FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Date: January 23, 2001

Contact: Lezli Austen

UIS Women’s Center to host body cast artist

SPRINGFIELD — The University of Illinois at Springfield’s Women’s Center will host a week of events featuring Kansas City body cast artist Larry Kirkwood, from February 5-9. On Thursday, February 8, the Women’s Center will host Every Body is Beautiful: An Evening for the Healing of Body Image. All events are free and open to the public.

The evening for the healing of body image will include remarks by Kirkwood; music by UIS student Veronica Espina; and visualization by Springfield psychotherapist, teacher, and author Judith Corvin-Blackburn. The event will take place in the Women’s Center, Student Affairs Building (SAB) room 35, and light refreshments will be served. An exhibit of women’s body casts will be on display in the center.

Kirkwood began taking casts of the human body in 1993 after decades of working as a painter and printmaker. With his first body casts, the powerful personal and cultural issues the casts evoked immediately struck him. Since that time, Kirkwood’s work has focused on challenging the way we see others and ourselves and on getting people to see the human body aesthetically and with acceptance.

"The human form as subject matter has been so twisted by commercial use, that many people can no longer view it objectively," said Kirkwood. "These exhibits give the viewers the opportunity to see for themselves that regardless of the shape and size of one’s body, the concept of ‘visual beauty’ applies."

The women’s body casts will be on display at the Women’s Center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. February 6-8. Kirkwood will be speaking on beauty as a relative concept at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, February 6, at the South Auditorium, SIU School of Medicine. He will also talk to classes at UIS and Lincoln Land Community College, and is available to speak on body image issues to other area groups.

Kirkwood’s visit to Springfield is sponsored by the UIS Women’s Center and by SIU School of Medicine. For more information, call the Women’s Center at (217) 206-7173.

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