Description of Benedictine University Art Collection

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: cgaddis@ben.edu or call 1.630.829.6320

The Curator

Theresa J. Parker

Bio Information and Photograph

Advisory Board

The Fine Arts at Benedictine University

1896 Benedictine monks purchased land in Lisle, IL
1900 Ground-breaking and cornerstone laid for St. Procopius College in Lisle
1901 Classes began
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

Office of the Curator of Exhibitions and University Art Collections
BENEDICTINE UNIVERSITY

Curator:
Teresa J. Parker
Contact:
Email: cgaddis@ben.edu
Phone: (630) 829-6320