Educator, artist appointed curator of extensive Benedictine art collection
October 6, 2009
Phil Brozynski, Media Relations Manager
The late Fr. Michael Komechak, O.S.B., had an insatiable passion for art. During the past few years, he grew the Benedictine University art collection into one of the largest private collections in the United States. What makes the collection so remarkable is that for years, Fr. Michael sought and received donations from artists, private collectors and galleries.
When he learned that he had terminal cancer, he also went about selecting a successor as curator of the vast art collection he cherished.
Teresa J. Parker, an artist, educator and adjunct professor at the University since 2005 who worked with Fr. Michael in the past, has been charged with keeping his legacy alive. She been appointed curator of the Benedictine Art Collection.
“We are delighted to have someone with Parker’s extensive background in art instruction and art exhibition to help fill the void left by Fr. Michael’s passing,” said Benedictine University President William J. Carroll, Ph.D. “We are confident that she can maintain and expand the collection that was Fr. Michael’s lifelong work, and share her love of art with our students.”
Parker earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Miami (Ohio) University and a Master of Fine Arts in Printmaking and Drawing from Illinois State University. She taught printmaking, drawing and design at College of DuPage for 20 years and conducted art seminars at numerous colleges and art museums throughout the Chicago area.
“I believe the arts are a vital and integral part of everyone’s existence,” Parker said. “Art remains the one form of human expression that is able to transcend language, cultural, religious and social boundaries.”
A resident of the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago’s South Side, Parker’s own work has been exhibited at numerous galleries and exhibitions in the United States and abroad including the Galerie Sevigny in Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico, Carlsten Gallery at the University of Wisconsin, Norris Galley in St. Charles and the Harold Washington Public Library in Chicago.
Parker’s curatorial experience includes overseeing several exhibitions at the Crown Center Gallery at Loyola University, the Elmhurst Art Museum in Elmhurst and Curtis Allen Turner Fine Arts in Chicago.
The Benedictine art collection contains more than 3,000 pieces including sculptures, paintings, drawings, photographs, calligraphy, ceramics and other craft and folk art pieces. Much of the collection is comprised of original prints.
The art collection has no budget. Fr. Michael sought and received donations from private collectors and art galleries.
Benedictine University is an independent Roman Catholic institution located in Lisle, Illinois just 25 miles west of Chicago. Founded in 1887, Benedictine provides 56 undergraduate majors, 16 graduate and four doctorate programs. The Chronicle of Higher Education
recently ranked Benedictine University as the seventh fastest-growing campus among private nonprofit master’s universities, and Forbes
magazine named Benedictine among the top 20 percent of America’s colleges for 2011. Benedictine University’s Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) program is listed by Crain’s Chicago Business
as the fourth largest in the Chicago area in 2011.