Past Exhibitions

Spring 2024

March 26 through May 11, 2024

Making Our History – Artists Render Lincoln’s Legacies

Rotunda and South Galleries

This exhibition was produced by University of Illinois Springfield Director of Visual Arts and professor of graphic design Brytton Bjorngaard and Wepner Distinguished Professor of Lincoln Studies Graham A. Peck.

Twenty Illinois artists in a virtual residency created paintings, sculptures, prints, photography, virtual reality, conceptual and video artwork. The artwork showcases the many sides to Lincoln that permeate our perception of the former president through each artists’ interpretation of Lincoln’s legacies: 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.

Accompanying this exhibition are video interviews produced by Storyteller Studios of Springfield that provide insight into each artists’ practice, research and project. In addition, Professor Peck has written essays that contextualize their work in relation to Lincoln history.

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

Lincoln Highway: The Main Street Across America

Hall Case Gallery

This exhibition has been curated by our program assistant Shelby Edelmann and discusses the history of the creation of the Lincoln Highway, how it shaped cross-country travel across the United States and the roots of the Lincoln Highway here in DeKalb County.

Winter 2023-2024

Nov. 14 2023 through Feb. 17, 2024

What is for Supper? What is a Meal?

Rotunda and South Galleries

"What is for Supper? What is a Meal?" explores aspects of nurturing, socialization, health and sustainability. Geographic, cultural and economic differences may determine what is available to eat and what would be satisfying as a meal. The importance of food shared is a linchpin of hospitality and is an integral component for social dialogue to take place. Issues that threaten our food intake also threaten our greater well-being. This exhibition is curated by the NIU Art Museum Exhibition Advisory Committee.

The artists participating in this exhibition were selected from private and public collections, a national call for entry and by invitation and include: Rein Brooks, Barbara Ciurej and Lindsay Lochman, Sue Coe, Honoré Daumier, Evelyn Davis-Walker, Andrew DeCaen, J. J. Grandville, Daniel Grych, Henry Hargreaves, Tom Huck, Andrew Ellis Johnson, Christina Kang, Marina Kuchinski, Caitlyn Lawler, Laura Letinsky, Maureen O'Leary, Janelle O'Malley, JWP, Lisa Riedl, Dana Sherwood, Susanne Slavick, Neal Slavin, So Young Song, Sophia Varcados and Andy Warhol.

Food for the Soul: Belief and Healing in Burma

North Gallery

"Food for the Soul: Belief and Healing in Burma" is curated by Catherine Raymond from the Burma Art Collection at NIU. This exhibition features five sections that include explorations of food for well-being, merit-making, healing, spirituality and taboos.

Unsurpassed in Quality: Vintage Food Labels from the Collection of Peter B. Olson

Hall Case Gallery

This exhibit is in our hall case gallery and features a variety of lithographic food labels curated by the NIU Art Museum's assistant director.

Fall 2023

Aug. 29 through Oct. 14, 2023


The concept of dialogue allows for issue awareness and resolution through listening. Its goal is understanding. The artists whose work is displayed in this exhibition have worked on lens-based projects that have grown and developed organically over the years.

This exhibition will feature selections from "Lines of Authority" by Alan Cohen, "Black Box" by Michael Coppage and "The Folded Map Project" by Tonika Lewis Johnson.

The Remaining, Mourn…

"The Remaining, Mourn…" is a group exhibition addressing the experience of grieving as seen through the lens of nine artists’ practices. Through tactile artworks, they address both individual and collective loss. Holding materials as one would onto someone lost, these artists use various techniques to freeze a moment, allowing themselves time to process what remains as well as what is gone. Their materials, and the memories and emotions they evoke, become the "language" the artist use to create their own rituals to navigate grief/mourning and work toward healing.

The artists featured in this exhibition include Selva Aparicio, Michael Chambers, April Dauscha, Salvador Jiménez-Flores, Millicent Kennedy, Allen Moore, Monika Plioplyte, Nirmal Raja and Anne Wilson.


Spring 2023

March 30 through May 14, 2023

Americans in Burma: The Art of Collecting

From a sacred altar of Buddha images and manuscripts to musical instruments, textiles, silver, bronze, ivory, and lacquerware, the artworks on view tell individual American stories and their love for Burmese arts and crafts. The exhibition asks how these objects may reveal a “true” local tradition or respond by adapting to the western taste and growing souvenir market.

Local Visions II

Local Visions II is a sequel to the first Local Visions exhibition at the NIU Art Museum held in 2015. It will highlight the personal collections of objects that can be found in the homes of local residents. Many of these collectors started at a young age, making significant sacrifices to fuel their growing passion, including making down payments, paying in installments or trading either their own artwork or labor for artwork that would enrich their living environment.

NIU School of Art and Design Faculty Biennial Continuum (January 14 – March 18, extended September 8 – November 14, 2020)

NIU School of Art and Design Faculty Biennial Continuum (January 14 – March 18, extended September 8 – November 14, 2020)