The Parkland College Blog

2021 State of the Art Ceramics Biennial: The Living World in Clay

Giertz Gallery Hosts 2021 Ceramics Biennial, curated by Chris Berti

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"The Living World in Clay" curated by Chris Berti
Exhibit: October 25, 2021February 5, 2022
Reception: October 28, 5:30–7:30 p.m.; weather permitting, conversation is encouraged outdoors
Artist Lecture: Janis Wunderlich, November 11, 10:30 a.m., available on Zoom and in L111
Gallery closed: November 24 (5 p.m.)November 28 for Thanksgiving; December 18January 9 for Holiday Break; and January 17 for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Ceramic works by nationally recognized artists will feature in the Giertz Gallery exhibition "The Living World in Clay" this month and into the new year.

Artist and professor of Art and Design Chris Berti curates the 2021 State of the Art Ceramics Invitational. The exhibit, which brings together a "cross section of contemporary artists who invoke the rich tradition of incorporating human and animal figures into ceramic form," opened October 25 and will run through February 5, 2022.

An opening reception will take place tonight, October 28, from 5:30–7:30 p.m. in the gallery. Weather permitting, the courtyard doors will be open to encourage conversation after viewing the exhibit.

Janis Wunderlich will present an artist talk on November 11 at 10:30 a.m. This event is open to students, faculty, and staff at Parkland College in L111, and available virtually on Zoom. Register at

Exhibit participants comprise artists and faculty from across the United States, including Ricky Barnett of Bakersville, North Carolina; Joe Bova of Santa Fe, New Mexico; William Brouillard of Lakewood, Ohio; Lynn Hobaica of Bakersville, North Carolina; Peter Jadoonath of Shafer, Minnesota; Kirk Lyttle of St. Paul, Minnesota; Jenny Mendes of Chesterland, Ohio; Tilla Rodemann of Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts; Rimas VisGirda of Champaign, Illinois, and Janis Wunderlich of Monmouth, Illinois.

Cups Fundraiser. In tandem with the Ceramics Biennial exhibition, Giertz Gallery will host its biennial fundraiser, "Coffee and Tea: Cups and Dessert" on December 9 from 4–7 p.m. With each ticket, guests will select from handmade ceramic cups donated by the Parkland College ceramics program faculty and students, and enjoy desserts, tea, coffee, live music, and a silent auction. Bid on or purchase artworks donated by Art and Design faculty and students, including vases, bowls, teapots, pitchers, jewelry, and scarves; auction items make perfect holiday gifts. A link will be available soon at to view auction pieces ahead of time and place bids.

Tickets for "Coffee and Tea: Cups and Desert" are $25 in advance or $30 at the door, with advance purchase recommended; attendees will have the option of attending from 4–5:30 p.m. or 5:30–7 p.m. A new selection of cups will be available for each time period, and will be chosen on a first come, first served basis. Tickets can be purchased online at or by phone at 217/351-2485. All proceeds support the Giertz Gallery.

Gallery hours are 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 10 a.m.–7 p.m. Thursday, and noon–2 p.m. Saturday. The gallery will be closed from 5 p.m. Nov. 24 through 28 for Thanksgiving break; Dec. 18 through Jan. 9 for winter break; and Jan. 17 for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

In compliance with state pandemic mandates, Parkland College has restricted access entryways and door checkers stationed at entrances. For Giertz Gallery, we suggest using the M1 parking lot on the north corner of campus. Enter through the M1 door and follow the gallery signage. The gallery is located in the north side of the X-wing and overlooks the outdoor fountain area.

Giertz Gallery acknowledges support from the Illinois Arts Council Agency. Parkland College is a section 504/ADA-compliant institution; for accommodation, call 217/351-2505.

For more information about the invitational, the fundraiser, or the gallery, please visit or call the gallery office at 217/351-2485.

Parkland Board Hears Report on SWFT Program

Board of Trustees General Meeting, October 20

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At their regular meeting Wednesday, Parkland College's Board of Trustees heard updates from department leads, including a report on the college's Support for Workforce Training (SWFT) program.

Alicia Beck, director of the SWFT program, gave an update regarding the program, which is supported by a $1.2 million grant from the Illinois Workforce Equity Initiative (WEI), a consortium of Illinois community colleges providing free short-term training and student supports through an equity lens.

Since 2019, the SWFT program has served nearly 350 students in short-term certificate programs across a variety of in-demand industries, including healthcare, transportation, manufacturing, construction, and technology. The grant program, championed by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus and locally by State Representative Carol Ammons, aims to move African-American residents into career pathways that pay family-sustaining wages. To date, Parkland has exceeded its goals for enrollment and participant diversity. Students obtaining employment in their career area have reported average starting wages between $19-$21 per hour.

Dean of enrollment management Kristin Smigielski provided the board with enrollment reports from Summer 2021 and Fall 2021, and Josh Birky, program manager of grants and contracts, gave an annual grants report.

Next, trustees reviewed and approved the re-submission of a capital improvement project to the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) under the Resource Allocation Management Program (RAMP). With the local growth of health professions and STEM fields, the project would build a new Physical Sciences Training Center, a 27,000 sq. ft. construction addition to campus primarily used as chemistry and biology labs and classrooms, to allow for expanding enrollment in these courses.

In other business, trustees approved:

  • the purchase of:
    • services from ProTrain, $30,000
    • elevator service and maintenance from Kone, Inc., $30,879
    • employment services contracting with Manpower, $275,000
    • bid for Phase 1 of upgrading exterior and interior door locks from Bodine Electric, $1,995,261
    • two-year pricing agreement for services from Rock Gate Capital, DBA 160 Driving Academy
  • the filing of the following grant applications:
    • Illinois Community College Board: Governor's Emergency Education Relief Funds (GEERF II)
    • Illinois Green Economy Network (IGEN): Renewable Energy Resources Trust Fund (IEPA funding)—Energy Efficiency Internships
  • the acceptance of funds from external sources:
    • NASPA-Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education: 2021 First-Generation College Celebration Grant
    • U.S. Department of Education: Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS)
    • Illinois Community College Board (ICCB): Apprenticeship Grant: Customized Apprenticeship Programming—Information Technology (CAP-IT) (DOL-ETA, Year 3 funding)
  • personnel appointments: 
    • Kim Pankau, Associate Dean, Health Professions
    • Sarah Hartman, Interim Associate Director, Admissions
    • Jason Maldonado, HR Specialist, Human Resources
    • Katherine Neal, Employment Coordinator, Human Resources
    • Martha Jacobson, Employment/Employee Relations Manager, Human Resources
    • Anita Taylor, Department Assistant, Arts and Sciences
    • Eddie Walker, Custodian, Physical Plant
    • Kenyatta Whitfield, Custodian, Physical Plant

"She Kills Monsters" at Parkland Theatre Second Stage Starts Nov. 4

"She Kills Monsters" to run Nov. 4–14 at Parkland Theatre

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Parkland Theatre will be presenting "She Kills Monsters", written by Qui Nguyen and directed by Michael O'Brien, from November 4 to 14 at the Second Stage.

"She Kills Monsters" tells the story of Agnes Evans as she leaves her childhood home in Ohio following the death of her teenage sister, Tilly. When Agnes finds Tilly’s Dungeons and Dragons notebook, however, she finds herself catapulted into a journey of discovery and action-packed adventure in the imaginary world that was her sister’s refuge. In this high-octane dramatic comedy laden with homicidal fairies, nasty ogres, and ‘90s pop culture, acclaimed playwright Qui Nguyen offers a heart-pounding homage to the geek and warrior within us all.

Michael O’Brien directs a cast that includes Emma Petitt, Jess Schlipf, Douglas Malcolm, Michael Ruby, Zoë Dunn, Kelsey Powell, Ranae Wilson, Mariah Smith, Kiah Johnson, Spencer Hazen, and Solomon Robinson.

Performances will take place in the Parkland Theatre Second Stage November 4, 5, 6, 12, 13 at 7:30 p.m., and November 7 and 14 at 3 p.m. Tickets are available at Due to COVID restrictions, seating is limited, and masks are required. This show is rated teen for adult language and content.

Ticket prices:

  •  Adult: $20 
  • Student/Youth/Senior/Veteran: $18
  • Group (10 or more): $16 
  • Opening night is half-price!

Parkland Theatre wants all guests to have an enjoyable experience. Both theatres are wheelchair accessible and have accommodations for patrons with limited mobility and visual or hearing impairments. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation, please indicate when purchasing tickets.

"She Kills Monsters" is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French, Inc.

Parkland College Health Professions/General Open House, Oct 22

Explore Health Professions and general academic programs during the Fall Open House, Oct. 22

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Explore Parkland College academic programs, campus life, support services and more during the school's Health Professions/General Open House.

This event will take place Friday, Oct. 22 from noon to 2 p.m. in the Student Union atrium and in the L and H buildings for its Health Professions programs. Please register here.

Designed for high school students, parents of college-bound students, and community members, the open house allows visitors to tour the campus; have their questions answered from admissions, financial aid, and counseling representatives; and explore the college.

The Health Professions portion of the open house will take place in the L wing of the main campus and at the H building located in Parkland on Mattis, 1309 N. Mattis Ave. in Champaign. The Dental Hygiene, Nursing, Practical Nursing, Radiologic Technology, Respiratory Care, Surgical Technology, and Veterinary Technology programs will be featured in the L wing, while the Emergency Medical Services, Fire Service, Massage Therapy, Medical Assisting, Nursing Assistant, Occupational Therapy programs will be featured at the H building.

Please register for the open house here. For more information, contact Admissions and Records at 217/351-2482 or

Parkland College Foundation to Host Virtual "Creating Impact" Celebration

Creating Impact Virtual Celebration Scholarship Fundraiser

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The Parkland College Foundation will host its 24th annual community celebration "Creating Impact" virtually this year in the form of a week-long fundraising campaign, beginning October 25 and ending October 28. Proceeds benefit deserving students at Parkland College.

The Creating Impact Virtual Celebration will highlight the Foundation's donors and community sponsors, raise funds for students, and include videos that offer an opportunity to hear how the Parkland College Foundation creates impact throughout the district and in the lives of Parkland students. 

The Creating Impact Celebration is the only scholarship fundraiser of the year for Parkland College. At last year's event, the Foundation raised nearly $52,000 for scholarship and student emergency funds. 

To participate in the Creating Impact Virtual Celebration, please visit For more information about how to invest in the Parkland community, call 217/351-2464 or email

Longview Capital Corporation is a presenting sponsor.