Established in the 2005-2006 academic year as a means to enrich university culture, Benedictine University's Artist in Residence program seeks to draw innovative artists to campus. The program is housed in the College of Liberal Arts, but aims to serve and enrich the experience of the entire University community.
In 2006, lithographer Cynthia Archer served as the program's first Artist-in-Residence; in the following year, the program sponsored "Corpus Delicti: Just Desserts," a theatrical meditation on the art, history, and ethics of dissection and anatomical research. In subsequent years, the University welcomed artists as diverse as Marc Kelly Smith, the internationally renowned founder of the slam poetry movement; bluesman Fruteland Jackson; Chicago writer Billy Lombardo, author of How to Hold a Woman and The Man With Two Arms; and, most recently, dancer-choreographer Emily Stein.
Whether they are literature majors, biology majors, or business majors, students from across the University have the unique opportunity to learn from and closely interact with these practicing artists in small, seminar-sized classes. At the same time, Artists in Residence publicly perform or exhibit their work every spring semester, fostering a climate of intellectual and cultural inquiry that strengthens the University community. These performances and exhibitions are also open to the general public, providing the University with an exceptional opportunity to establish itself as a destination for cultural events and thus create new relationships with members of the surrounding Chicagoland community.