Welcome to the USF Art Gallery

Gallery Hours:
Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

25 E. Van Buren St., Joliet, IL 60432

Jennifer Moore – jmoore@stfrancis.edu

Kelly Reaves: Pushing a Slug up a Mudslide

On Exhibit: February 8-March 19, 2024z
Artist Talk: February 13 at 1 p.m.

Kelly Reaves is an interdisciplinary artist living and working in Chicago. She received her BFA in studio art from SAIC in 2007, and a MA in Arts Journalism from SAIC in 2010. Pushing a Slug up a Mudslide offers viewers an immersive experience where Kelly’s fascination with the natural world and her perpetual inner dialogue intersect. Through the meditation-driven, intuitive creation of her work, Kelly seeks to attain mental clarity while stimulating the audience’s own explorations of self-reflection. Reaves adeptly simulates and warps the perception of three-dimensional space within the two-dimensional pieces, confounding traditional notions of depth. This intentional disruption compels viewers to examine their own perspective and prompts a deeper exploration of the work’s enigmatic qualities.

Gallery Showcase

USF Students: A Call for Art

The gallery seeks artwork for the 2024 USF All-Student Exhibition & Competition.
The exhibition is open to all enrolled USF students, in any major.
Click here for the flyer and click here to enter the exhibition.

Past Exhibitions

USF High School Exhibition & Competition

Exhibit Dates: January 13-25, 2024Reception & Awards: January 13, 2023Click here to view winners and participants!

USF High School Exhibition & Competition


Paul Erschen: Leach Field 
Exhibit Dates: August 24-October 6, 2023 
Reception: Thursday, August 24, 2023 from 5-7 p.m.
Born in 1975, in Aurora, Ill., Paul Erschen lives and works in Chicago, Ill. Erschen earned a BFA in Painting & Drawing from Northern Illinois University (1998) and an MFA in Painting & Drawing from The Ohio State University (2000). Paul has taught in the Art & Design Department at USF since 2001 and is currently a Professor of Visual Art and Art & Design Department Chair. For “Leach Field,” Erschen presents a solo exhibition of painting, sculpture, and prints informed by midwestern post-industrial and agricultural environments.

Heather Cox: Unleashed Play
Heather Cox considers herself part of the lineage of nontraditional printmakers using visual language of print and an emphasis on surface as a starting point for exploration and play. Cox combines printed paper, fabric, and string, sometimes fusing the materials together with encaustic wax. Installation is also a way to get the viewer involved. She wants guests to feel comfortable walking under and around the piece, noticing where shadows emerge, or gaze through a ripped surface to see what is hidden behind it. Her intention is for the viewer to be present with the work and comfortable getting close and questioning what they see with a kind of naïve curiosity that parallels her own carefree approach to making with automatic drawings and vibrant hues.

University of St. Francis Illinois High School Art Exhibition & Competition
GRAND PRIZE – $10,000 USF Art & Design Scholarship: Lesley Catalan, Joliet Central High School. BEST OF SHOW – PAINTING: Hanna Rasmussen, Lockport Township High School. BEST OF SHOW – PHOTO: Julian Ruiz, Joliet Central High School. BEST OF SHOW – SCULPTURE: Jasmin Salcido, Joliet Central High School. BEST OF SHOW – WORKS ON PAPER: Ghena Moteb, Harold L. Richards High School. BEST OF SHOW – DIGITAL/OTHER: Yarissa Vila, Lockport Township High School. View complete list of participants here! (PDF)

carol thornerContemplations and Ruminations: What Will People Think? by artist-photographer, Carol Thorner.
“Contemplations and Ruminations: What Will People Think?” is a culmination of years of self-introspection and the desire to question societal norms. Thorner uses her own painful experiences of not fitting in to address difficult topics such as identity, self-acceptance and relationships.

USF Alumni Art Exhibition
On Exhibit August 25 – September 29, 2022
Opening Reception: Thursday, August 25, 2022, 6-8pm

Megan Altmyer (2013), Jessica Baron (2013), Roger Carlson (2006), Jessica Cuevas (2014), Katia Hunt (2019), Sydney Jarrard (2019), Christopher Jones (2015), Dora Moore (2008), Meghann O’Hara (2001), Autumn Panzera (2011), Boris Peshev (2016), Joe Santillo (2017), Egzon Shaqiri (2014), Marguerite Stoiber (1973), Lauren Tuider (2020), Odessa Villarreal (2021), and Ryan Wolfe (2004).

Sherri Denault From a WhirlwindFROM A WHIRLWIND, an immersive installation by artist, Sherri Denault. Denault creates patterns and textures that often resemble something found in nature – the flow of a stream or the wind rustling through leaves. Gallery visitors will be greeted with embellishments of thread, stitching and knots that becomes an immersive sensory experience for the viewer allowing them to question what lies just below the surface of perception.

JOHN SPOMARReverse Scheimpflug & Private Musings​

USF Art Gallery is pleased to welcome John P. Spomar III: Reverse Scheimpflug & Private Musings. Spomar was formally trained in the photographic fine arts, but real life experiences shaped this body of work. Spomar’s work, a collection of alternative process photographs, is a collection of images created as an outlet for his creative mind and used to explore the many facets and nuances of the photographic processes available. Spomar holds both his B.A. and M.A. degrees in photography from Governors State University.

chicago portrait projectThe Chicago Portrait Project at the University Of St Francis Art Gallery

The exhibition is on display August 23 – October 5, 2021 at the University of St. Francis Art Gallery located at 25 E. Van Buren St., Joliet.

The Chicago Portrait Project is a collection of artist, Chester Alamo-Costello’s work. The exhibition stems from Alamo-Costello’s 2018 book, “Somewhere In-Between Chicago”. The exhibition is a collection of portraits of artists, musicians, and casual passerby contrasted with imagery made in city streets and fringe environments since the mid-1990s. These works offer insight into the city as a creative environment and the various of socio-political issues encountered over the past 30+ years.

There will be over 200+ artworks: photography, paintings, 3-dimensional works, journals, literature, and videos, in a range of media, documentary to experimental.

The Chicago Portrait Project is supported by an Illinois Arts Council grant. These funds were used to produce the exhibition and employ USF students, Austin Hines and Odessa Villarreal.

Chester Alamo-Costello is an American artist, educator, publisher and writer based in Chicago, Illinois. He is most known for his long-running, international “Art Drop” series (1998–), which place art into non-traditional settings, such as public parks, and for his photographic books, whose work has been noted for its rawness and everyday immediacy. He has primarily shown his work in the public domain in countries throughout Europe, the United States and Canada; he has also had exhibits at the Museum of Contemporary Photography and the Hyde Park Art Center. His photography and projects have been reviewed or published in the Chicago Sun-TimesChicago Tribune Magazine, De Telegraaf (Amsterdam),The Globe and Mail (Canada), New Art Examiner, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago Magazine, Nerve, and on Chicago Public Radio. Alamo-Costello’s books of photography, art and writing include: Somewhere In-Between Chicago (2018), The Globe (2010), and Grandpa Danny (2008). Alamo-Costello is also the publisher of, and a contributor to, The COMP Magazine, a digital art and design journal. He is a professor and former chair of the Department of Art and Design at the University of St. Francis in Joliet, Illinois.

art gallerySenior Thesis Exhibition 2021

2021 Senior Thesis Exhibition features the work of 6 graduating seniors from the Department of Fine Arts at the University of St. Francis. Working across a variety of media, these artists explore themes unique to each of them. As the culmination of their journey at the University of St. Francis, this exhibit not only reflects the skills gained from their time as a student but also their personal growth as artists.

The exhibition is on display April 30 – July 30, 2021 at the University of St. Francis Art Gallery located at 25 E. Van Buren St., Joliet. Public reception is on Friday, April 30, 2021, 6-8pm.

Exhibiting students: Amber Daraska, Austin Hines, Jamie Stolfo, Lauren Tuider, Maria Cruz Uceda, Odessa Villarreal

  • Amber Daraska – Photography
    Amber is a Chicago area native who enjoys photographing in black and white. She aims to capture the purest, most suspenseful moments on camera.
  • Austin Hines – Studio Art
    Austin’s work does not aim to comfort. Rather, his work consists of large scale paintings depicting figures screaming. His works are large and unruly and in your face. Each painting forces viewers to face discomfort and anguish. Interested in making work that can evoke various reactions, Austin paints with more aggressive strokes, building up more expression leading to reaction. Each individual painting is named after a subject that causes some to experience mental discomfort or anguish.
  • Jamie Stolfo – Studio Art
    Jamie has always had a love for art. Her work explores her love for illusions and puzzles. Jamie will be starting the masters of art program at Marywood University in Scranton, PA in the fall.
  • Lauren Tuider – Graphic Design
    Lauren Tuider works in luxury fashion resale management with a focus on sustainability, digital marketing, and eCommerce. Passionate about bringing sustainable fashion to the general public through quality resale clothing options and positive service. Additional professional experience in graphic design with a focus on commercial marketing, photo editing, and branding.
  • Maria Cruz Uceda – Graphic Design
    Born and raised in Madrid, Spain, Maria Cruz Uceda is a graphic design major who couples interest in urban culture (art, fashion, music) with her innate skills as an athlete. For her 2021 Art & Design thesis, Maria produced a series of branding materials that include the reimaging of Thomas Coffee’s logo/trademark, uniforms, shop interiors, and packaging design.
  • Odessa Villarreal – Studio Art and Graphic Design
    Odessa Villarreal is a studio artist and graphic designer based in the Chicagoland area. Odessa experiments with painting, screen printing, graphic design and photography. Her work combines unique designs and abstract ideas.

KINDRED SPIRITS: Kathie Shaw & Corey Postiglione
October 8-November 30, 2020

USF Art Gallery welcomes KINDRED SPIRITS, work by artists, Kathie Shaw and Corey Postiglione. Shaw and Postiglione, a husband and wife team who share a studio space, closely collaborate on art-making processes as well as philosophical meaning, visual exploration and messaging.

KINDRED SPIRITS explores painting as a tool of expression and how the process of painting can clarify meaning and satisfy the needs of the artist. In a period of intense commercialism and sign value, Shaw and Postiglione’s work challenges the viewer to experience the joy and passion painting enables. KINDRED SPIRITS investigates the pure satisfaction of creating tangible works of art that reflects the individuals’ thought process.

Join us for an artist talk on Wednesday, October 14, 1:15pm. Space is limited, registration required. To register, email your request to jmoore@stfrancis.edu

Exhibition: MUSE – Niki Grangruth & James Kinser

August 25 – September 25, 2020

Muse, a collaborative body of work by artists Niki Grangruth and James Kinser, explores issues of non-conforming gender identity by reimagining and reinterpreting well-known paintings from art history. The photographs, sets, and costumes are all carefully constructed to reflect a painterly aesthetic.  With art history as a foundation that grounds the work in the familiar and comfortable, each piece nods to the notion that history tends to be repeated in an organic and cyclical manner. 

The use of a male subject, gaze, and costumes questions common gender-specific beauty ideals, disrupts the social construct of binary gender identity, and explores gender as a non-linear and ever-changing construct. The photographs also document a process of gender play – a conscious hybridization of hyper-feminine and masculine as a way of exploring the fluid, performative, and sometimes dichotomous, elements of identity.


Niki Grangruth (b. St. Paul, MN) is a photo-based artist working in Chicago, IL. Her imagery explores issues of performative gender identity, beauty ideals and the reinterpretation of art history. Her work is influenced by pervasive archetypes found in cultural texts, art history,  mythologies and folklore.

Her work has been exhibited nationally at museums and galleries such as the Center for Fine Art Photography, the Indianapolis Art Center, the Kinsey Institute Gallery and the Zhou B. Art Center. Grangruth received her B.A. in Studio Art and English from Saint Olaf College in Northfield, MN and her M.F.A. in Photography from Columbia College Chicago. 


James Kinser is a Chicago-based multimedia artist. Combining performance and costume design, his work currently explores idiosyncratic expressions of identity that challenge the traditional male/female construct of gender. Previously, his work has addressed the relationship between the body, spirituality, and sexuality–all topics which continue to be incorporated into his work.

James earned an MA (2005) in Interdisciplinary Art at Columbia College Chicago and a BA (1997) in Art Education and Fine Art from Bethany College in Lindsborg, KS.

Girl with a Pearl Earring (after Vermeer) 2009, laminated inkjet print
Ophelia (after Millais) 2013, laminated inkjet print
Odalisque (after Ingres) 2009, laminated inkjet print


2020 USF Art & Design Senior Thesis
May 1–August 20, 2020
Reception: Friday, May 1, 2019 from 6-8 p.m.
Senior Thesis Art Gallery

2020 USF Student Art Exhibition

usf student art galleryApril 1–April 13, 2020
Reception & Breakfast with the USF President and Dean: Thursday, April 2, 2020 at 10:30 a.m.

USF Gallery is proud to host the annual St. Francis Student Artist Exhibition. The exhibition is open to all USF students, any major. All are welcome to join us for a light breakfast with USF President Arvid Johnson and College of Arts & Sciences Dean Elizabeth Davies on Thursday, April 2, 2019 at 10:30 a.m. Winners and scholarship awards will be announced at the breakfast

Guest Curator: Professor Paul Erschen
February 3–March 20, 2020

USF Art & Design Department’s 2019-2020
Illinois High School Art Competition & Exhibition

usf high school art competition

  • Deadline to submit: November 27, 2019
  • Drop off work: December 3 and 4, 2019, 3pm-6pm
  • Exhibition Dates: January 14 – January 30, 2020
  • Reception & Awards: January 18, noon-2pm
  • Portfolio Review: January 18, 2020

2019 Collegiate Scholarship Art Exhibition

October 1 – November 20, 2019
Reception: Saturday, October 5, 2019, noon-2pm

Exhibiting Artists: Celine Alonzo, Ashley August, Priscilla Candelas, Simon Cantor, Alondra Cruz, Alyssa Devine, Nathan Estrada, Torie Knibbs, Megan Kolcz, Stacy Lord, Joseph Lord, Vilma Maciulyte, Katie Maloney, Mely Meraz, Delaney O’Rourke, Kallyn Perich, Sydney Rastrullo, Angelina Tomeczko, and Daniella Vinchery

USF Art Gallery welcomes community college students from across the nation in this juried exhibition. Scholarship and cash prizes will be awarded.

2019 Senior Thesis Exhibition

senior thesis logoApril 26–August 12, 2019 
Reception: Friday, April 26, 2019 from 6-8 p.m.

Exhibiting Seniors: Katia Hunt, Sydney Jarrard, Autumn Lee, Elias Martinez, Kelly McElroy, Leah Morrow, Nick Phillish, Rachel Rivette, Jordan Tiritilli


  • Grand Prize – USF Art & Design Scholarship – Worth $10,000*
  • Best of Show, Painting – $100
  • Best of Show, Photography – $100
  • Best of Show, Sculpture – $100
  • Best of Show, Works on Paper – $100 
  • Best of Show, Digital/Other – $100
  • Honorable Mention(s) – $25

One grand prize will be awarded to an eligible high school senior in the form of a University of St. Francis Art & Design Scholarship, worth $10,000*. Best of show awards and honorable mentions will be awarded (in the form of Visa gift cards) in the following categories: Painting, Sculpture, Photography, Drawing/Works on Paper, Digital/Other. Winners will be announced at the reception in January. Students must claim their prizes in person at the USF Art Gallery.

The University of St. Francis Art & Design Scholarship is a four-year renewable scholarship awarded to one student entering a qualified program in the Art & Design Department at USF in the next academic year (following the competition’s academic year) worth a total of $10,000. The Talent Scholarship is stackable with other scholarship/grant awards at the University of St. Francis, Joliet.


All submitting artists must be attending high school in the competition’s academic year and be residents of Illinois.

To be eligible for the $10,000 Grand Prize Scholarship, students must be seniors in the competition’s academic year, and will be required to upload a digital portfolio (5-10 works) and a one-page statement explaining why they would like to major in art at USF.


Deadlines will be posted when the competition dates and details are announced each year.


Drop-off, the exhibition, receptions/awards and pick-up will be held at The University of St. Francis Art Gallery, 25 E. Van Buren Street, Joliet, Ilinois 60432


In addition to the grand prize scholarship, USF also offers Art & Design “Talent” Scholarships. Faculty will be on-site during the January reception to review portfolios of seniors interested in earning a talent scholarship at USF. There are a limited number of these scholarships, and preference will be given to students who participate in the January portfolio review. Seniors interested in a portfolio review during the competition timeframe should email jmoore@stfrancis.edu to schedule an appointment. Bring five (5) or more works with you in digital or physical form.


An application link will be posted when the competition dates and details are announced each year.