Monday, August 25, 2014

UIS Friday Night Star Parties return for fall semester

The University of Illinois Springfield’s popular Friday Night Star Parties will resume the Friday after Labor Day and run through the end of October. Those dates include: September 5, 12, 19, and 26 and October 3, 10, 17, and 24. Friday Night Star Parties are held from 8 to 10 p.m., weather permitting, at the UIS observatory on the roof of Brookens Library.

Star Parties are hosted by John Martin, associate professor of Astronomy/Physics. The observatory’s telescopes will be used to view a number of celestial objects, including the Moon, when visible; the Ring Nebula; globular star clusters M13 and M15; and other double stars and star clusters.

A typical Star Party begins with a presentation as visitors ascend the stairs to the observatory, learning about galaxies, the sun and stars along the way. On the roof observation deck visitors are invited to view the skies through telescopes and ask questions. Participants are welcome to arrive and leave as they wish between 8 and 10 p.m.

Friday Night Star Parties are free and open to the public. Reservations are not required and groups are encouraged to attend. The entrance to the campus observatory is located outside Brookens Library on the southeast corner of the building.

Star Parties may be canceled for cloudy weather. Questions about whether the weather is suitable for viewing should be directed to 217/206-8342 at 7 p.m. on the evening of the Star Party. Participants may also follow the UIS Observatory on Twitter (@UISObservatory) for updates.

For more information on Star Parties, email John Martin at or visit

Thursday, August 7, 2014

UIS Visual Arts Gallery begins season with "Filler" exhibition by Springfield native Jeff Robinson

The University of Illinois Springfield Visual Arts Gallery is pleased to launch an exciting exhibition season with “Filler”, an ambitious installation project from Springfield native Jeff Robinson. Robinson is the Visual Arts Gallery Director and an Instructor of Visual Arts at UIS.

“Filler” will open at the UIS Visual Arts Gallery on Monday, August 25 and run through Thursday, September 18. A reception for the exhibit will take place on Thursday, September 4, from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.

“Filler” presents a site responsive installation that utilizes inherent architectural spaces in the gallery as finite areas that house a meticulous and calculated organization of elements, both formal and physical. An implicit compulsion in the careful, thoughtful collection of a seemingly endless spectrum of materials speaks to the role of amassed objects for the individual and how such collections shape identity over time.

Robinson launched this new work in May, and out of necessity for a project of this complexity, he has transformed the gallery into a studio space to develop the idiosyncrasies of this work on-site. Throughout the progression of the work, the hunt for materials was ongoing.

“I’m interested in exploring the role that amassed objects play in our lives and how we, in part, form our identities through the careful curation and organization of the physical materials we collect over time,” said Robinson.

Jeff Robinson was born, raised, and currently resides in Springfield. He received a Master of Fine Arts in Painting from Illinois State University, and has exhibited his work nationally. His work has been published in New American Paintings and Manifest Gallery’s International Painting Annual, and he received an Individual Artist Support Project Grant from the Illinois Arts Council in support of “Filler”. Robinson is co-founder of DEMO Project in Springfield, an alternative gallery space that emphasizes current trends in contemporary art.

The UIS Visual Arts Gallery is centrally located on the UIS campus in the Health and Science Building, room 201 (HSB 201). Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information exhibition programming, please visit the UIS Visual Arts Gallery website at, or contact the gallery at 217/ 206-6506 or