The Northern Illinois University Art Museum’s “Very Well, Thank You”: The Arts as a Means to Well-being exhibition opens Friday, March 26 and runs through May 15. The exhibition investigates the unique role and way the visual and performing arts assist in maintaining social, psychological and physical health and happiness.

Artists were selected from a national call for entry and invited to participate because of their interest in presenting work that attempts to examine how the arts contribute to well-being through visual harmony, balance, color, humor, being in the moment and process.

A full calendar of events including a series of public virtual programs may be found by visiting

Featuring artists: Jan Bolander, Cynthia A. Boudreau, Zachary Cahill, Donna Castellanos, Whit Forrester, Jeanne Garrett, Maria Gedroc, Jessica Gondek, Andrew Ellis Johnson, Judith Joseph, Savannah Jubic, Cleo Krueger, Dean Krueger, Lim Sieu Lian (SLim), Christina Loraine, Julie A. Mars, Benjamin Merritt, Taweesak Molsawat, Alfred Stark, Linda Stein, Veronica Storc, Rhonda Wheatley and unidentified.

Also on view: “Well Enough, Considering…” Artists take a mid-pandemic look at COVID-19.

Flat Earth Julie Mars

Julie A. Mars. Flat Earth, 2018. Bead weaving on a found object thrift store bowl

Upcoming Events

Thursday, April 1
How to Spell USSA with Zachary Cahill
Artist talk about body of work developed around the artist’s invented country, USSA, a project he started in 2009 and continues to explore and develop.
7 – 8 p.m. CST, Virtual Zoom event

Sunday, April 11
Music for Self-care and Healing
Jen Conley, board certified music therapist and licensed professional counselor, will provide an overview of music therapy, share remarkable stories from her practice and provide suggestions on applying the healing powers of music in your own life.
2 – 3 p.m. CST, Virtual Zoom event

Sunday, April 18
A Look on the Bright Side: The Sunny Side of Art with Julie A. Mars
Artist talk and historic look at artworks inspired by the sun and cosmos.
2 – 3 p.m. CST, Virtual Zoom event

Monday, April 26
Body as Nature, Body as Instrument: an Intersection of Movement, Place and Process
Mid-pandemic Movement Etudes performed by NIU School of Theatre and Dance students and examined by Kendra Holton, associate professor of movement.
5 – 6 p.m. CST, Virtual Zoom event

Tuesday, April 27
Arts-based Engagement and Communication Activities
Presentation on the NIU College of Health and Human Sciences arts-based work with stroke and dementia patients given by Jamie Mayer, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Associate Professor, Allied Health/Communicative Disorders.
5 – 6 p.m. CST, Virtual Zoom event

Tuesday, May 4
Trauma and the Performing Artist: Why Wellness Matters
Discussion about the wellness paradigm for character development by NIU School of Theatre and Dance Acting Professor, Patricia Skarbinski.
5 – 6 p.m. CST, Virtual Zoom event

Thursday, May 6
Poems for Well-being and Coping
Participatory reading, recital and word jam.
7 – 8 p.m. CST, Virtual Zoom event

Thursday, May 13
Artwork for Healing and Focusing
An appreciative look at the art of Mathias Grunewald and Louie Schwartzberg by Art Museum Director Jo Burke.
Noon – 12:50 p.m. CST, Virtual Zoom event

Thursday, May 20
Write it Out: A Journaling Workshop
Join artist and energy worker Rhonda Wheatley for Write it Out, where we’ll explore writing as a multi-faceted tool for self-care, personal reflection, and growth. As a practice, journaling can be about much more than merely documenting the events of one’s daily life. It can also be about venting, uplifting our mood, cultivating creativity, future visioning, and ultimately attaining greater self-awareness. One’s journal can serve as a therapeutic mental and emotional outlet, which is especially crucial during times of heightened uncertainty and anxiety. Have a journal or notebook handy, as well as something to write with. And, lastly, bring an open mind!
1 – 3:30 p.m. CST, Virtual Zoom event

Visit for Zoom url links and latest programing details.

Exhibition Support

Artwork and objects for “Very Well, Thank You” and “Well Enough, Considering…” are on loan from the exhibiting artists and courtesy Brad Arsenault Sign Collection.

COVID-19 Visitor Information

Programming and gallery hours are subject to changes, additions or cancelations during the COVID-19 pandemic recovery. Feeling sick or unwell? We ask anyone feeling unwell to postpone their visit for another time. Visitors are welcome on campus, but we ask that you take the same precautions we ask our students, faculty and staff to protect yourself and others. Face masks are required whenever inside campus buildings; gallery capacity is currently limited to 6 people per gallery; timed entry can be scheduled online for your convenience and safety by visiting; physical distancing is encouraged, please maintain 6 feet of distance from others; limited gallery hours remain in effect.

About the NIU Art Museum

Serving Campus and Community by Balancing Traditional and Contemporary Art to Explore the Connections Made through Visual Culture.

Part of the College of Visual and Performing Arts‘ vibrant and active arts community on campus, the Northern Illinois University Art Museum is a resource for the NIU campus, local community and beyond. These exhibits are part of the CVPA program Rejuvenation: An Artistic Journey from Trauma to Recovery. Art Heals.

The NIU Art Museum is located on the first floor, west end of Altgeld Hall, at the corner of College Avenue and Castle Drive on the main campus of Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL. Those using GPS can find us at 595 College Avenue, DeKalb.

Parking is available in the Visitor Pay Lot located at 200 Carroll Ave. Limited metered and accessible parking spaces are available in front of Lowden Hall with accessible aisles and route to Altgeld. Campus parking is free on weekends and after 5 p.m. weeknights.

To request disability-related accommodations for museum programs; please contact the museum at least one week in advance. Northern Illinois University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution.

The exhibitions and programs of the NIU Art Museum are sponsored in part by the Illinois Arts Council Agency through federal funds provided by the National Endowment for the Arts; the Friends of the NIU Art Museum; the NIU Arts and Culture Fee, and the College of Visual and Performing Arts’ Season Presenting Sponsor Shaw Media.

Top image:
Whit Forrester. Fig. 43 Aloe Vera, San Francisco, CA. 2016.
Archival inkjet print with applied gold leaf, (44 x 62 in. edition of three)