Political Humor Series Features Ted Rall

Ted RallWhen Dean Pinky Wassenberg asked UIS Visual Arts Gallery Director Liz Murphy Thomas to collaborate on a series of events about Political Humor, Ms. Thomas knew immediately that a political cartoonist would foster the perfect kind of debate and discussion. Liz contacted Ted Rall, a nationally syndicated cartoonist and columnist who is known for examining issues across ideological boundaries and is critical of many different viewpoints.

Dean Wassenberg was thrilled when Mr. Rall accepted our invitation as he rarely exhibits his work in a traditional gallery space. Then came the difficult task of determining which cartoons would be displayed in the UIS Visual Arts Gallery. Scouring through an online archive containing thousands of Rall cartoons published since 1991, Liz Murphy Thomas selected approximately 40 pieces encompassing a wide range of topics and political periods. The selected works were then enlarged and printed to prepare them for display. In support of the College of Public Affair’s commitment to sustainability, Murphy Thomas printed the editorial cartoons on 100% recycled paper.

Ted RallOn February 26, 2009 Ted Rall gave a lively talk in Brookens Auditorium as part of the UIS Engaged Citizenship Common Experience (ECCE) Speakers Series. A reception in Gallery followed the talk.

The following day, Friday February 27, Rall participated in the Political Art in the Public Sphere series where he gave a talk about his inspirations and encouraged students to participate in social and political issues through art.

Community reactions to the series were very positive. Visitors were impressed that the University and the Visual Arts Gallery could bring a nationally known artist of Ted Rall’s caliber to Springfield. Events were well attended, bringing over 200 guests to campus.

The College of Public Affairs and Administration was proud to host an event of this significance. Special thanks to Gallery Director Liz Murphy Thomas, Political Art in the Public Sphere Coordinator Richard Gilman-Opalsky and the Office of Undergraduate Education for their efforts in this very successful collaboration.