University of St. Francis art department thrives at historic Rialto complex

February 9, 2010

The arts are an important tradition at the University of St. Francis. Now, the university inspires the bold expression of today’s artists at its Rialto City Center campus, which opened at the beginning of this school year.

The university offers a distinctive educational experience for students in its Art & Design Department by creating a synergy—real-world experience, energetic urban environment and historical setting. This is made possible by new facilities created in the historic Rialto Square Theatre building in Joliet’s city center.

The project has received unprecedented community support, and the university continues to discuss expanding its presence in the downtown area, according to USF President Michael J. Vinciguerra.

“The unique partnerships that made this project a reality will enhance the redevelopment of the downtown and near westside,” he said.

At USF’s Rialto City Center Campus, two floors are dedicated to art and design. Each classroom and workspace is designed to meet the needs of art students working in a variety of mediums, such as ceramics, drawing, painting, sculpture, wood, 2-D graphics and photography. Exhibition space within the learning complex is provided. A street side gallery is planned to house works by students, faculty, alumni and visiting artists.

One of the most exciting components, according to the president, is that individual artist studios are available to upperclassmen.

“This hugely benefits students and is something not commonly available in university art programs,” Vinciguerra said.

Access to the Rialto City Center Campus is easy from both the USF’s main campus and the greater Chicago area. Metra train service is just a short walk away at Joliet’s Union Station. A shuttle between the main campus to the Rialto City Center campus and downtown attractions is also provided by USF in partnership with PACE.

Be part of the distinctive Art & Design experience at the City Center campus. Call (800) 735-7500 or visit to arrange a campus visit and learn more about the university’s Art & Design programs.

The University of St. Francis in Joliet serves 3,600 students nationwide, offering 38 undergraduate programs, four degree-completion programs and 12 graduate programs, along with a doctorate in nursing practice. Programs are offered in arts and science, business, education, nursing and health care and social work. For information, call (815) 735-7500 or visit