BenU at Mesa campus gets a new look after students install interpretive works

May 15, 2015

Comm Arts exhibit (snow) MAY2015Mesa, Arizona ~ Pollution in the Pacific. Fun with photos. The beauty of snow. Racism. Schizophrenia. Beach bumming.

The Benedictine University at Mesa campus became an art gallery recently, displaying the interpretive works of Fine Arts and Communication Arts students on a variety of topics under the direction of assistant professors Dan Fine and Michael Tole. The Benedictine teachers dubbed their program “Manifest 225,” which refers to the address of the former Southside Hospital building turned Gillett Hall classroom facility.
“The event was intended to showcase the excellent work of current BenU students to the Arizona community,” Tole said. “While showing off the talent and ability of our students, it also provided them with the practical experience of planning, curating, installing, advertising and hosting a public art exhibition.

“This is an experience most art students do not have until graduate school, and is an example of what sets Benedictine University apart,” he added. “We intend for the exhibit to be a regular feature each academic year at BenU Mesa. The event teaches our students that art is a form of communication, and as such, no artwork is complete until it has been seen publicly.”
Among the benefits of such events is that they allow students to develop knowledge, insights, problem-solving skills, self-confidence and a passion for learning.

“Benedictine University at Mesa faculty are committed to giving students cross-disciplinary experiences such as this event combining Fine Arts and Communication Arts,” Fine said. “Exposing students to other disciplines, even those closely related to their own, broadens their collaborative, critical-thinking and people skills.”

The event is also an opportunity for students to showcase their work to other students and the public.

“There were many benefits to this project,” Tole said. “First, it served as a strong motivating factor for students to make work. Most student artwork is never seen outside the classroom. The opportunity to show their work publicly, not just to peers, but to the community at large, raised the artistic stakes for Benedictine students.

“Secondly, it provided practical experience in how to curate, install and market an art exhibition,” he added. “It is rare in undergraduate education that freshman and sophomore students receive any training or experience in this essential skill. Some of our students even sold artwork to the public through the show. “

The project was a positive experience for the entire Benedictine community, Tole said.

“Transforming the communal space and showcasing student work throughout the building has brought the campus to life in a way that has been infectious and has really created a sense of community,” he said. “Students were able to gain feedback on their work from peers, staff, faculty and the public, learning insightful practical lessons that extend beyond the classroom.”

For more information about Benedictine University at Mesa, please visit, contact or (602) 888-5533. The University is accepting applications for fall 2015 enrollment.


Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has a branch campus in Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls more than 5,000 students in undergraduate and graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the eighth consecutive year in 2018. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission ( For more information, contact (630) 829-6300, or visit

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