Blake Wood
Publish Date

The University of Illinois Springfield is proud to announce “Making Our History: Artists Render Lincoln’s Legacies,” an innovative physical and digital art exhibit funded by the University of Illinois Presidential Initiative: Expanding the Impact of the Arts and Humanities. Presented in conjunction with the UIS Center for Lincoln Studies, the UIS Visual Arts Gallery, the Springfield Art Association and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, “Making Our History” is the culmination of a yearlong virtual residency project.

Over the past year, 20 Illinois artists have been in a virtual residency with the UIS Center for Lincoln Studies to create 20 original artworks on Lincoln’s legacies under the guidance of Professors Graham A. Peck and Brytton Bjorngaard. The art will be exhibited at UIS Visual Arts Gallery, the Springfield Art Association and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library from Thursday, Aug. 11 through Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022. Accompanying the art will be twenty professionally produced short videos documenting the artistic process and the artists’ interpretations of Lincoln’s legacies.

Opening receptions will be held at all three locations on Thursday, Aug. 11. A reception will be held from 4:30-7 p.m. at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, from 5-7:30 p.m. at the Springfield Art Association and from 5:30-8 p.m. at the UIS Visual Arts Gallery.

The artists have been selected from throughout the state and their work varies in form, method, concept and perspective. The exhibit will showcase original paintings, sculptures, prints, photography, virtual reality, conceptual and video art. The artists will address the many Lincolns that inhabit our culture and speak to us still: the frontier Lincoln, the family man, the politician, the military chieftain, the emancipator, the icon, the saint, the pop culture figure and cultural artifact, the Land of Lincoln and Lincoln’s still resounding political legacy. Visitors to the exhibit will leave with a new appreciation for Lincoln, and a newfound visual and conceptual vocabulary with which to think about his legacy.

Artists participating in the exhibit are William Blake, Julie Cowan, Keenan Dailey, David Hinds, Danny Houk, Larsen Husby, Jordan Fein, Lori Fuller, Industry of the Ordinary (Adam Brooks & Mathew Wilson), Lindsay Johnson, Kelly Kristin Jones, Judith Joseph, Judith Mayer, Alexander Martin, Mark Nelson, Nathan Peck, Don Pollack, Krista Shelton, Corey Smith and Billie Theide.

To culminate the exhibit, Adam I.P. Smith, the Edward Orsborn professor of U.S. politics and political history at the University of Oxford, will speak on Lincoln’s legacy Sept. 13 in a free public lecture at UIS.

The three venues especially welcome visits by K-12 teachers and their students. After the close of the physical exhibit, age-appropriate curriculum projects that address state standards will be built into a digital “Making Our History” exhibit to provide teachers throughout the state with engaging and accessible curriculum about Lincoln’s legacies.

The UIS Visual Arts Gallery is centrally located on the UIS campus in the Health and Science Building, room 201 (HSB 201). Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

The Springfield Art Association’s M.G. Nelson Family Gallery is located at 700 N. 4th St. in Springfield. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library is located at 112 N. 6th St. in Springfield. It is open 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For more information, visit the UIS Center for Lincoln Studies website or the Visual Arts Gallery website. Questions may be directed to Graham A. Peck at 217-206-8683 or, or the UIS Visual Arts Gallery at 217-206-6506 or

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