Gallery 810 at WIU
April 15, 2013
MACOMB, IL -- The Louvre, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art ... classic art museums and galleries that play home to some of the world's most famous works of art. On the Western Illinois University campus, the new Gallery 810 may just serve as a temporary home to the next Picasso, Dali or O'Keeffe.
The gallery, which is a cooperative venture between University Housing and Dining Services, the English and journalism department and the art department, is located in the remodeled Corbin-Olson halls complex on the south side of campus. The Gallery 810 is the brainchild of Art Professor Bill Howard and Residential Facilities Director Joe Roselieb. The pair were discussing the newly renovated complex, and Roselieb mentioned that he had perfect spot to display artwork. And the reason behind the name? 810 is the address of the halls added together, Roselieb noted.
"From there I suggested student work because it is a residence hall, and the space is ideal to showcase our students' work," Howard added. "Because of the magnitude of this project and the space involved, Duke (Oursler, assistant professor of art) and I asked Ann Marie Hayes-Hawkinson, director of the WIU Art Gallery, to spearhead the project given her extensive background with exhibitions."
The gallery "opened" April 4 and features the works of students in Howard's intaglio classes and lithography classes, as well as silkscreen prints from Susan Czechowski's classes and an oil painting from Brett Eberhardt's class. The current 19 featured artists include Laura Adami, Michael Beasley, Ellen Bukvich, Ciera Shimkus, Robin Jackson, Brandon Strode, Andy Laverdiere, Tami Schmidt, Jeff Miller, Alison Witt, Natalie (Adcock) Divan, Joseph Nichols, Charles Taylor, Braden Carroll, Beth Clothier, Jack Crouch, Donny Gettinger, Emily Wehling and Jesse Bernhardt.
"Throughout the design phase of the Corbin-Olson renovation, the architect's renderings featured artwork on the walls. Members of the design team agreed this was something to keep in mind once the buildings were complete as it would be an excellent way to showcase the talents of our students," Roselieb said. "Corbin-Olson was an ideal location to kick off a project of this nature not only due to having the perfect space for a gallery, but also because so many of our students who are involved in fine arts live in Corbin. As we continue to partner with academic departments, we look forward to expanding this gallery concept to other WIU housing facilities."
Students from the English department provide descriptive narratives for some of the featured artwork. Mark Mossman, English chair, and several students visited the gallery to learn about the project and select two works each to write about. Students were free to write whatever they wanted as long as it was in response to what they saw in the work. Amy Patrick Mossman, English and journalism associate professor and director of the English graduate program, edited the responses. The current featured writers include Beth Clothier, Kristyne Gilbert, Sharon Thompson, Elizabeth Dunn, Bethany Petrillo and Andrew Gerske.
According to Hayes-Hawkinson, to get the gallery off the ground, she first reviewed the student purchase awards collection at the WIU Art Gallery, and also inquired with faculty to find works from current and former students. When selecting the works, Hayes-Hawkinson gives consideration to several components, including picking a consistent theme. Many of the current works featured at the Gallery 810 are studies of faces or the figure.
"I also look at additional subjects that could appeal to students such as a couch or a skull, the graphic quality of the work and the potential of the works to inspire creative writing," she explained. "We picked works that would complement each other through subject matter, color and approach. Because the hallway is a high traffic area, we chose prints over paintings on canvas as we could frame them under plexiglass to protect them."
The current works will be on display through December 2013, with the plan for new works to be installed in January 2014. Roselieb added that for Phase II of the gallery concept, the goal is to install display cases to house jewelry and pottery designed by students, as well as digital displays to showcase graphic designs completed by students.
"Because so many people visit the Corbin-Olson dining hall, the Gallery 810 provides a great opportunity to promote the visual art program, as well as creative writing and English, at Western and also raises more awareness for the WIU Art Gallery," Hayes-Hawkinson added. "Student art, combined with placing sculptures around campus (Duke Oursler's idea), could really transform this campus. There is unlimited potential for collaborative projects between the visual arts and creative writing."