Edward Komechak was born in Gary, Indiana, in 1932.
He came to Lisle, Illinois in 1946 to attend St. Procopius Academy and he graduated from what is now Benet Academy, and then St. Procopius College in 1954. He entered the monastery at St. Procopius Abbey and was ordained a Catholic priest in 1959, taking the name 'Michael'.
Fr. Michael Komechak, O.S.B. earned a Master of Arts degree in literature at the University of Notre Dame in 1961 and in 1965, he was asked to oversee the planning of the new St. Procopius Abbey church and monastery. Fr. Michael advocated for Chicago architect Edward Dart to design the new building, which was dedicated in 1968. St. Procopius Abbey Church and Monastery has since been awarded numerous architectural and design awards.
In 1978, Fr. Michael earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Cardinal Stritch College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and soon after, he established the Department of Fine Arts at Illinois Benedictine College previously know as St. Procopius College. During his time at IBC he served as chair of the Department of Fine Arts and he, also, taught English.
The University Art Collection began as an effort to enhance the cultural experience of the students and the community at IBC. Fr. Michael believed that art should be a part of our everyday lives and should enhance our natural and constructed environment. Because of this belief, Fr. Komechak was able to amass a highly eclectic and diverse collection that is now well over 4000 pieces of artwork.
In 2009, Fr. Michael E. Komechak, O.S.B. passed away at the age of 77.
His dream was to have an professional art gallery space established at Benedictine University which would allow for exhibitions along with adequate and appropriate archival and storage space that would sufficiently serve as storage of this large collection.
In 2013, Benedictine University dedicated the Fr. Michael E. Komechak, O.S.B. Art Gallery which is located on the fifth floor of the Kindlon Hall of Learning.
M.F.A. Illinois State University, Normal, IL
M.S. Illinois State University, Normal, IL
B.F.A. Miami University, Oxford, OH
Workshops - The Campbell Center for Preservation Studies, Mt. Carroll, IL
Parker has gained recognition as an artist, curator, educator, and writer. She has exhibited her artwork throughout the United States, Asia and Latin America; and is the recipient of numerous awards, including grants from the National Endowment of Humanities, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and the Illinois Art Council.
Parker has earned acclaim through her curatorial experiences with several galleries, including Curtis Allen Turner Fine Arts (Chicago), Founding Director of Parker Press, Curator/Interim Director for Elmhurst Art Museum, Director/Curator of the Crown Center Gallery at Loyola University Chicago, and currently is Curator of the Fr. Michael E. Komechak, O.S.B. Art Gallery, Exhibitions and University Art Collections at Benedictine University. In addition to curating over one hundred fifty exhibitions of contemporary art for galleries, universities and museums, Parker has curated several international exhibitions and has worked with the Consulate Generals of India, Slovakia, Spain and Switzerland.
Parker’s continuing interest in the rights of women and children compelled her to work as Art Consultant for AKTSinc., and she was Founding Director of the Coral Rose Foundation, a not-for-profit organization devoted to the social and artistic preservation of indigenous cultures. Parker now teaches art and art history at College of DuPage and Benedictine University, she is Director of Ochosi Editions, a networking resource for printmakers, and she is Director/Writer for That’s Inked Up, a blog on contemporary printmaking.