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Artist: Bill Howard, "D & J," 2001, Etching on paper - Loan courtesy of the artist
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Artist: Katherine Jenkins, Self-Portrait, n.d. Lithograph Collection of Western Illinois University Art Gallery Gallery Purchase, National Print and Drawing Exhibition, 1976.5
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'Perceptions' Exhibit Opening at WIU Art Gallery

August 22, 2014

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MACOMB, IL – A new exhibit at the Western Illinois University Art Gallery is an effort to show how art can impact one's view of the world.

"Perceptions: Exploring Self and Identity Through Art and Writing," will coincide with the start of the school year, Monday, Aug. 25 and will run through Saturday, Nov. 15. The works for the collection, being shown on the first floor of the gallery, were chosen by Art Gallery Director Ann Marie Hayes-Hawkinson.

"They were all chosen to fit the theme of self and identity," Hayes-Hawkinson said. "We hope the exhibit appeals to students, faculty and staff and to the community. The idea is to show students that artwork can help them perceive the world differently."

One of the goals of the exhibit is to involve students and faculty from a variety of academic disciplines across campus.

The exhibit features 26 pieces, including two works by current faculty members, one former faculty member and four by WIU alumni. Faculty members include Art Professor Bill Howard and Art Professor Jan Clough and former faculty member Michael Mahoney, and alumni include Jesse Bernhardt, a 2012 graduate in history; Nate Billingsley, a 2001 graduate in art; Stacia McKeever, a 2010 graduate in art and Bradley Ogan, a 2001 graduate in art.

Hung beside each piece is an interpretation written by WIU faculty and staff and members of the Macomb community. The interpretations are in the form of short stories, poems, critiques or essays.

Those who wrote interpretations include: Jonathan Ahl, David Banash, Rebekah Buchanan, Jan Clough, Merrill Cole, Gary Daytner, Katrina Daytner, Rich Egger, Barb Harroun, Alice Hayes, Magdelyn Helwig, Patricia Hobbs, Keith Holz, Janet Hopper, Bill Howard, Nancy Jones, Ilon Lauer, Sherry C.M. Lindquist, Teresa Little, Sue Martinelli-Fernandez, Michael Mahoney, John Miller, Jo-Ann Morgan, Amy Patrick Mossman, Mark A. Mossman, Patricia Nelson, Linda Peters, Jodi Pospeschil, Ted Renner, Jan Rockwell, John Schulze, Aimee Shouse, Margaret Sinex, Lin Stults, William A. Thompson, Alisha White and Jacque Wilson-Jordan.

"Many of WIU's English faculty are guest writers, and many of them teach writing courses that use the theme of identity," Hayes-Hawkinson said. "We asked our contributors to write their perception of the piece and the format was up to them."

English and Journalism Assistant Professor Barb Harroun said the exhibit's theme is "wonderful subject matter" for student writing and self-reflection in the classroom setting.

"Students enjoy the physical space of the gallery and responding to the art exhibited," Harroun said. "As well, the University Art Gallery has become a wonderful location for creative writing readings bringing together faculty and students, and readings, free and open to the public, of our visiting writers. It's also become a space I associate with collaboration. Gallery Director Ann Marie Hayes-Hawkinson has made the gallery an open space for the entire campus, inviting faculty from across disciplines to participate in the 'Perceptions' exhibitions."

English and Journalism Instructor John Schulze said he and Hayes-Hawkinson will be working together to team-teach two courses, college writing and introduction to art.

"The Perceptions exhibit, which focuses on 'The Self' as the subject this year, will be integral to our instruction and student assignments," Schulze said. "It's very exciting to develop an interdisciplinary course that connects the verbal and visual in a meaningful and engaging manner. Additionally, Barbara Harroun and I co-chair the Boiler Room Reading Series, a monthly creative writing event that features a faculty member and two student writers the first Wednesday of September, October and November. Ann Marie has been very gracious in hosting the readings at the Art Gallery. It's a wonderful space."

Assistant Professor of English and Journalism Magdelyn Helwig said WIU's Writing Program is fortunate to be able to work with the Art Gallery to develop new curriculum and provide students with "communication experiences that wed verbal and visual elements."

"The fact that our faculty, staff and community members are willing to share their words in response to art also provides our students with real world examples of the value of language," Helwig said.

A reception for the exhibit, sponsored by Don and Joy Hubner, of Macomb, will be held from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 4 at the gallery. Hayes-Hawkinson will speak about the exhibit at 5 p.m., and readings of selected works will also be included.

For more information about other gallery shows, gallery hours or a list of programming related to this exhibit visit

Posted By: Jodi Pospeschil (
Office of University Communications & Marketing