Best in Show and four Jurors’ Choice Awards were announced during the Dec. 1 opening reception of “Stories From My Childhood,” at the Northern Illinois University Art Museum. “Stories From My Childhood” is a group show based on a national call for entry exploring both dark childhood experiences and somewhat humorous and quirky observations of life from a child’s perspective. Artists were asked to depict a transformative event that occurred during their childhood through visual media and text.

Thirty-nine artists were selected to participate, with 54 works selected by the NIU Art Museum Exhibition Advisory Committee from the online entries. The exhibition was then juried by NIU professors, sculptor Ben Stone and poet Amy Newman for awards.

The $1,000 Best in Showbwas awarded to Maryam Safajoo’s “Forced Abandonment” and “Difficulty of The Journey.” Four Jurors’ Choice Awards of $250 were presented to Natalie Christensen’s “Deep Blue Pool,” Kaila Larson’s “What Will The Neighbors Say?” Lori Markman’s “I’ve Got My Eye on You,” and Griselda Rosas’ “Regalia 2.”

Stone and Newman came to the consensus for the winners based upon visceral and emotional feelings toward the imagery and stories and how they intertwined with one another. “I knew we would see some lovely work, but I am taken with the latitude and the depth and the responses to the idea of ‘Stories From My Childhood.’ Viewing the work brought me to a place where I began to think about what we do with childhood, which is, after all, one of our first absolutely pure sensory experiences,” said Newman.

This exhibition runs Nov. 29 to Dec. 17, 2022 and Jan. 10 to Feb. 17, 2023. This exhibition contains mature content and may not be suited for all audiences.

Funds for awards, juror fees and a portion of exhibition expenses were donated by generous long-time Friends of the NIU Art Museum who wish to remain anonymous. If other good souls are interested in doing the same (anonymous or not) for future shows you are certainly welcome to contact the museum at

“Stories From My Childhood” features the work and stories of: Salma Arastu, Nava Atlas, Karen Avant, Anna Betts, Natalie Christensen, Julia Fauci, Shawna Gibbs, Ronald Gosses, Juan Hernandez, Zach Horn, Fletcher Koehrsen, Oxana Kovalchuk, Julia LaChica, Carol Larson, Kaila Larson, Jamie Luoto, Lex Marie, Lori Markman, DaNice D. Marshall, Norbert Marszalek, Rebecca Mason, Michelle Mullet, Amy Nelder, Janelle O’Malley, Diane Rickerl, Arielle Romano, Griselda Rosas, Boryana Rusenova-Ina, Maryam Safajoo, Baylee Schmitt, Sydney Small, Alfred Stark, Amanda Taves, Christian Ulloa, Kyle White, Lisa Fayiza Wright, Ana Zanic, Abby Moon Zeciroski and Jane Zich.

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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.

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, Illinois. 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 in nearby lots 3 and 14. 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, the Friends of the NIU Art Museum, the NIU Arts and Culture Fee, and the College of Visual and Performing Art’s Season Presenting Sponsors Shaw Media and WNIU/WNIJ.

Gallery Hours
10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday
10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday
Noon to 6 p.m. Thursday
Noon to 6 p.m. Friday
Noon to 3 p.m. Saturday; and by appointment for group tours. Exhibitions are free and open to the public.