University Museum sign

January 22, 2021

SIU’s University Museum to present several exhibitions this spring

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Southern Illinois University alumnus and local artist William H. Thielen and artist and educator Craig M. Cully will be featured at SIU Carbondale’s University Museum this spring.

With the start of the spring semester, several exhibitions are already underway. Other works, including those of graduating students from the university’s Master of Fine Arts program, will be on display later this spring. The museum also plans an exhibit of selections from its own international collections beginning next month.

The complete spring 2021 schedule is on the museum’s Facebook page.

Exploring contemporary issues

Thielen’s work, “DOUBLE WHAMMY,” includes mixed media and drawings and runs through May 8. Now living in Carbondale, Thielen earned his MFA in fibers from SIU Carbondale in 1980. His work is in the all three galleries in the museum’s North Hall. In his artist’s statement, Thielen said the exhibit pieces are “about looking for an intuitive emotional truth in a post-modern world. They are an act of continuous clarification and transformation.”

“The issues behind my work are personal and autobiographical,” Thielen said. “I work with them as an attempt to find my own identity in a divisive social structure. Maybe in a way I am trying to find a common ground while existing in this structure."

Cully’s exhibition, “NOURISHing,” comprises large-scale paintings that investigate the transformation of animals and shifts within humans “from subjective caregiving to objective consumers,” according to his artists’ statement. Cully’s exhibition is also available through May 8 in the museum’s Study Gallery.

“It explores relationships of personal subjectivity and compassion, objective consumer habits and perceptual reifications, as well as the boundaries between empathy and appetite,” Cully wrote. 

The museum notes that some of the images in Cully’s exhibition may not be suitable for all audiences and viewer discretion is advised.

As with all exhibitions, the artwork represents the viewpoints of its creators, not SIU. As a public university, SIU does not promote or oppose political candidates. SIU complies with the Illinois Governmental Ethics Act and State Officials and Employees Ethics Act.

Wes Stoerger, curator of exhibits, said Cully’s work was chosen from among a group of artists who responded to the museum’s callout as it planned the 2020-2021 season. Thielen was selected prior to the open call, and he has a “long history of supporting arts in the region,” Stoerger said.

Can be viewed in person and virtually

Admission to the museum is free, and it is open to the public. The museum, art galleries and both halls are open Tuesdays-Fridays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturdays, 1-4 p.m. Public metered parking is available across from the Student Center and beside Woody Hall.

Each of the museum’s halls has a maximum capacity of 25 people, and face masks are required at all times when visiting. In an effort to help mitigate concern with the COVID-19 pandemic and meet the university’s social distancing guidelines, the museum, while still open, will also use Facebook and Instagram for online galleries as well.

For more information, contact Wes Stoerger at or visit