Welcome to the 樱桃影视 Art Gallery

Summer 2024 Gallery Hours:
Thursdays from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

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

Jennifer Moore – jmoore@stfrancis.edu

Senior Thesis Exhibition

The Senior Thesis exhibition highlights work selected from the thesis projects of graduating seniors majoring in Studio Art, Photography, and Art Education. The exhibition serves as a culmination of their undergraduate experience, celebrating their growth as artists and their commitment to the rigorous process of artistic production. The Senior Thesis exhibition is a testament to the dedication and creativity of the graduating seniors, who have demonstrated their ability to contribute meaningfully to the discourse of contemporary art.


Raised in Peoria, Illinois, Vada has fallen in love with the landscape and environment all around her. From familiar and nostalgic scenes, to commentary on her family鈥檚 long lineage in the Midwest, Vada has been creating artwork (whether consciously or not) depicting scenes familiar or directly pulled from twenty-something years鈥 worth of observation and admiration.

Vada works mostly in oils, but is also interested in using mediums which most effectively evoke the desired goal of a piece. Vada loves to see what is present around her as if seeing it for the first time, to realize how amazing it all is. The main goal for this project was to challenge herself to share what she sees in a way that allows others a glimpse of the stunning beauty in the ordinary.

Stephanie Behland is a talented Graphic Design major hailing from Homer Glen, Illinois. Stephanie鈥檚 journey into the world of graphic design began in high school when she reluctantly enrolled in a computer arts class. This newfound passion led her to switch majors from elementary education to graphic design.

Currently, Stephanie is honing her skills through a marketing internship at The University of St. Francis, where she has also worked on design projects for various companies and organizations. Some of her notable clients include South Side XP Volleyball Club, The University of St. Francis Dance Team, and Blue Taco Restaurant.

When Stephanie is not immersed in the world of design, you can find her dancing or exploring new travel destinations.

Jaclyn Duske works with both photography and graphic design. While she loves experimenting with many forms of photography, she has found her passion in sport and concert photography. Jaclyn has had her work shown on The Today Show, KTLA, Country Now Magazine, and countless local newspapers. For her 2024 Senior Thesis, Jaclyn is showcasing both her sport and concert photography and design with images, graphic design pieces, screen prints, book designs, and her own concert merchandise designs.

Meghan Grilli is a K-12 Visual Arts Educator major at University of Saint Francis. Her thesis project, Little Miss Lilly, is a book series that she has written and illustrated based on real-life experiences. The stories follow Lilly, a young girl of an unspecified age, through her adventures of spending time with animals. The books aim to inform children of how to care for these various animals while maintaining a light-hearted atmosphere. Meghan鈥檚 goal is to extend the series from animals and incorporate educational themes that enlighten young readers on basic visual arts ideas and concepts. The set-up that Meghan has created within the 樱桃影视 Gallery is meant to replicate a young child鈥檚 reading area, much like one would see in real-time as a child were truly reading the stories.

Mazi鈥檚 journey with graphic design started when she graduated from Plainfield Central High School. While trying to decide what she was going to do with the rest of her life, she began interning at a wedding photography company where they suggested she take a photography and photoshop course. This led Mazi on a path that fostered her love of graphic design. Mazi received her associate in graphic design at JJC and continued her education as a graphic design major at 樱桃影视.

When Mazi isn鈥檛 working on her numerous photography and graphic design projects, you can find her attending rock concerts throughout the summer.

Alvaro Robles aims to innovate and inspire with his art. He has a strong work ethic and takes pride in doing his absolute best. He is always ready for a challenge and seeks to learn new lessons whenever possible. Alvaro does not like to contain himself to one skillset, as he enjoys venturing into different areas of fine art. His style is very detailed and intense. He incorporates his life into his work. Each big project is a piece of his artistic timeline.

Gallery Showcase

Past Exhibitions

樱桃影视 Student Exhibit
On Exhibit: April 2-10, 2024
Reception: Tuesday, April 9, 2024
Click here to view winners and participants!

Kelly Reaves: Pushing a Slug up a Mudslide
On Exhibit: February 8-March 19, 2024
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.

樱桃影视 High School Exhibition & Competition
On Exhibit:听January 13-25, 2024Reception & Awards:听January 13, 2023 樱桃影视Click here to view winners and participants!

Paul Erschen: Leach Field听
Exhibit Dates:听August 24-October 6, 2023 樱桃影视听
Reception:听Thursday, August 24, 2023 樱桃影视 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 樱桃影视 since 2001 and is currently a Professor of Visual Art and Art & Design Department Chair. For 鈥淟each Field,鈥 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 na茂ve 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 樱桃影视 Art & Design Scholarship: Lesley Catalan, Joliet Central High School. BEST OF SHOW 鈥 PAINTING: Hanna Rasmussen, Lockport Township High School.听BEST OF SHOW 鈥 PHOTO: Julian Ruiz, Joliet Central High School.听BEST OF SHOW 鈥 SCULPTURE: Jasmin Salcido, Joliet Central High School. BEST OF SHOW 鈥 WORKS ON PAPER: Ghena Moteb, Harold L. Richards High School. BEST OF SHOW 鈥 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.
鈥淐ontemplations and Ruminations: What Will People Think?鈥 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.

樱桃影视 Alumni Art Exhibition
On Exhibit August 25 鈥 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鈥橦ara (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鈥

樱桃影视 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鈥檚 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 鈥 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鈥檚 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 樱桃影视 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鈥), 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-Times,听Chicago Tribune听Magazine,听De Telegraaf听(础尘蝉迟别谤诲补尘),The Globe and Mail听(Canada),听New Art Examiner, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago听Magazine,听Nerve,听and on Chicago Public Radio.听Alamo-Costello’s books of photography, art and writing include:听Somewhere In-Between Chicago听(2018),听The Globe听(2010),听and听Grandpa Danny听(2008).听Alamo-Costello is also the publisher of, and a contributor to,听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听University of St. Francis听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 鈥 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 鈥 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鈥檚 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:听Kathie Shaw & Corey Postiglione
October 8-November 30, 2020

樱桃影视 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鈥檚 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鈥 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.听

Exhibition: MUSE – Niki Grangruth & James Kinser

August 25 鈥 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.听 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.听

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 鈥 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,听 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.听


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鈥揳ll 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 樱桃影视 Art & Design Senior Thesis
May 1鈥揂ugust 20, 2020
Reception: Friday, May 1, 2019 from 6-8 p.m.
Senior Thesis Art Gallery

2020 樱桃影视 Student Art Exhibition

usf student art galleryApril 1鈥揂pril 13, 2020
Reception & Breakfast with the 樱桃影视 President and Dean: Thursday, April 2, 2020 at 10:30 a.m.

樱桃影视 Gallery is proud to host the annual St. Francis Student Artist Exhibition. The exhibition is open to all 樱桃影视 students, any major. All are welcome to join us for a light breakfast with 樱桃影视 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鈥揗arch 20, 2020

樱桃影视 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 鈥 January 30, 2020
  • Reception & Awards: January 18, noon-2pm
  • Portfolio Review: January 18, 2020

2019 Collegiate Scholarship Art Exhibition

October 1 鈥 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

樱桃影视 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鈥揂ugust 12, 2019听
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 – 樱桃影视 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 樱桃影视 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 樱桃影视 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 樱桃影视.


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, 樱桃影视 also offers Art & Design 鈥淭alent鈥 Scholarships. Faculty will be on-site during the January reception to review portfolios of seniors interested in earning a talent scholarship at 樱桃影视. 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.