About Us

Schmidt Art Center
Photo by Richard Sprengeler

Mission

The William and Florence Schmidt Art Center exhibits visual images that inspire, inform, and connect college and community. Exhibits of art and cultural artifacts that meet the highest contemporary aesthetic standards and related cultural programs will expand visual literacy among the Southwestern Illinois College community and the adults and children of Southwestern Illinois.

Our History

For more than three decades, faculty at the college had worked with student groups and the College Activities office to raise funds for the acquisition of art. Faculty also actively sought space and promoted the need for dedicated space to hang the works. However, releasing much-needed classroom space for a gallery was not feasible. In late 1997, just a few words of encouragement from a private donor prompted Foundation staff to believe that this gift to the community was a real possibility.

That enthusiasm was shared with then Art Professor Dale Threlkeld, who had teamed with the Foundation and private donors to introduce sculpture to the Belleville Campus. Threlkeld had the location and a general concept of what a gallery should include. He shared those ideas with Foundation Executive Director Kathy O’Dell. In a few days a conceptual model of the center was completed by Adjunct Art Instructor and Architect Brad Eilering.

That small model was shown to donors and others interested in the visual arts.

By the end of 1998, the Foundation, with support from the college and its trustees, publicly announced it had already received more than $400,000 in private gift commitments. During this initial stage, the Foundation, with the college’s endorsement, retained the firm of Woolpert, LLP, as its architectural firm and Holland-Hinrichs Construction, Inc. as its construction manager.

Early in the planning stage, college President Elmer H. Kirchoff, Ph.D., formulated a working team that included representatives of the Board of Trustees, the Foundation Board of Directors, college administrators, art faculty representatives and members of the construction team. All members kept their respective groups informed of progress on the project, and Foundation Executive Director Kathy O’Dell served as chair of that team.

Ground was broken in February 2001 and shortly after, the structure had taken on its uniquely identifiable shape. During that time Libby Reuter was selected as the executive director/curator and the exciting, yet challenging task of scheduling exhibits and events that unite form, function and creativity began.

How to Exhibit

To have your work considered for an exhibit at the Schmidt Art Center, please submit 12-20 digital images on a CD along with an artist statement and resume listing previous exhibits, awards, and education.

The Schmidt Art Center works with a committee that meets a year in advance to review proposals and assemble a balanced schedule of exhibits. We welcome proposals year-round.

Send proposals to:

Schmidt Art Center

Attention: Exhibition Committee

2500 Carlyle Avenue

Belleville, IL 62221

Staff

Nicole Dutton
Curator & Facility Coordinator
(618) 641-5143
nicole.dutton@swic.edu 

Jessica Mannisi
Curatorial Assistant
(618) 222-5278
jessica.mannisi@swic.edu 

Schmidt Art Center
2500 Carlyle Avenue
Belleville, Illinois 62221
Phone: (618) 222-5278
(866) 942-7942, ext. 5278

(Toll-free for Illinois and St. Louis area)