Benedictine University is a private Catholic university, nestled in the west Chicago suburban community of Lisle, Illinois. Over the last forty years, the university has developed an expansive permanent art collection, which includes fine and applied arts; consisting of local, regional and internationally-recognized artists.
The permanent art collection was originally designed to enhance the Fine Arts program and its curriculum, but its scale has grown to such an extent that it has transformed the entire university into an art gallery. A majority of the collection is comprised of works on paper and original fine art prints, but it includes ceramics, paintings, sculpture, textile, mixed media, photography, drawing, religious work, kitsch and folk art. This opportunity came about because of the vision of Fr. Michael Komechak, O.S.B., who began collecting art forty years ago. Fr. Komechak saw art as a reflection of God’s Grace, and would often refer to the art collection as a teaching tool for his classes. His fascination with all forms of artistic expression lead him to collect every media, which now numbers over 3500 pieces.
In lieu of not having a university art gallery, the university appropriated various spaces on its campus over the years (in display cases and hallways) as needed. Exhibitions originated on the fourth floor of Old Ben Hall, and have since taken place in Lownik Hall, Krasa Center, and Kindlon Hall of Learning. Old Ben Hall’s fourth floor was filled with the collection until its demolition, upon which Fr. Komechak dispersed the collection throughout the campus. Since 2009, exhibition space in the first and second floors of Kindlon Hall and the display cases of Krasa Center, has provided temporary exhibits of the permanent collection, donations and acquisitions as well as artwork by students, faculty, local, national and international artists. The Benedictine University faculty are encouraged to engage the art collection as a supplement to their curriculum.
In December of 2012, the president of Benedictine University, Dr. William Carroll, announced that Benedictine University was going ahead with plans to build the Fr. Michael Komechak, O.S.B. Art Gallery on the 5th floor of Kindlon Hall of Learning. The anticipated dedication and opening of this vital and unique art gallery will occur in late summer/early fall 2013.
Anyone wishing to schedule a guided tour of the collection should contact the Office of the Curator of Exhibitions and University Art Collections, at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1.630.829.6320
Bio Information and Photograph
|1896||Benedictine monks purchased land in Lisle, IL|
|1900||Ground-breaking and cornerstone laid for St. Procopius College in Lisle|
|1910||First Bachelor of Arts degrees conferred|
|1920||Music, art and drama courses were added to the curriculum|
|1971||St. Procopius College renamed Illinois Benedictine College|
|1978||The Fine Arts Minor was established
The Fine arts Collection was begun with a donation of 400 prints from the Amoco Oil Company
|1980s||Exhibitions were held in the exhibit hall of Lownik hall and the lower level display cases of Krasa|
|1990||William Scarlato was hired to head Fine Arts program|
|1990s||A Fine Arts Core Elective was implemented throughout the university|
|1996||Illinois Benedictine College was renamed Benedictine University|
|2000||The Bachelor of Arts degree with a Studio Arts emphasis was established|
|2001||Fr. Michael Komechak, O.S.B. retires and continued to curate exhibits and add artwork to the permanent collection|
|2008||The Bachelor of Fine Arts degree was established in conjunction with College of DuPage|
|2009||Fr. Michael Komechak, O.S.B., Curator, passes away
Teresa J. Parker hired as Curator of Benedictine University Art Collections and Exhibitions
Special ceremony to dedicate the permanent art collection in Fr. Michael Komechak’s memory and name
|2010||Exhibitions expanded to first and second floors of the Kindlon Hall of Learning|
|2011||Hai Ri Han hired to head new Graphic Arts and Design program|
|2012||President William Carroll announces the new Fr. Michael Komechak O.S.B. Gallery to be installed on the fifth floor of the Kindlon Hall of Learning by August of 2013|
|2013||Opening of the Fr. Michael Komechak O.S.B. Art Gallery|