Faculty, students can exhbit downtown

By Amy T. Coughlin

When visiting Chicago’s Art Institute, one might also want to visit the NIU Art Gallery, also located in downtown Chicago.

The gallery, at 212 W. Superior St., opened December 14, l984 and is funded through the College of Visual Arts and Sciences.

Cheryl Wessels, an NIU Art School secretary, said the gallery is the alternative of a commercial gallery—nothing is for sale. She said the purpose of the gallery is to show the work of NIU faculty and alumni and collections of Chicago area artists.

Mike Lash, gallery curator, said there are three NIU affiliated exhibits every year. In the fall, the gallery holds a one-person faculty member show, in January an NIU alumnus show and in the summer a show called “Emerging Talent.” The talent show consists of graduating NIU students’ work.

When not holding one of these shows, Lash said the gallery curates outside artists or interested artists submit resumes and slides to the gallery. Members of the gallery committee review them and decide if they will be shown.

Lash is an NIU alumnus, but he said that is not a requirement to work at the gallery. Workers at the gallery are hired by NIU.

The mission of the gallery is two-fold, Lash said. It’s first goal is to provide NIU with a Chicago base for visual art examples, arts-related events and NIU-sponsored work and receptions. The second goal is to serve the Chicago community by offering unique exhibitions and providing a forum for the furtherance of the educational role of NIU, he said.

Starting today and continuing through March 19, 10 artists will be featured in “The Light Show.” Gallery hours are from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. The public is invited to attend a reception for the artists from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. tonight.

Lash said “The Light Show,” which he curated, shows the changes in the use of light in art. He said in the 1960s and 1970s, artists used light as an effect to create shadows, but now light is in its “adolescence.” Light is used in a more integrated manner, and it is more accepted and more successful, he said.

The artists involved in the show are well-known and established regionally, Lash said. Tom Stancliffe, an NIU art instructor, is one of the artists who will be featured. Other artists include Bill Bell, Susan Calza, Ronnie Fisher, Greg Green, Jenny Holzer, Gary Justis, Dennis Kowalski, Bruce Nauman, Tom Stancliffe and Fred Tschida.