Scenes from Black Lives Matter street mural painting

Scenes from Black Lives Matter street mural painting

Students, faculty, staff and community members joined together on Thursday, Oct. 1 on Castle Drive to enjoy music from the NIU Black Choir, percussion and jazz ensembles of the NIU School of Music and a performance by students in the NIU School of Theatre and Dance, and to paint “Black Lives Matter” on the street between Davis Hall and the east lagoon. The event was presented by the NIU Center for Black Studies and the College of Visual and Performing Arts. 

NIU to host art for social justice event to paint Black Lives Matter at the university’s entrance

NIU to host art for social justice event to paint Black Lives Matter at the university’s entrance

The Northern Illinois University Center for Black Studies and the College of Visual and Performing Arts are hosting an art for social justice event, “Art and Soul.”  The event will be held Thursday, October 1, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the main entrance of the university on Castle Drive. The Huskie Bus Line buses will be rerouted from noon Thursday until Friday morning.

The entire community is invited to join together to help paint “Black Lives Matter” on Castle Drive.  Paint, rollers, and brushes will be supplied.

Participants will be limited to 50 at any one time, but attendees may join in at any time throughout the afternoon to make their mark and show their commitment to social justice.

Safety measures will be followed. Masks must be worn. Wipes will be used to clean the brush handles and rollers after each use.  Safety protocols will be facilitated by members of the Center for Black Studies and students in the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

In addition to the group painting, there will be performances and speakers throughout the event, including the NIU Black Choir, jazz ensembles, percussion ensemble, dance improvisation, and readings from a variety of texts.

“The paint used is water-based and non-toxic,” said Paul Kassel, Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts. “It is expected to last through the rest of the fall semester. Though the image may fade, our commitment to social justice and to a strong Huskie community will remain vivid and strong. We believe that one answer to a hateful act is an act of affirmation of our values. It is in that spirit that this event is being held—to testify and signify to all that NIU holds an unshakeable belief that Black Lives Matter.”

For more information, contact the College of Visual and Performing Arts’ Donee Spizzirri at dspizzirri@niu.edu.

Art and Design’s Kryssi Staikidis publishes book on Artistic Mentoring as a Decolonizing Methodology

Art and Design’s Kryssi Staikidis publishes book on Artistic Mentoring as a Decolonizing Methodology

Kryssi Staikidis, Professor and Head of Art and Design Education in NIU’s School of Art and Design has recently published the book, Artistic Mentoring as a Decolonizing Methodology: An Evolving Collaborative Painting Ethnography with Maya Artists Pedro Rafael González Chavajay and Paula Nicho Cúmez by Brill.

Staikidis Book CoverTo expand the possibilities of “doing arts thinking” from a non-Eurocentric view, Artistic Mentoring as a Decolonizing Methodology: An Evolving Collaborative Painting Ethnography with Maya Artists Pedro Rafael González Chavajay and Paula Nicho Cúmez is grounded in Indigenous perspectives on arts practice, arts research, and art education.

Mentored in painting for eighteen years by two Guatemalan Maya artists, Kryssi Staikidis, a North American painter and art education professor, uses both Indigenous and decolonizing methodologies, which involve respectful collaboration, and continuously reexamines her positions as student, artist, and ethnographer searching to redefine and transform the roles of the artist as mentor, historian/activist, ethnographer, and teacher.

The primary purpose of the book is to illuminate the Maya artists as mentors, the collaborative and holistic processes underlying their painting, and the teaching and insights from their studios. These include Imagined Realism, a process excluding rendering from observation, and the fusion of pedagogy and curriculum into a holistic paradigm of decentralized teaching, negotiated curriculum, personal and cultural narrative as thematic content, and the surrounding visual culture and community as text.

The Maya artist as cultural historian creates paintings as platforms of protest and vehicles of cultural transmission, for example, genocide witnessed in paintings as historical evidence. The mentored artist as ethnographer cedes the traditional ethnographic authority of the colonizing stance to the Indigenous expert as partner and mentor, and under this mentorship analyzes its possibilities as decolonizing arts-based qualitative inquiry. For the teacher, Maya world views broaden and integrate arts practice and arts research, inaugurating possibilities to transform arts education.

The book can be purchased in hardcover, paperback or .pdf through Brill’s website.

NIU Sculpture Visiting Artist Talk – Heather Mekkelson

NIU Sculpture Visiting Artist Talk – Heather Mekkelson

Heather MekkelsonThe sculpture area of the NIU School of Art and Design is hosting a virtual Zoom presentation by visiting artist Heather Mekkelson, Thursday, October 8 at 5 p.m.

Mekkelson is a sculptor and installation artist based in Chicago. She has had several solo exhibitions at chicago galleries such as 65GRAND, 4th Ward Project Space and STANDARD.

She has exhibited in group shows in galleries and institutions nationally since 2001. Mekkelson’s work has been featured in Art Journal, Art21 Magazine, Artforum.com, Artnet, Flavorpill, Hyperallergic, Newcity, Time Out Chicago and others.

She has been the recipient of several fellowships and grants, including the 2012 Artadia Award, and the Illinois Arts Council Artist Fellowship in Sculpture in 2020.

The event is open to the public. To join in, log into your Zoom account or go to zoom.us. The Meeting ID is 921 8632 1445 and the passcode is 539303.