Bearing Witness: Art as Social Action

Show ran from 6/1/2009 to 6/20/2009

Opening reception: Friday, May 29, from 6-9 pm

“Bearing Witness: Art as Social Action” is an exhibition of artwork made in response to witness – artwork that expresses social issues that may be inspired by personal, interpersonal or societal events. Beyond containing the experiences and providing a vehicle for investigation, these pieces shine light on events, making them available to others. Juried by Barbara Fish, PhD., ATR-BC, a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Department of Psychiatry, and teacher at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Graduate Art Therapy Program.

Participating artists: Seema Bacon, Deborah Behnke, Esther Charbit, Irena Czumaj, Steve Elliott, Nancy Fritz, Lucy Gans, Judithe Hernandez, Judith Joseph, Elaine Longtemps, Angela Lyonsmith, Keith Mendak, Holly S. Murray, Jennifer Rikkers, Carol Russell, Kathy Weaver, Christopher W. Weeks, and Amy Zucker.


During the exhibition, ARC Gallery will host the following events co-sponsored by the Illinois Art Therapy Association (IATA) and the Illinois Mental Health Counselor Association (IMHCA):

  • Saturday, May 30, from 2-4pm, free* “Harms Touch and the Burden of Care,” Juror Barbara Fish talks about her research and the exhibition, and will lead a discussion on issues related to response art and social action.
  • Saturday, June 13, from 2-4pm, free* “Perspectives on Art as Social Action: Artist Panel,” artists from the exhibition, art therapists, and social activists discuss their work, process, and approach to art and activism.
  • Friday, June 19th, @ 7pm, free* “Degenerate Art” (60 min), film screening and discussion.

*2 CEUs for clinical professionals will be available for each event for a $10.00 fee total, payable to the IMHCA

Jennifer Wilkey

Show ran from 6/1/2009 to 6/20/2009

“Procedures for Mending,” mixed media

Jennifer Wilkey considers what it means to be ill and examines the roles of the patient, the doctor, and the hospital in treatment and healing. Healing, repair, and the body’s response are central to her work. The amount of time spent in search of diagnosis and in the hospital is reflected in her processes. Artifacts collected from the hospital become crafted memorials of the experience, and through this, are humanized. The methodical repeated practice becomes a distraction of the illness in the body and events in the hospital.