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UIS to host panel discussion of artist Preston Jackson and his work

September 15, 2006

"Travels of My Seven Sisters," by Preston Jackson, is currently on display at the UIS campus.

SPRINGFIELD – The University of Illinois at Springfield will host a panel discussion of the life and work of sculptor Preston Jackson beginning at 7 p.m. Thursday, October 5, in Brookens Auditorium, located on the lower level of Brookens Library on the UIS campus. A reception hosted by the UIS Alumni Association will immediately follow the discussion at 8:30 p.m. in the Public Affairs Center restaurant. The UIS Visual Arts Gallery will also be open after the discussion to allow participants to view some of Jackson’s works firsthand. The panel presentation, the exhibit, and the reception are free and open to the public.

Jackson’s work is currently the subject of Bearing Witness: The Art of Preston Jackson, on display at the Illinois State Museum, Prairie Art Alliance, Springfield Art Association, and UIS from September 9 through October 28. The exhibit is the first-ever citywide partnership of Springfield's four major art institutions.

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More about Preston Jackson

Mike Miller, UIS assistant professor of Visual Arts, was instrumental in bringing the exhibit to life. "Jackson is wide-ranging," said Miller. "He creates bronze figurative work, monumental steel sculptures, and small abstract pieces as well as two-dimensional work. His pieces are often politically charged, and they explore themes such as war, racism, sexism, violence, and forgotten histories.

"We have an excellent group of art historians, gallerists, curators, arts administrators, and artists assembled in this panel," Miller continued. "The fact that experts of this caliber have agreed to take part in the discussion is itself a testament to the quality of Jackson's work."

Panelists will be:

Elizabeth L. Kelley, arts administrator, art historian, and Curator of Public Art for the City of Chicago.

Sculptor Richard Hunt, whose works have been the subject of retrospective exhibits at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Michael Dunbar, arts administrator, sculptor, and director of the Illinois Capital Development Board's Art-in-Architecture Program.

Robert Sill, curator and assistant director of art at the Illinois State Museum.

Born in Decatur in 1944, Preston Jackson received his BFA from Southern Illinois University and his MFA from the University of Illinois.  In 1998 he was named a Laureate of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois, the highest honor given to individuals in the state. Jackson is a professor of sculpture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the founder of the Contemporary Art Center in Peoria. 

This program is sponsored by Ameren Corporation, the Springfield Area Arts Council, the Statehouse Inn, and the UIS Speakers' Fund.

For more information, contact Miller at 206-7469.

    The University of Illinois at Springfield, one of three U of I campuses, is a small, public liberal arts university that offers 42 degree programs – 21 bachelor’s, 20 master’s, and the Doctorate of Public Administration. UIS has a special mission in public affairs and service and is known for extraordinary internships, a wireless campus, extensive online offerings, and a commitment to teaching.