‘Old Main’ and new talent

By Gus Bode

The newest exhibits at the University Museum will bring together Carbondale’s past with southern Illinois’ future.

The University Museum will present ‘Visual Arts Institute’ from Friday through March 27, and ‘Remembering Old Main’ from Friday through April 11. Both shows will have receptions on Friday from 4 to 7 p.m.

‘Visual Arts Institute’ is a collaboration between SIUC professors and high school students from Cairo, Eldorado, Harrisburg and Johnson City. Nate Steinbrink, the curator of exhibits for the museum, said teachers would bring their art and architectural work to students at the schools, and then students would craft projects based on the pieces.


‘Once the students complete their pieces, we bring them back to the museum to show it,’ Steinbrink said.

Carol Skoufis, a graduate assistant in the museum’s education department, worked on the project with her boss, Bob DeHoet, an employee of the museum. She said though this was DeHoet’s project, she got to work closely on the show.

‘There are always plenty of pieces that knock your socks off, and this year is no different,’ Skoufis said. ‘This is my third student-art project, and there’s always incredible work coming out of these schools.’

‘Remembering Old Main’ is a show that looks at the building that once served as SIUC’s main campus building until it burned down in 1969.

‘Before Old Main, there were two other buildings, one of which was the Normal University Old Main Building,’ Steinbrink said. ‘The exhibit serves as a timeline to show the progression of these buildings and what they looked like at the turn of the century.’

‘ The art show, which contains photos, saved architectural details and pieces of the buildings, serves as a look back on Carbondale history. For Eric Jones, the registrar for the museum, it also serves as a piece of his family’s history.

‘I worked on the project as part of an optional summer project for my graduate student work, but I had other reasons to be interested in the building and its history,’ Jones said.


‘My father had an office in the Old Main building, and I remember him telling me stories about how the ventilation systems work,’ Jones said. ‘I have a long history with the school, so this exhibit is like a part of me.’

The exhibit also serves as an anniversary piece as Old Main burned down 40 years ago.

Admission to the museum is free. The museum operates 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. For more information, contact the museum at 618-453-5388.