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Saint Mary’s art department visits Chicago

| Monday, September 9, 2019

The Saint Mary’s art department recently sponsored their biannual trip to Chicago for students, faculty and any and all art lovers willing to pay $25. The trip consisted of a trip to Chicago, a visit to visual artist Anne Wilson’s studio in Evanston, Illinois, a tour of an alternative exhibition space — which this year is ZG Galleries — and a more traditional exhibition space. Participants were also given time to explore the city and suburbs.

This year, the art department focused on the far North Shore area, consisting of Evanston, Edgewater and Roger’s Park, Ian Weaver, assistant professor in the art department and director of the Moreau Art Gallery, said.

Courtesy of Julie Tourtillotte
SMC students, Zoe Ricker and Elizabeth Polstra, visit Zolla-Lieberman Gallery in Chicago.

Weaver was responsible for coordinating the trip this year, and connected with Wilson through the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where they both worked in the painting department.

In an email, Weaver said the trip is sponsored by the Lucille R. Griffin Memorial Fund.

“The fund was established in 2007 by her husband, John B. Griffin, in memory of his wife, Lucy, who was an alumna in the art department,” Weaver said in the email. The fund allows students to experience the arts in action and look into art as a career.

Weaver said there were other advantages to the trip.

“The trip allows those at Saint Mary’s who participate to have cultural experiences that go beyond simply viewing art,” Weaver said in the email. “The participants explore the city, its neighborhoods, its variety of food, its residents and its character. They have interactions with diverse communities and people, and grow culturally.”

First year student Anna Volpe went on the trip because she hoped to see what the people at the three sites had to say, she said.

“This gallery is owned and was started by two Saint Mary’s alumnae,” Volpe said in an email. “When we first arrived, we walked around the current artist show on our own and then afterwards talked with these two alumnae. It was pretty cool to hear that two art students followed their dream and opened up their own gallery where they get to host other amazing artists.”

Textile artist Anne Wilson was a source of inspiration for the members of the trip, and students were also invited into Wilson’s home studio. Volpe said Wilson spoke about her own work as an artist and her journey.

“The biggest piece of advice that Anne said that stood out to me was to keep going, keep pushing forward as an artist,” Volpe said in the email. “Some people may not believe in your career path, but as long as you know for certain that you want to become an artist, that’s all that matters.”

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