An exhibition from the Department of Visual Arts at Blackburn College, a 175 year old liberal arts college in Carlinville, Illinois, highlights a body of artwork from ten artists representing sophomore through senior art majors as well as examples of faculty artwork. Medias will include photography, drawing, painting, digital media and ceramics and will be on display at Gallery 200, 200 Main Street, West Chicago from February 1 through 24, 2013.
Artist and West Chicago resident Fredericka Krauss Howard is a founding member of Gallery 200 and saw an opportunity to feature her alma mater's art program through a local exhibit. Howard has fond memories of her education at the school and has remained connected to it since graduating in 1954 with an Associate of Arts degree. Last year, she donated her collection of art books to the library and has donated her personal etching press to be delivered to the art department in February 2013.
Howard described her education at the small liberal arts college during a previous era where the art department was located on the top floor of Robertson Hall, a building dating back to 1880. The only equipment available to the art students was drawing tables and her initial job within the campus work program was filling peanut butter jars in the cafeteria. Acting as a time capsule from that era, Howard will bridge the past and the present by adding an ink sketch of the Macoupin County Courthouse dome to the exhibit from her original 1953 portfolio.
Today, the Department of Visual Arts at Blackburn College offers majors in Art, Graphic Arts, and Art Education as well as minors in Art History and Studio Art. As noted by both Howard and professor Bob Huber, Pegram Chair in Fine Arts (a fully-endowed position made possible in 2002 by the late Enid Jane Pegram of Jacksonville, Illinois), the studio resources on campus are remarkable and include separate buildings for two and three-dimensional art. Said Huber, "Coupled with a relatively modest enrollment, this allows for an intensive investigation of techniques and theories in studio and lecture courses."
"As part of an intense junior and senior seminar process, all art majors participate in two exhibitions on campus before degree completion," said Huber. Although there are three exhibition spaces on the Blackburn College campus, students are encouraged to exhibit off campus and to participate in professional activities throughout their education.
Students enrolled at Blackburn College have the unique distinction of attending one of only seven work colleges in the United States and, according to the school's website, the only work program that is student managed. This means that each student enrolled in the school as an on-campus resident is required to participate in the work program and may, or may not, be assigned to a position within their field of study. Not only does this offer students a cost-effective means for obtaining a private college education, but it also offers opportunities for students to mentor and be mentored by other students and faculty.
The work program has been in place for the last 100 years of the school's history. Students are required to work 160 hours per semester in all aspects of college operations. "The long history of the College and the nature of the work program has evolved into an enchanting culture. Everyone -- faculty, staff and students -- works together for the common mission of learning," said Huber.
The public is invited to attend a free Opening Reception for the "Blackburn College Department of Visual Arts, Student/Faculty Exhibit" on Friday, February 1, 2013 from 6:00 -- 9:00 p.m. at Gallery 200, 200 Main Street, West Chicago. Students and faculty will be on hand and refreshments will also be served. In addition, the West Chicago City Museum, 132 Main Street, will be open for Late Night at the Museum in conjunction with the reception hours.
Gallery 200 has served as an incubator for creative talent for the surrounding area for the past seven years and is proud to welcome a series of exhibits in collaboration with educational art programs in 2013. Participating in the Featured Artist Series are programs from South Elgin High School in January, Blackburn College Department of Visual Arts in February, West Chicago Elementary School District 33 in March and College of DuPage in April. This exciting collaboration will showcase the abundant creative talent that resides in West Chicago and the surrounding communities, and is evidence of the supporting role of Gallery 200 as a venue for developing, emerging and proficient artists of all media.
Gallery 200 is a cultural initiative supported by the City of West Chicago and the West Chicago Cultural Arts Commission, and is one more reason West Chicago was named an Illinois Arts Friendly Community in 2007. Gallery 200 is open Thursday and Friday from 12:00 - 8:00 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m. For more information, including a complete list of current art classes, call (630) 293-9550 or visit www.gallery200.org.