Category: Art


East Central College Awarded National Endowment for the Arts Grant

August 1, 2018 | Art Campus News Inspiring Excellence

East Central College is proud to announce it has received an Arts Engagement in American Communities (AEAC) grant from the National Endowment for the Arts!

The $10,000 matching grant will help support the annual concert series in the John Anglin Performing Arts Center for the 2018-2019 school year.

“We are proud to host world-renowned acts like the Arianna String Quartet and St. Louis Symphony every year,” said Dr. Jennifer Judd, Concert Series Coordinator and East Central College Professor of Music. “It couldn’t happen without the support of the community, the college and amazing organizations like the National Endowment for the Arts.”

The AEAC grant supports arts projects in all artistic disciplines, extending the National Endowment for the Arts’ reach to communities across the United States. These grants engage the public in diverse and excellent art in underrepresented geographic areas.

Information about upcoming concerts can be found at


East Central College Alumna Using Art Therapy to Help Patients

February 5, 2018 | Art Campus News

When she was a senior in high school, Morgaine Denison was awarded an art scholarship to East Central College. She didn’t know it at the time, but it started the St. James native down a path to helping people in need.

“Creating art has always provided a space where I feel confident that my voice is heard and understood,” she explained. “It has always been my voice and sanctuary.”

After her time at East Central College, Denison transferred to Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville.

“While I was finishing my bachelor’s degree, I had the opportunity to shadow an art therapist at a community mental and behavioral health facility,” she explained.

It was an eye-opening experience for Denison. She soon after decided to pursue a master’s degree in art therapy counseling. The degree combines the therapeutic uses of art-making with the skills of a professional counselor. Art therapy counselors are able to help people work through trauma, mental health issues, illness and challenges in living, as well as help those who seek personal insight and change.

“A common misconception is that art therapy only suited for children,” she said, “but art therapy has been proven effective among a variety of populations!”

When trauma occurs, Denison explained, the brain stores information from the event on both sides of our brain. Complications from trauma arise when people are unable to access the verbal processes in the brain. That’s when art therapy can be a useful tool.

“If we cannot speak about the experience, it makes traditional talk-therapy difficult to engage in. Art has the ability to move information from the ‘feelings part’ of our brain to the ‘speaking part’ of our brain. I feel this makes art therapy such a viable treatment modality for many,” she said.

Denison’s artwork is currently on display in the East Central College Art Gallery. Titled Art Therapy Expanded, the exhibit gives the community an inside look into art therapy. All works were created by the art therapy graduate students from Southern Illinois University—Edwardsville, as well as a few faculty members.

A reception will be held for the exhibit February 15 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. in Hansen Hall, 1964 Prairie Dell Road in Union. It will give the community a chance to interact with the artists.


Student Artwork to Appear in New York City Art Gallery

December 4, 2017 | Art Campus News

Seven East Central College students will soon have their artwork displayed in a New York City art gallery.

“Any time our students can show work it is important,” said Adam Watkins, fine and performing arts program coordinator. “It is exposure on one hand and a resume builder on the other.”

It is part of the Postcards from the Edge exhibit, a display of nearly 1400 postcard-sized pieces of art from internationally renowned and emerging artists. The identity of the artist is revealed only after the work is purchased. All proceeds go to the Visual AIDS organization –a group who utilizes art to fight AIDS by provoking dialogue, supporting HIV+ artists and preserving a legacy.

“Participating in this charity is important to me because it helps artists who suffer from the disease get back on their feet,” said student Kyle Herbert. “My postcard design was a golden skeleton on top of a coffin. I called it ‘Rebirth.’ I chose this image to give support to the other artists who suffer from the disease.”

Mary Sleeper took a different approach with her postcard. “My postcard was a photograph of a car mirror that says ‘OBJECTS IN THE MIRROR ARE LOSING.’ Whatever seems to be a problem, you just have to keep driving, keep going and overcome your problems.”

A local landmark helped spur the idea for Danika Donatti’s postcard. “My design is the St. Louis Arch with a sunset in the background. My goal is to show how widespread this project is and that every artist in the world wants to make a positive impact.”

Last year, the exhibit raised more than $94,000. Student Travis Fischer hopes his contribution can help make a difference this year.

“One of the most important things someone can do in this world is support people in need,” he said. “In the end, my hope in helping out one person, or one group, is that they can be in a healthier place in life.”

Students Azusa Lloyd and Kiersten Engel, as well as Watkins, are also submitting artwork to the exhibit. It will all be on display January 19-21 at Gallery 524 in New York City.


Art Instructor Recreates Mystery Painting in Beaufort

October 9, 2017 | Art Campus News

In 2015, East Central College Art Instructor Annette Green received a call from a friend at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Beaufort. He knew she was a skilled artist and had a project she might be interested in.

“The church had been remodeled years earlier,” said Green. “In the process of removing the old wallboard, they found hidden frescoes underneath.”

The church tried to figure out who had painted them or when, but they came up short.

“They were badly damaged,” said Green. “The church tried to find an artist to restore them, but it was just too costly.”

So, the project was scrapped. Some 22 years later, the church decided to reproduce the paintings. Green was excited to be a part of the recreation.

“As a young artist, I had grandiose ideas of painting the inside of a church, similar to Michelangelo,” she said.

When the East Central College alumna started the project, she noticed the paintings looked oddly familiar.

“After a little research, I found the original works of art were done in the 1890’s by two German artists,” said Green. “One is actually hanging in a Lutheran church in New York City courtesy of the Rockefeller family.”

She documented the entire process along the way and presented it to fellow faculty this fall.

While the church may never know who painted the versions in Beaufort, they will certainly know where the replacements came from.

“When the paintings were dedicated, I was very humbled and appreciative of the opportunity that was given to me,” she explained. “I wish to continue painting in the classical tradition, reviving and using the materials and techniques of the old masters.”


#InspiringExcellence – Local Artist Headlines Art Gallery Show

August 28, 2017 | Art Campus News

Jenn Brown and Sara Weininger, graduate students at Washington University, are bringing their art exhibit “In Between” to East Central College September 5-29. A reception with the artists will be held September 21 from 5 – 7 p.m.

“We are very excited to have these up and coming artists to our gallery,” said Gallery Coordinator Jennifer Higerd. “Jenn Brown is from the area and a graduate of East Central College. It’s always special to be able to showcase alumni work.”

“East Central College was close to home and affordable,” Brown said. “I actually became an art major by accident, and it changed my entire life.  I learned so much while I was there; it made me a better student and a better person.  I still consider the ECC art department my home.”

Brown works mostly with metal. Her work for the “In Between” exhibit is self-described as “references to inner-body structure and physical representations of the toll it can take to shut others out.”

Weininger, meanwhile, will focus on drawings and paintings.

“Drawing is both the source and structure for my present work. Awkward dreamlike perspectives are constructed through a physical building up of marks,” explained Sara Weininger.

Both artists are excited to showcase their work at the East Central College Art Gallery. “It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” Brown said. “This is my first major show, so it only seems right that I go home to do it.”

“In Between” will be displayed at the ECC Art Gallery, Hansen Hall, Room 121, 1964 Prairie Dell Road, Union.

ECC Alumna Jenn Brown