South African actor Anton Krueger to serve virtual residency at School of Theatre and Dance

South African actor Anton Krueger to serve virtual residency at School of Theatre and Dance

South African actor, playwright, director and scholar Anton Krueger will be serving a virtual residency in the NIU School of Theatre and Dance with free events on Thursday, January 21 through Saturday, January 23.

Krueger is a writer and scholar specializing in South African performance modalities. He has published numerous articles and book chapters on subjects ranging from indigenous dance to Zef. His book, Experiments in Freedom: Issues of Identity in New South African Drama (2010) won the Rhodes Vice Chancellor’s Book Award and Magnet Theatre: Three Decades of Making Space (2016, co-edited with Megan Lewis) won the Hiddingh-Currie Award.

Free Events

January 21 – 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. – Zoom Workshop
“Playful Mindfulness: Improvisation and Spontaneous Creativity”
Link: https://zoom.us/j/7226488112?pwd=WGZYUEZDTzNXVVdLc213dTBxK2hsQT09

January 22 – 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. – Participatory Online Performance
“The Voice in Your Head” written and performed by Anton Krueger
Limited to 15 participants – contact Dr. Gibson Cima, NIU Head of Theatre Studies for a link.

1:00 to 2:00 p.m.
“Current Trends in South African Theatre” with Renos Spanoudes
Link: https://zoom.us/j/7226488112?pwd=WGZYUEZDTzNXVVdLc213dTBxK2hsQT09

January 23 – 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. – Participatory Online Performance
“The Voice in Your Head”
Limited to 15 participants – contact Dr. Gibson Cima, NIU Head of Theatre Studies for a link. 

12:35 to 1:00 p.m. – Post-show discussion with Anton Krueger
Link: https://zoom.us/j/7226488112?pwd=WGZYUEZDTzNXVVdLc213dTBxK2hsQT09

For more information and links to these events, contact Dr. Gibson Cima, Head of Theatre Studies.

Free drive-thru COVID-19 testing available Jan. 10-12

Free drive-thru COVID-19 testing available Jan. 10-12

NIU, the Illinois Department of Public Health and the DeKalb County Health Department are partnering to offer our community free, drive-thru COVID-19 testing from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 10, through Tuesday, Jan. 12.  Employees and students who are not in the NIU Surveillance Testing program are strongly encouraged to participate to help reduce the spread of the virus.

Simple nasal swabs will be used, and participants will be called with results within 4-7 days.

Testing will take place in the Convocation Center parking lot at 1525 W. Lincoln Hwy. Participants must be in cars, and should enter from Lincoln Highway.

Johns Fund provides annual support to NIU Art Museum

Johns Fund provides annual support to NIU Art Museum

The DeKalb County Community Foundation and the NIU Art Museum are thrilled to announce the Friends of NIU Art Museum Endowment Fund. This new Designated Fund provides annual financial support to the NIU Art Museum to further their mission of serving campus and community by balancing traditional and contemporary art to explore connections through visual culture. The Fund was created by long-time NIU supporters and local philanthropists, Jerry and Annette Johns.

“We are grateful to longtime friends of the museum, Annette and Jerry Johns, who generously thought to start this endowment fund,” said Josephine Burke, director of the NIU Art Museum. “Their foresight and valuing of cultural assets within the community will help to ensure our ability to continue to serve the greater DeKalb community now and in the future. This vital fund helps to support the museum’s exhibitions, programs and the preservation of its permanent collection.”

Since 2002, Jerry and Annette Johns have shared their passion for education, the arts, and the community they love through establishing several endowed Funds with the Community Foundation.

Annette’s diverse background and interests include studying and teaching in the areas of education (elementary and college level), reading, philosophy, and theatre arts. She has served as part of the Kishwaukee Symphony Associates, the Bethlehem Lutheran Church Food Pantry and Church Council, and as a docent with the Ellwood House.

Jerry, along with Annette, grew up in Michigan and received his Bachelor’s degree in education, a Master’s degree in elementary education, and a Ph.D. in education with a specialization in reading. He has served on the Board of Directors for a variety of local nonprofit organizations and has served through his church and campus ministry.

Jerry and Annette’s personal and professional interests are clearly reflected in the Funds that they directly spearheaded at the Foundation. “We feel very strongly about supporting local organizations that enrich all our lives,” they said. “The DeKalb County Community Foundation helps you put your money where your heart is.” The Funds they established include: Aikins Theatre Arts Award Fund, Ellwood House Museum Fund, Jerry and Annette Johns CommunityWorks Fund, Jerry and Annette Johns Future Teachers Scholarship Fund, Jerry L. Johns NIU Literacy Clinic Endowment Fund, Johns Family Donor Advised Fund, and the Friends of NIU Art Museum Endowment Fund.

Donations to any Fund at the Community Foundation, including the Friends of NIU Art Museum Endowment Fund, can be made online, or by mail to the DeKalb County Community Foundation, 475 DeKalb Avenue, Sycamore, Ill. 60178. For questions or additional information on how to start your own fund at the Community Foundation, please contact Executive Director Dan Templin at (815) 748-5383 or dan@dekalbccf.org.

Narrative art exhibition suite opens at NIU Art Museum Jan. 12

Narrative art exhibition suite opens at NIU Art Museum Jan. 12

The Northern Illinois University Art Museum opens three exhibitions that consider narrative artwork and imagery Tuesday, January 12.

The exhibitions examine artworks’ ability to chronicle or present narrative themes that relay a series of events, subjects, or use storytelling through images. The exhibitions feature: the memorial tribute to local figurative artist Ellen Roth Deutsch and her expressive stories of self and other women; Chicago author and illustrator Landis Blair’s darkly humorous tales with absurdly gleeful imagery; and a curated national group exhibition of works referencing motifs found in oral traditions, fairy tales, fables, myths and legends. From the Mind of Ellen Roth Deutsch; Mirth and Mayhem: Landis Blair Selections of Drawings and Books; and Storied References all open January 12 and run through February 26 with a series of public virtual events presented online.

From the Mind of Ellen Roth Deutsch features Deutsch’s work from several decades in which she revisits various complex themes through symbolic characters and metaphorical imagery. Deutsch tackles experiences of sexual abuse, depression, illness and death through imagery that caricatures, digs in and dramatizes. Notable museums and galleries including the Newberry Library, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, State of Illinois Gallery in Chicago and the National Museum of Women in the Arts have exhibited Deutsch’s work.

Mirth and Mayhem: Landis Blair Selections of Drawings and Books contains illustrations from books by Landis Blair, whose stories contain elements of taboo, nihilism and whimsy. Blair’s black and white imagery evokes inspiration from Edward Gorey and often includes dark and absurd humor, lulling the reader through rhyming descriptions of vignette scenes. On view are illustrations from The Envious Siblings and Other Morbid Nursery RhymesThe Progressive Problem and The Regressive SolutionA Toasted Passion; and Whetting Engines.

Whetting Engines

Landis Blair, Whetting Engines, 2019, Sastergoodment Press, Chicago. Drawing, 2018, (6 x 8 in.), Pen and ink.

Storied References is a group exhibition curated by invitation and from a national call for entry featuring artwork that grapples with the harsh truths of contemporary reality while employing familiar narrative motifs found in oral traditions, fairy tales, fables, myths and legends. As humans we have always sought to understand ourselves and the world around us through the stories we tell each other. Artists translate verbal and literary narratives into visual language, sometimes retelling stories from a new perspective: mashing them up, stripping them down or retelling them through the lens of feminism, cultural or personal experience.

Storied References features artists: Kamal Al Mansour, Aodan, Michael Barnes, Brandin Barón, Sarah Bielski, K. Johnson Bowles, Kathy Bruce, Patricia Constantine, Ross Everett, Richard Gessert, Ronald Gonzalez, Heidi Jensen, Andrew Ellis Johnson, B. Lynch, Firoz Mahmud, Sarah Martin, Joseph Miller, Kel Mur, B. Quinn, Amy Schissel, Aaron Sizemore, Jason Tannen, Rhonda Urdang, Lauren Woods.

These exhibitions contain mature content and may not be suited for all audiences. We recommend visitors contact the Museum before organizing visits with children or sensitive audiences.

Virtual Programs and Events

Thursday, February 4,
Hatched Stories Landis Blair Artist Talk
6:30 p.m., Virtual Event – Register online

Sunday, February 7, 2021
Gallery View
A glimpse into From the Mind and other work by Ellen Roth Deutsch
2:00 p.m., Virtual Event – Register online

Ellen Roth Deutsch

Ellen Roth Deutsch, Will the Leopard Return?, 2008. (24.5 x 25 in.), Colored pencil, ink, collage – also referred to as The House of Ellen’s Mind.

Register for all virtual events online at niu.edu/artmuseum/events. Additional programs will be added throughout the exhibition’s run. Please continue to check our events page regularly or sign-up for email notifications at niu.edu/artmuseum/about/subscribe.

COVID-19 Visitor Information

Programming and gallery hours are subject to changes or cancelations during COVID-19. 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 www.niu.edu/artmuseum; 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.The NIU Art Museum is located on the first floor, west end of Altgeld Hall, at the corner of College Avenue and Castle Drives on the main campus of Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL. 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. NIU is an EO/AA 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.

Art History Professor Sinclair Bell wins prestigious NEH Fellowship to study Race in Antiquity

Art History Professor Sinclair Bell wins prestigious NEH Fellowship to study Race in Antiquity

National Endowment for Humanities grantsThe National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) recently announced $32.8 million in grants to support 213 humanities projects in 44 states, including a research Fellowship for Sinclair Bell, Professor of Art History at Northern Illinois University, to research the visual and material evidence of race and ethnicity in the Roman Empire (c. 100 BCE-200 CE). (more…)

Dance minor Jill Belluomini chosen as NIU’s Lincoln Laureate

Dance minor Jill Belluomini chosen as NIU’s Lincoln Laureate

Jill BelluominiJill Belluomini can gracefully conquer both a molecular dynamics simulation and a pirouette.

Her major and minor at NIU—chemistry and dance—represent her two passions. As different as they may seem, to her, they’re intertwined.

For Belluomini, life is all about learning, discovering, inspiring.

“Being able to continue dancing here is amazing. They treat their minors like majors,” said Lincoln Laureate Jill Belluomini, shown here at NIU’s 2018 Spring Dance Concert. Source: Northern Illinois University

“I think she feels it’s her responsibility to make the most of what she has around her,” says her friend and mentor Robin Marchiori, a 1995 NIU graduate and co-owner of Cary-Grove Performing Arts Centre, where Belluomini began dancing at age eight.

“Plus, she’s just funny, kind and brilliant.”

Belluomini, a 22-year-old Cary native, will graduate this May as NIU’s 2020 Student Lincoln Laureate, an honor reserved for the university’s top senior. The Lincoln Laureate Award is given to an outstanding senior from each of Illinois’ four-year universities for excellence in both curricular and extracurricular activities.

You could say Belluomini hit the ground running—and dancing—upon transferring to NIU from Harper College in Palatine.

She’d always planned to major in chemistry, but sought a university where she could also minor in dance. She threw in a couple more minors of biology and mathematics along the way.She’d run across campus between dance classes in Gable to her science classes in Faraday Hall, often arriving at organic chemistry in a leotard, her hair in a bun.

“I always loved science, and I always had a knack for it,” Belluomini said. “I wanted to go a little deeper to understand why things work the way they work. I knew I wanted to do research. I wanted to help discover things and learn more. It was more about never wanting to stop learning and helping other people learn.”

She remembers being assigned famed scientist Maria Curie, the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, as part of a “really big terrifying” fifth-grade project at Saints Peter & Paul School in Cary. Students pretended to be part of a wax museum, reenacting their famous characters.

Belluomini chose Curie for another project in seventh grade and has looked up to her ever since.

After grade school, she homeschooled with the support of her parents, Brian and Diane. She took a couple classes through a homeschool cohort, but said, “For the most part, I taught myself.”

A rare find

Applying to graduate schools now, Belluomini aims to pursue a Ph.D. in chemistry and says she likely will remain in academia. Whatever path she takes, she hopes to mentor and inspire more women to pursue the fields of science.

Those who know her say she’s already doing that.

“She is not only a brilliant classroom student, but she is also uniquely creative in research,” said Ralph Wheeler, professor and Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry chair. Wheeler nominated Jill Belluomini for the Lincoln Laureate Award. Source: Northern Illinois University

Among an endless list of activities and involvement on campus, Belluomini has served as a Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) tutor as part of ACCESS Tutoring and Support Services. A University Honors student, twice awarded as an Honors Scholarshe’s also part of NIU’s Belong in STEM Scholars Program. She’s volunteered for STEMFest and serves as president of NIU’s Alpha Chi Sigma Delta Nu chapter and as a member of the NIU Chemistry Club.

She’s done all this while not only taking dance classes, but also performing in several shows. Having grown up dancing at Cary-Grove Performing Arts Centre, she taught there after high school. The studio became “her second home.”

“More impressive than simply being the top student in several classes is the range of fields she has mastered,” Sunderlin said of Belluomini, who has a near-perfect GPA. “Even in the sciences, it is rare to find a student who is equally adept at the biological side of chemistry and the mathematical/physical side.”“I don’t know where Jill finds the time to do her highest-quality classwork, involvement in departmental activities with both chemistry and dance, and her outreach activities (not to mention a job),” said Lee Sunderlin, Ph.D., associate professor and director of undergraduate studies for the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

‘Uniquely creative’

Sunderlin and Belluomini’s research mentor, Ralph Wheeler, Ph.D., professor and Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry chair, nominated her for the Lincoln Laureate Award.

Wheeler asked Belluomini to join his research team during her first year at NIU. Interested in computational chemistry, Belluomini’s research involves analyzing the structure of a protein and its mutation.

“That’s the bare bones idea of what I’m doing,” she said.

There’s so much more, though.

“I wanted to help discover things and learn more. It was more about never wanting to stop learning and helping other people learn,” Jill Belluomini said of her decision to pursue chemistry at NIU. Source: Northern Illinois University

“Jill Belluomini owes her success as a student and a researcher to hard work, an excellent memory, exceptional problem-solving skills and extraordinary creativity,” Wheeler wrote in his nomination.

“She is not only a brilliant classroom student, but she is also uniquely creative in research. As a second-year college student, Jill already showed skills that I would expect from a mature graduate student.”

While dance naturally allows her to express herself, so does her research, she said.It’s that hard work and creativity that connects Belluomini’s two loves.

“With research, you have to be really creative, and I don’t think people realize that as much,” she said. “You have to think about a problem in one sense and then you have to think about how you want to solve it. There are a lot of things that don’t go right. Dance has helped my creativity grow.”

Encouraged to go to NIU by Marchiori, who doubled majored in performing arts and communications at NIU, Belluomini said she’s felt as valued in NIU’s School of Theatre and Dance as the chemistry department.

“Dance is more than just a hobby to me,” she said. “It really is a part of who I am. Being able to continue dancing here is amazing. They treat their minors like majors.”

Although the Lincoln Laureate Award came as a shock to her, those who know her say it’s no surprise really. “I think the discipline and hard work is really naturally to her,” Marchiori said. “It’s just who she is.”

NIU’s 2020 Lincoln Laureate finalists and nominees:

• Matt McCoy of Downers Grove, first finalist. Double-major of mechanical engineering and music performance-jazz. McCoy excelled both inside and outside the classroom as part of NIU’s nationally ranked Supermileage team, the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology’s 3D Maker SpaceNIU’s Jazz Ensemble, the McKearn Fellows Program, the Mechanical Engineering Honors Society Pi Tau Sigma and more. McCoy’s nomination included nine recommendation letters from faculty both in the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology and the NIU School of Music, as well as his academic advisor and professional connections he’s made through an internship and his extensive involvement on campus. “Clearly it takes something special to be able to do all of that academic, technical, artistic, research and professional work simultaneously,” wrote Nicholas Pohlman, assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

• Brooke Lavite of Waterman, finalist. Double-major of English with a literature track and philosophy. Among her many achievements, activities and awards, Lavite has earned numerous scholarships and won the Baker Prize for Best Undergraduate Essay twice. She has served as treasurer of the Sigma Tau Delta English Honors Society, editor-in-chief (2019-20) and managing editor (2018-19) for the student-run Stonehouse Academic Journal and a member of the Committee to Improve Undergraduate Academic Excellence. “Occasionally a department is gifted one of those students whose dedication, drive and knowhow make her essential to the connectedness, production and well-being of the student-body as a whole. How, we find ourselves asking, will we get on without her? Brook Lavite has most definitely become that student for the English Department over the past several years,” wrote Ryan Hibbett, assistant professor of English.

• Claire Miller of Rockton, finalist. Double-major of political science and philosophy, double-minor of history and communications. An NIU Presidential Scholarship winner in 2017 and awarded the NIU Congressional Internship Scholarship in 2020, Miller has been part of the University Honors Program, the NIU Competitive Debate Team, the Competitive Forensics Team, the NIU Federal Relations Intern program, the Model United Nations and more. She also serves as the undergraduate representative on the NIU Presidential Commission on the Status of Women. “Her academic record is as strong as they come; she has an extensive record of co- and extracurricular successes; and she has been a humble and selfless leader on campus in ways that could be, but should NOT be, overlooked,” wrote J. Mitchell Pickerill, chair of the Department of Political Science.

• Brad Beyer of McHenry, nomineeEconomics major, biological sciences minor. Speaker of the Student Government Association Senate, Beyer’s involvement and service to the community stand out, along with his academic record. He’s the Balanced Man Scholarship Chairman for Sigma Phi Epsilon, ambassador for the NIU Foundation’s Huskies United, vice president of the Economics Student Association and the Economic Department’s representative to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Student Advisory Council. “Brad has demonstrated a great deal of commitment and loyalty to NIU by his efforts to enhance the experience for students here,” wrote  Carl Campbell III, professor and chair of the Economics Department.

• Mark Raupp of Crystal Lake, nomineeHistory major and part of the Secondary Educator Teacher Training Program. Raup served in the U.S. Navy from 1992-98. A returning student after working as a development manager for an insurance company for six years, Raupp came to NIU to “realize a dream of becoming a teacher, of mentoring students to appreciate the value of history and helping them to connect past and present,” wrote Rosemary Feurer, associate professor in the History Department. He was a student teacher at Woodstock North High School this year and provided seminar and ongoing instruction on tactile learning for visually impaired student in his teaching cohort at NIU. He won NIU’s Student Engagement Fund Award and the Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society Golden Key Award in 2019.

This article originally appeared on niu.edu.