Personal Story

Feature Issue on Careers in The Arts for People with Intellectual, Developmental, and Other Disabilities

My Arts Career: Geoffrey Mikol

A bald, white man wearing glasses smiles as he holds a camera. He’s wearing a black shirt and has a red camera strap around his neck.

Geoffrey Mikol is a professional artist who owns River Bend Gallery with his family in historic Galena, Illinois. In 2019, River Bend Gallery was named “Business of the Year” by the Galena Area Chamber of Commerce. The same year, Geoffrey, who was born with Down syndrome, was awarded Illinois Maker status by the Illinois Office of Tourism. The Illinois Made program highlights artists, creators & crafters unique to Illinois. In 2016, Geoffrey's River Bend Gallery was launched to showcase Geoffrey’s amazing photography collection, and the following year a full line of gift items featuring his artwork was added. 

Geoffrey has found a special connection with photography as a means of expressing his creative side. He has a talent for capturing moments in nature that still the soul and quiet your senses. Now in his mid 20s, Geoffrey has studied and practiced his photography for more than a decade, capturing accolades and awards for his work, along with a following of collectors and enthusiasts. 

A painting of a winter scene with a red barn on a snowy hill and pine trees in the foreground.

Sanctuary by Geoffrey Mikol.

Illinois Made | This video by Enjoy Illinois features artist Geoffrey Mikol’s photography and studio.