Friday, August 29, 2008

UIS Visual Arts Gallery presents "Talking Stones"

Part of citywide collaborative exhibit commemorating the 1908 race riot

"Talking Stones" (shown below), a multi-media installation project by Native American visual and performance artist James Luna, will be on display in the Visual Arts Gallery at the University of Illinois at Springfield from September 19 through October 22.

Luna's work is presented as part of "Through the Eyes of Artists: Looking Back, Looking Forward," a collaborative citywide memorial exhibition commemorating the Springfield Race Riot of 1908. In addition to "Talking Stones," the exhibit will feature works of art capturing the essence of the riot, its meaning, and what it can say to us today.

On Friday, September 19, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Illinois State Museum, and UIS Visual Arts Gallery will host a progressive reception to open the exhibit. The reception begins at the ALPLM, Sixth and Jefferson Streets, from 5:30 to 7 p.m.; progresses to the State Museum, Spring and Edwards Streets, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.; and concludes at the UIS gallery from 7:30 to 9 p.m. The receptions and exhibits are free and open to the public.

Luna notes that his installation springs from the idea that, in the right time and place, organic substances such as stones can "transcend the world of utilitarian tools and become objects that hold a spiritual soul and speak of knowledge of the other world." A special place in "Talking Stones" will accommodate a brick from the riot that "cast a dark shadow on the history of Springfield."

The Visual Arts Gallery is located in room 201 of the Health and Sciences Building on the UIS Campus. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday. For further information, go to or contact the gallery by phone at 206-6506 or by e-mail at