Old School Subscription for Your Support

Get the printed Reader edition mailed to you (or anyone you want) first-class for 12 months for $48.
$24 goes to postage and handling, $24 goes to keeping the doors open!

Click this link to Old School Subscribe now.

Help Keep the Reader Alive and Free Since '93!


"We're the River Cities' Reader, and we've kept the Quad Cities' only independently owned newspaper alive and free since 1993.

So please help the Reader keep going with your one-time, monthly, or annual support. With your financial support the Reader can continue providing uncensored, non-scripted, and independent journalism alongside the Quad Cities' area's most comprehensive cultural coverage." - Todd McGreevy, Publisher