Blackburn Receives $10,000 Gift from Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation

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Blackburn Art students heading inside the St. Louis Art Museum.
By Office of Marketing & Public Relations
On March 6, 2023
Funds Will Enhance Experiential Art Opportunities for Students

Blackburn College in Carlinville, Illinois, has received a $10,000 gift from the Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation. The generous gift will support experiential learning opportunities for students in Blackburn’s Department of Fine Art.

The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation is a charitable trust named for the acclaimed 20th-century American artist Joseph Cornell (1903-1972) that honors the memory of the artist and his disabled younger brother. Cornell was a pioneer of collage art and glass-fronted shadow boxes. His work has been seen around the world, with the most recent exhibits at the Royal Academy of Arts in London and the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. Today, the Foundation provides support to a variety of nonprofit and educational organizations, with a specific emphasis on the arts.

“Arts education is an important part of the Blackburn student experience,” Blackburn Trustee and Alumnus Jim Faust shared. Faust was instrumental in establishing the connection between Blackburn with the Foundation to obtain this gift. “These funds will be impactful for the Fine Arts Department, and we are so pleased that the Cornell Memorial Foundation is helping to enrich the lives and academic achievement of students at Blackburn.”

Professor Craig Newsom, the Pegram Endowed Chair of Fine Arts at Blackburn, shared that the Department will use the gift to fund experiential artistic learning opportunities for Blackburn art students. “We have already completed an art history trip to St. Louis. Professor Chris Day and I are currently planning an overnight trip to Chicago for the Seminar class. This will involve visiting the Art Institute as well as the Chicago Cultural Center.” Newsom explained while in graduate school at the University of Chicago, he found the Art Institute to be uniquely influential. “Interestingly, the Institute has a collection of Joseph Cornell’s work, and I got a lot of inspiration from his work.”

The Department of Fine Arts at Blackburn provides a high-quality, comprehensive education to students exploring the areas of design, drawing, painting, ceramics and sculpture, new media, and photography. The Department serves 20-25% of the student body each year pursuing majors or minors in art; a number now increasing with the recent implementation of the college’s graphic design program. Within Blackburn’s unique student-led Work Program, the Department of Fine Art also offers students opportunities not usually available to undergraduates, including producing, curating, and managing exhibitions in Blackburn’s two galleries.