Barry McNamara  |  Published June 17, 2020

Sculpting a Reputation

Art professor Janice Wunderlich receives grant from Illinois Arts Council Agency to expand awareness of her work.
Art professor Janice Wunderlich's detailed ceramic sculptures capture the dualities and complexities of being human.
Art professor Janice Wunderlich’s detailed ceramic sculptures capture the dualities and complexities of being human.

MONMOUTH, Ill. – In announcing recipients of its 2020 Artist Fellowship Awards, the Illinois Arts Council Agency said the finalists come from “different communities across the state, including urban, suburban and rural communities.”

FINDING THE HUMANITY: Art professor Janice Wunderlich's detailed ceramic sculptures capture the d... FINDING THE HUMANITY: Art professor Janice Wunderlich's detailed ceramic sculptures capture the dualities and complexities of being human.The “rural” recipient of one of the $15,000 fellowships is Monmouth College art professor Janis Wunderlich, who received one of the 17 awards in her first year of eligibility. To be eligible for the fellowship, an artist must have resided in Illinois at least two years.

“One of the things I’m really excited about is that this award showcases the arts at Monmouth,” said Wunderlich, who came to the College in 2017 from Ashland University in Ohio. “Chicago is so known for its arts. I’m really excited that the agency gave one to a rural area, too.”

IACA fellowships are awarded to Illinois artists in recognition of their outstanding work and commitment within the arts. More than 350 Illinois-based creative artists applied for the 2020 awards. Of the 17 fellowships, 12 were received by artists from the Chicago area. In addition to Wunderlich, the other recipients were from the university towns of Urbana, Normal, Springfield and Charleston.

The Artist Fellowship Program offers funding in six artistic disciplines. A ceramicist, Wunderlich was one of two $15,000 recipients from crafts. Other categories included ethnic and folk arts, interdisciplinary/computer-based arts, photography, sculpture, and all other visual arts, including installation, mixed media, painting, graphic and drawing.

Wunderlich’s detailed ceramic sculptures capture the dualities and complexities of being human. They are also inspired by historical ceramic figurines and from growing up with a Cherokee storyteller-painter grandfather. Her sculptures have been included in exhibitions and museum collections throughout the world, including New Taipei City Yingge Ceramics Museum in Taiwan and The American Museum of Ceramic Art in Pomona, Calif.

A goal of the IACA program is for the unrestricted awards to support the recipients’ creative endeavors and artistic growth, and Wunderlich is developing a few plans for how to make that happen.

“I want to build my studio practice and build my social media presence,” she said. “I like the challenge of thinking about that, using business strategies so that I can use the money to build a business in Illinois, and also nationally and internationally.”

One of her ideas is to purchase lighting equipment to help her film video tutorials that will help her build a client base. She also hopes to develop a more solid plan for packaging and shipping her work.

“I want to learn more about how to ship things carefully and precisely and get a good business plan for that,” she said.

That shipping plan is an immediate need. In the next few weeks, Wunderlich will send eight pieces to an exhibit in North Carolina that features two other artists. She was originally scheduled to drive the pieces halfway across the country and attend the opening of the exhibit, but the COVID-19 pandemic altered the gallery’s schedule, canceling the formal opening.

Throughout the rest of 2020, Wunderlich will also have her art on display at three exhibits in Illinois, including solo exhibits in Galesburg (opening July 10) and Monmouth College (Oct. 17), as well as an exhibit in Champaign (Sept. 1).

Her solo exhibit that has been on display at the Contemporary Art Center of Peoria since March closes on June 26.

In 2016, Wunderlich was awarded an artist’s residency and research opportunity in Dresden, Germany, sponsored by the Saxon State and Greater Columbus Arts Council. A decade earlier, Wunderlich was one of five women featured in the documentary film Who Does She Think She Is?

Back to News & Events

Did you know?

  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> 98% of Monmouth graduates were employed or enrolled in graduate school within six months of graduation.</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/wackerle-center/career-services/" target="_blank">Career Preparation</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College is proudly test optional. Applicants may choose whether or to submit SAT or ACT scores for admission and scholarship consideration. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/admission/apply/test-optional/" target="_blank">Test Optional</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College offers unique academic minors in Global Public Health and Global Food Security for students who want to use their education to address global challenges. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/global-public-health/" target="_blank">Global Public Health</a></li><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/global-food-security/" target="_blank">Global Food Security</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> 99% of Monmouth students received some type of scholarship or financial assistance.</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/offices/student-financial-planning/types-of-aid/scholarships/" target="_blank">Scholarships</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College covers the cost for all current students to get a U.S. passport. Unlock access to over 198 different countries! We’ll even help with the paperwork :)</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/study-abroad/" target="_blank">Study Abroad</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College offers several international trips each year during 2-week Scots Terms in January and May. Recently students have traveled to Botswana, Greece, Scotland, Japan, and more. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_urls"><a href="" target="_blank">Scots Term</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> We offer a certified Peace Corps Preparation program that gives Peace Corps bound graduates a leg up in the application process.</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/peace-corps-prep/" target="_blank">Peace Corps Prep</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College has an educational garden and 6.7 acre farm. Students grow and harvest fruits and vegetables to sell at the local farmer’s market. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_urls"><a href="" target="_blank">Garden & Farm</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College has an active Pipe & Drum Band. Each year on Scholar’s Day in April the bagpipers wake students up at 6:00 a.m. by playing in the residence halls!</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/music/pipe-band/" target="_blank">Pipe Band</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p><strong>Monmouth College is the birthplace of the women’s fraternity movement. Pi Beta Phi, the first such collegiate women’s organization, was founded at Monmouth in 1867. It was followed three years later by Kappa Kappa Gamma. The two pioneering organizations today boast a total of 275 active chapters nationwide.</strong></p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/student-life/sororities-fraternities/" target="_blank">Sororities & Fraternities</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> We’re no stranger to winning. Last year the Fighting Scots won Midwest Conference championships in Football, Women’s Soccer, Women’s Basketball and Men’s Track and Field. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_urls"><a href="" target="_blank">Fighting Scots</a></li></ul></div></aside>