Skip to main content

Video: New University Galleries inspires student artist

Illinois State student Stoney Sasser’s latest installation is impossible to imagine in a different space.

Her floor-to-ceiling installation, featuring patterned fabric-wrapped tendrils, is in one of the most visible parts of Illinois State’s new University Galleries in Uptown Normal. Taking full advantage of uncommon access to a big window, natural light, and high ceiling, Sasser’s ecological habitat is a colorful burst.

Sasser is one of the featured artists in the M.F.A. Biennial, the first student exhibition at the new University Galleries, which opened last fall with a show dedicated to acclaimed artist Walter Robinson.

“The physical space of University Galleries really inspires me as an installation artist,” said Sasser, a third-year student in the Master of Fine Arts program. “It’s encouraged my creativity.”

Moving from its former home in the Center for the Visual Arts, the new University Galleries now occupies a unique 8,370-square-foot space in the heart of Uptown Normal, at Beaufort and Broadway streets. It’s a partnership between ISU and the town of Normal, from whom the space is leased.

University Galleries makes Illinois State’s M.F.A. program even more attractive to prospective students from around the country. The M.F.A. is a three-year, fully funded program that gives students an opportunity to teach and a studio space to work—all selling points to Sasser.

“All of those together, as well as the amazing professors that we have here, were all a lure for me to come to ISU,” Sasser said.

Learn more about University Galleries and the M.F.A. program in the video above.

Bob Tomaski can be reached at Ryan Denham can be reached at