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ARTiFACTS Feature

Michael Barnes

Barnes received the Distinguished Graduate Faculty Award

Michael Barnes was selected as a recipient of the 2017 Distinguished Graduate Faculty Award. The award honors exceptional members of the graduate faculty for their scholarly achievements and outstanding contributions to graduate education at the university. 

Michael BarnesBarnes, a Professor in the School of Art and Design, was chosen as recipients for the award due to their professional accomplishments and well-deserved praise from colleagues and students. he has strongly demonstrated a commitment to providing their students with rewarding academic and professional opportunities.

Barnes, who earned his B.F.A. degree from Alma College in Michigan and his M.F.A. degree from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, has taught at NIU since 1998. Since then, he has dedicated himself to mentoring dozens of graduate students in the School of Art and Design.

An accomplished artist, Barnes is credited with building a printmaking program that is ranked in the top 20 in the country. Barnes’ work is part of numerous collections and has been exhibited both nationally and internationally in three commercial galleries, 20 solo exhibitions and well over 100 group and juried exhibitions. His professional accomplishments and connections have contributed to student success beyond the classroom.

“Michael is extremely dedicated to providing an exemplary experience for graduate students at NIU,” said John Siblik, director of the School of Art and Design. “He builds the connections students need to succeed as artists, both fine and applied, at the regional, national and international level.”

In addition to his duties in the classroom, Barnes has arranged international internships, organized the NIU Printmaking Triennial, coordinated trips to professional conferences, headed study abroad trips, put together visiting artist and presenter programs, organized public events to highlight graduate programs and advised the student printmaking club.

Ana Cortes Llamas, a student who nominated Barnes for the Distinguished Graduate Faculty award, decided to come to NIU after being mentored by Barnes during an international printmaking conference.

“So many opportunities and good experiences have happened to me and for my art career because of him,” she said. “Working with Michael has been a dream come true, not only because he is a great artist, and someone that I look up to, but also because he is a kind person. He genuinely cares about his grad students and would give the shirt off his back to help them in any way.”

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