University News

Women's Art Exhibit, 'Honoring Our Mothers' Project Display and Reception March 1

February 25, 2010

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MACOMB, IL - - The public is invited to an opening reception for the "Women's Art: Women's Vision" exhibit from 3-5 p.m. Monday, March 1, in the Western Illinois University Multicultural Center. The event, held in conjunction with Women's History Month, will also feature the official debut of an addition to the Multicultural Center building: a stained glass window that honors mothers of 11 WIU and local community members.

"The purpose of this exhibit is to bring recognition to established artists and to encourage beginning artists to keep pursuing their talents," said to Jennifer Howard, a junior art major from Bushnell (IL) who organized the exhibit.

According to Howard, female artists have been under-represented in the past, not appearing in art history books until the 1980s.

"This exhibit provides an opportunity to pay tribute to all the women throughout history who, because of their gender, were denied admission to art academies, were not acknowledged for their talents, and were not included in art history books," she said.

According to Women's Center Director Janine Cavicchia, this is the sixth women's art exhibit the center has sponsored since it was founded in 1986.

"We are excited to be able to hold the exhibit in our new space in the Multicultural Center," Cavicchia said. "It is a great venue, and the reception will provide an opportunity for more people to come see the new facility."

The reception will also provide an opportunity for campus and local community members to meet some of the artists whose works will be on display, Cavicchia noted.

"We sought submissions of mediums including water color, textiles, oil paint, charcoal, mixed media, and photography from female students, staff, faculty, and alumni, as well as women from the community; we have a nice variety of works and artists," she said. "We are pleased with the diversity and quality of artwork submitted, and we appreciate everyone who has participated in and helped with the exhibit."

Jurors were local artists Alda Godines, director of Casa Latina Cultural Center; Sue Scott, director of the Western Illinois Museum; and Janice Owens, who recently retired as director of the WIU Scholarship Office. WIU Art Gallery Director John Graham provided assistance with display materials.

Artists whose works have been accepted for this year's exhibit are:

Kristin Bradley, a graduate student in liberal arts and sciences, (post baccalaureate –English) from Savannah, MO;
Deborah Lutz, office support specialist in the geography department;
Christiane Morel, an instructor in the theatre and dance department;
Meghan Rimelspach, a graduate student in health sciences, community health education, from Findlay, OH;
Noelle Schriefer, a graduate student in museum studies from Moline, IL;
Kim J. Sedgwick, account technical II in Document and Publication Services;
Tonya Woods, a graduate student from Industry, IL; and
Brandi Woolam, a 2001 alumna (agriculture business) of Alexandria, LA.

The reception will also allow visitors to view the new Honoring Our Mothers stained glass window project on the first floor of the Multicultural Center. The window project was coordinated and initiated by Janice Welsch, professor emeritus of English and current women's studies instructor, and created by a local artist who goes by the name of Dev. The permanent window project is accompanied by a plaque that includes names of the donors and the honorees.

"The people involved in the project identify with the second wave feminist movement and have helped advance women's opportunities at WIU in one way or another," Welch explained. "They are all interested in recognizing their mothers' impact on their own lives as well as their contributions to society in an era before women's rights became a major focus of widespread public concern."

"We are looking forward to showing off this beautifully designed window," Cavicchia added. "This will give us an opportunity to show our appreciation to each of the donors for their generous contributions to this special project."

Honorees and donors are:

Margaret Castiau, mother of Penelope Yunker, accountancy department chair and professor emeritus;
Margaret Louise Diehl, mother of Virginia Diehl, professor and former chair of psychology;
C. Rosalie McCoy Farley, mother of Phyllis Farley Rippey, associate professor of political science and former dean of the College of Arts and Sciences;
Maxine Wessel Fisk, mother of Maurine Magliocco, English professor emeritus and founding Women's Center director
Ollie Manuel Jones, mother of Essie Manuel Rutledge, sociology professor emeritus and former chair of African American Studies;
Martha Jane Klems, mother of Martha Selma Klems, computer science instructor and a former Women's Center director;
May Florence Mackey, mother of Beth Stiffler, English professor emeritus and former chair;
Juva McMillen, mother of Syndy Conger, English professor emeritus;
Arlene Peroshek, mother of Rebecca Parker, retired assistant professor of communication;
Thelma Weiss, mother of Philip W. Weiss, retired communication academic adviser; and
Alice Welsch, mother of Janice Welsch.

For more information, contact the Women's Center at (309) 298-2242 or via e-mail at, or visit

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