Joliet, Ill. –  A new University of St. Francis (USF) art and design course is bringing Midwest art to students at the Sichuan University of Science and Engineering (SUSE) in China.

USF instructors Paul Erschen, MFA, Department Chair & Associate Professor of Art & Design, and Michael Chester Costello, MFA, Professor of Art & Design, launched their new course, “The American Artist: Chicago & Beyond”, this week over Zoom to a class of approximately 50 students. The course serves to introduce the students at SUSE to the diverse range of studio practices and artistic careers found in Chicago and the Midwest.

“One focus within the course will be on new media, graphic design, performance art, and video. I will be showing works by international artists, including Matthew Barney, Yayoi Kusama, Nancy Burson, Olafur Eliasson, and Nam June Paik, among others,” Costello said.

Erschen added that the new course is part of a long-range plan that includes additional courses and students eventually taking on-campus courses at USF.

“This is a pilot course and will likely lead to additional course offerings as we move forward. For now, we want to introduce students to our teaching style, our art practices, and the careers of artists in the United States,” said Erschen.

Erschen and Costello also hope to do a seminar at the SUSE in China in 2021.

Visit to learn more about the USF Art & Design program.

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Currently celebrating 100 years of higher education rooted in Franciscan values, the University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 4,000 students nationwide and offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 51,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit

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