The Central Illinois Regional Airport has collaborated with the Illinois State University’s School of Art and College of Fine Arts to open its first student art gallery.
The inaugural exhibition features ISU Master of Fine Arts students Spencer Molnar (paintings) and Mary Wilhelm (ceramics).
CIRA contacted the College of Fine Arts to turn a former shop that relocated in 2017 into a student gallery. Country Financial funded the renovation as a gift to the College of Fine Arts.
“For our visual art community that takes pride in being present for art exhibitions at the University Galleries, McLean County Arts Center, Jan Brandt Gallery, and other places, (it's) a new opportunity to engage with cutting edge, innovative, contemporary art,” said Michael Wille, director of ISU's School of Art. "Our students want to be engaged in that process as well. It’s going to help us recruit talent and students into our graduate program and continue to show the community who we are as the School of Art.”
Wille said there's an audience for ISU student artwork.
"People want to live in a community that has a vibrant cultural scene. We as a Bloomington-Normal regional community bring that to our community. We feel strongly that people want to see it and have a way to express who they are," Wille said.
This is not the first public artwork at CIRA. When CIRA's terminal building opened in 2001, art installations of local and regional artists were commissioned and included throughout the building.
“The addition of the ISU School of Art Student Art Gallery dovetails well into CIRA’s history of featuring works of art created by local and regional artists,” said Jay Allen, chairman of the Bloomington-Normal Airport Authority. “We are appreciative of Illinois State University’s partnership and the aesthetics and pleasure the gallery will bring to our passengers, visitors, and staff.”
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