Inland Symposium: CST April 12 and 13

Sam Fox School and Inland Visual Studies Center explore arts and culture on Central Standard Time

The Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts and the Inland Visual Studies Center at Bradley University will present the third annual Inland Symposium: CST, examining arts and culture in the American Midwest, April 12 and 13.

From the galleries of New York to the backlots of Hollywood, visual culture in the United States is often defined as coastal and urban. Yet historically, large numbers of artists and designers have emerged from the unique population, landscape and economy of the American Midwest.

On Thursday and Friday, April 12 and 13, the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis will host Inland Symposium: CST, the third annual Inland Visual Studies Center symposium.

Titled for the abbreviation of Central Standard Time, Inland Symposium: CST will investigate contemporary cultural production in the Midwest and examine the region’s contribution to national and global visual arts and culture.

Patricia Olynyk

“There’s this notion that the Midwest is a place to which one brings culture,” says organizer Patricia Olynyk, the Florence and Frank Bush Professor of Art, “but that culture isn’t generated here.

“The situation doesn’t flatten into anything quite so simple,” adds Olynyk, an internationally exhibited artist who has lived on the west coast and overseas but also spent eight years at the University of Michigan before joining the Sam Fox School in 2007, as director of the Graduate School of Art.

Yet such perceptions nevertheless shape conversations about art “between the coasts.” Even among inland advocates, she says, “the discourse is still from the perspective of the marginalized.”

Olynyk prefers a more positive tack.

“In my experience, the Midwest is a great place to make work,” she says. “The benefits are obvious.” She points to the low cost of living, the affordable studio space and the general pace of life. “I can get into the studio for extended periods of time.”

Moreover, as a kind of national crossroads, “the Midwest is a place that one comes into and out of,” she says. “The relationship between the local and the global works very well.”

For Inland Symposium, Olynyk and co-organizer Paul Krainak, director of the Inland Visual Studies Center, have recruited more than a dozen artists, curators and writers from across the Midwest. Sessions will explore the production, exhibition and reception of contemporary art in the region, as well as the influence of timing and travel on artists living and working there.

Keynote speakers will be Stephanie Smith, deputy director and chief curator of the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago; and Barbara Jaffee, PhD, associate professor of art history at Northern Illinois University.

All events are free and open to the public but advance registration is required. For more information, call (314) 935-9300; e-mail; or visit

The Inland Visual Studies Center is the only academic program specifically seeking to theorize a more authentic and complex cultural identity of Middle America and to analyze the Midwest’s contributions to national and global art.

Located at Bradley University in Peoria, the center is supported by the Sam Fox School, Ohio State University and the Prairie Center of the Arts in Peoria.

Schedule of Events:

Thursday, April 12

5 p.m.
Keynote lecture: Barbara Jaffee
Welcome remarks: Carmon Colangelo
Introduction: Buzz Spector
Steinberg Auditorium

6:30 p.m.
In The Heart Of The Heart Of The Country
Opening reception for exhibition featuring work by MFA students from the Sam Fox School’s Graduate School of Art
4191 Manchester Ave.

Friday, April 13

9 a.m.
Panel No. 1: Place Discourse
Moderators: Paul Krainak and Robert Gero
Panelists: Barbara Jaffee, Jack Becker, Buzz Spector and Jessica Baran
Kemp Auditorium, Givens Hall

11 a.m.
Panel No. 2: Show Me: The Delights and Drawbacks of Contemporary Exhibitions in the Midwest
Moderator: Dominic Molon
Panelists: Martin Brief, Deb Sokolow and Dana Turkovic
Kemp Auditorium, Givens Hall

2 p.m.
Mildred Lane Kemper Museum tour
With curators Meredith Malone, Karen Butler and Robert Gero

2:45 p.m.
Panel No. 3: Time Travel: Production in the Midwest
Moderator: Irena Knezevic
Panelists: Jimenez Lai, Joerg Becker, Patricia Olynyk and David Hart
Kemp Auditorium, Givens Hall

4:45 p.m.
Keynote lecture: Stephanie Smith
Introduction: Patricia Olynyk
Steinberg Auditorium

6 p.m.
Panel No. 4: Sculpting & Exhibiting Under the Influence
Moderators: Joan Hall and Ron Fondaw
Panelists: Marilu Knode, Bill FitzGibbons, Rusty Freeman, Noah Kirby and Anna Hegarty
Kemp Auditorium, Givens Hall