Wednesday, September 24, 2014

NIU Theatre and Dance Alumni and Faculty Collaborate on “Naughty Thoughts”

DanszLoop Chicago, under the direction of NIU School of Theatre and Dance professor of dance Paula Frasz, presents “An Evening of Naughty Thoughts,” two plays interpreted in dance, on the last three weekends in October.

Three NIU School of Theatre and Dance alumni now living and working in Chicago are joining with three of their former professors to present the world premier of this new dance/theatre mash-up. The three Northern Illinois University alumni who will take part in this performance are Alanna Nielsen (BFA - Dance Performance ’14), John Schmidtz (BA - Math/Economics 1970/MAPA 1978) will dance and act in “Of a Joy that Kills,” one of the plays featured that evening. Angela Kring (BA - Theatre Arts, 2012) will handle and oversee the stage management duties for the entire evening. Nielsen and Kring will reunite with their former NIU professors, Paula Frasz, choreographer (Dance), Melanie Parks, costumes (Associate Dean CVPA) and Lucas Krueger, playwright and director (Theatre).

DanszLoop Chicago has made a national name for itself by interpreting the written word in dance. Award-winning choreographer Paula Frasz and her troupe of acclaimed dancers present two plays by NIU and Chicago playwright Lucas Krueger. “Naughty Thoughts” portrays a girl who is tortured by the imaginary friend who makes her think inappropriate thoughts. The dance/play is a pastiche of contemporary music and modern idioms that result in a funny, yet disturbing collection of movement images.  “Of The Joy That Kills,” adapted from “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin, is set in the 1890's and shows a woman who thinks her husband is killed in a train accident. For a moment, she experiences feelings of freedom and joy. When she is told it was a mistake, her husband lives, she drops dead. Using period costumes and movement references, the quartet explores female repression and Victorian social mores.

Making this an even more unusual event is its venue. The storefront at 2155 W. Irving Park Rd, Chicago, will house the performances. Audience members will enter the storefront, be offered a beverage and then be ushered to the rear of the property where the first dance/play will be performed in the former stable. A half hour later, during the intermission, the audience will gather in the west storefront where “Of the Joy That Kills” will be presented. Each play will feature unique lighting ideas. “Naughty Thoughts” takes place in a campsite, and “Of the Joy That Kills” features period lamps that light the performance space.

Tickets at $20 are available through The Saturday, October 18 performance will include a benefit for the company. For further information visit, or call 630-391-1620.

Steel Pan Professor Earns International Award

We are pleased to announce that Liam Teague, professor of steel pan in the NIU School of Music, has been selected as a 2014 recipient of a Sunshine Award.


The mission of the Sunshine Awards is "To uplift and enhance the pride in all people of Caribbean, South American, Central American and African heritage while preserving and promoting values and culture through the recognition and rewarding of excellence in the various art forms, sports, cultural programs and education."

The Sunshine Awards Program was founded in 1989 to recognize excellence in the performing arts, education, science and sports of the various Caribbean countries. Over the years, the Program has expanded in depth and breadth, with a global view to include countries in South America, Central America and Africa.

This year there are 13 award recipients, who will receive their award in New York City on October 4. Liam will travel to the ceremony to perform as well as to receive his award.

Congratulations, Liam!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Holiday Card Contest Announced!

Open to all NIU students, the 2nd annual NIU Holiday Card Contest is now open! Sponsored by President Doug Baker, the winning entries will have their creations professionally photographed to appear on the front of a set of Holiday cards. In addition to being used for alumni, donors and friends of NIU, boxed sets of cards will be available for sale and proceeds will benefit NIU scholarship funds.

For complete details, visit the Holiday Card Contest website here.

Good Luck!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Gallery Director's Work Included in Exhibition


Peter Van Ael, Coordinator of the Olson Gallery in the NIU School of Art and Design, is one of 36 artists included in the Mid America Print Council Member's Juried Exhibition held at the Wayne State University Art Department Gallery to coincide with the annual MAPC Conference held in Detroit this year.

MAPC is one of two national organizations for printmakers, the other being the Southern Graphics Council. Both started as regional organizations and now have a national presence. NIU printmaking professor Mike Barnes is actively involved with SGC.

The exhibition was juried by Marilyn Symmes (Director, Morse Research Center for Graphic Arts & Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ). The exhibition runs from September 12 – October 17, 2014, and the Mid-America Print Council (MAPC) Conference dates are September 24 - 27.

Congratulations, Peter!

Photography Professor's Work Featured

Jessica Labatte, assistant professor of photography in the NIU School of Art and Design, has two works featured in an online exhibition entitled "New Cats in Art Photography." The exhibition is curated by Jon Feinstein for the Humble Arts Foundation in New York.

According to Mr. Feinstein, the exhibition "...will give you a glimpse into how cats make their way into the work some of today’s most challenging (and diverse) photographers."

Jessica's pieces are:

 Black Cat, 2014
archival inkjet print

Cat Toy (found at the MCA Chicago's Family Day workshop), 2014
archival inkjet print

Congratulations, Jessica!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Art Museum Announces Get on the Bus Trip to David Bowie Exhibition

The NIU Art Museum announces that the date and time are finalized for the trip to see the exhibition DAVID BOWIE IS... at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.

The bus trip will be Thursday, October 16 to go view this timed, ticketed, highly anticipated, collossal multi-media exhibition celebrating the collaborative creativity of rock legend David Bowie.

Load Bus: 1:30, NIU School of Art and Design Parking Lot

Departure: 1:45 p.m.

Return Arrival: @9:45 p.m.

Transportation and Discounted Exhibition Tickets with Audio:

    NIU Art Museum Members: $34.50   
    Student/Senior non member: $38
    Other: $45

 Registration/Payment deadline: Tuesday, 10/14/14

 We have a limited number of tickets /confirmation is based on payment.

This NIU Art Museum Get-On-The-Bus Trip is offered in conjunction with our
Gender and Identity Exhibition Suite. Member discount will be extended
to those registering through the GSRC at NIU.

For more information contact Jo Burke at

Art Graduate Student Creates Mosaic on Campus

In the spring of 2014, the NIU Office of Registration and Records approached professor Billie Giese in the School of Art and Design with an opportunity for a student to create a mural for their department entrance. Having developed a relationship over the course of the school year, Professor Giese directed them to graduate student Danielle Dobies, who regularly participates in public mosaic mural making.

During summer 2013, Danielle Dobies conducted a collaborative mosaic mural workshop with the NIU Women's Studies department during which participants learned the process, developed a design, and created a large-scale mosaic mural which now hangs in Reavis Hall on campus. Danielle Dobies is a third-year MFA candidate in the SoA with a concentration in sculpture. She developed her love of mosaics and public murals in her undergraduate career at Elmhurst College, and when this opportunity with Registration and Records arose, she gladly accepted.

The mural was created in her home studio over the course of the summer. By speaking with Registration and Records employee Candy Buie and director Jerry Montag, a concept was developed which would showcase the school mascot and highlight the campus architecture and rural setting.

To execute a mosaic mural, the final sketch is projected to scale and traced on graph paper. The resulting "cartoon" is laid upon a table and tiles are cut and placed on top, then taped in place. Once all pieces are cut and taped, the tiles can be lifted as a solid sheet and placed on a mortared concrete board. The final step is to grout and hang. The Huskie mural was installed in August just before the first week of 2014 fall classes.

Congratulations, Danielle, and thank you for making NIU offices into welcoming spaces!