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Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2009

Poignant Art Comes to Milwaukee-Area Campuses

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The city's colleges and universities regularly provide a wide variety of engaging professional and student art. That trend continues this fall, as several campus galleries open poignant, thought-provoking exhibitions.

At Cardinal Stritch University's Northwestern Mutual Art Gallery, a traveling exhibit titled "Wounded in America" opens Sept. 11. On a date remembered for violence, this exhibit interrelates the work of photographer Robert Drea and writer Stephanie Arena to raise our collective consciousness about the approximately 100,000 Americans killed or maimed by guns each year. Through photographic portraiture and interview documentation, the exhibit details the impact of residual wounds and scars, both emotional and physical, and explores how traumatic gun violence transcends newspaper headlines to form stories of perseverance.

In conjunction with this exhibition, the university will host a Gun Violence Symposium to discuss the political issues surrounding violence prevention. The symposium takes place Sept. 15, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., in the Joan Steele Stein Center for Communication Studies/Fine Arts. An Artist Talk on Sept. 24, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., features both Drea and Arena, and invites the public to ask questions about the artists' insightful but troubling art. A formal reception for the exhibit coincides with fall Gallery Night, Oct. 16, and the show continues until Nov. 1.

On Sept. 13, Mount Mary College will host the 41st annual Starving Artists' Show. The bell tower will ring at 10 a.m. to signal the opening of this popular event, which presents more than 200 artists showcasing artwork for less than $100. For $5, collectors can stroll the grounds of this charming campus until 5 p.m. to try to uncover an artistic treasure. Proceeds of the show benefit the college.

At Mount Mary College's Marian Gallery, the extraordinary exhibit "The Living Museum" opens with a reception on Nov. 1. This exhibition (through Dec. 10), honoring the college's Graduate Art Therapy Program, features a collection of art produced by people experiencing mental illnesses. An element of Art Therapy seeks to foster creativity while communicating the dignity and uniqueness of individuals facing mental challenges. The exhibit is curated by Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in Queens, N.Y., a mental health facility that founded a 40,000-square-foot art studio in 1983 to engage its population in producing, and then collecting, their prolific and profound artwork. The traveling exhibition portrays the innate value and productivity of all people, particularly those overcoming serious psychological issues.

Two other campuses are set to open notable art exhibits this fall as well. Wisconsin Lutheran College features Paula Schulze and John Bergmeier in the Schlueter Art Gallery. An Artist Lecture will precede the 6 p.m. gallery opening on Sept. 18. And Carroll University in Waukesha presents Eddee Daniel's "Accidental Art: Construction Fences in the Landscape," an exhibition of mixed media and photographs premiering Sept. 3. A closing reception takes place Saturday, Oct. 10, from 10 a.m. to noon, in the Humphrey Memorial Chapel and Art Center.