Friday, October 16, 2015

Art @ the Y presents: "Behind Closed Doors–No More", Linocuts and Quilts by Elzbieta (Elka) Kazmierczak

On view in Murphy Gallery of the University YMCA 

from November 5, 2015 through December 2015. 

The University YMCA is pleased to present the Behind Closed Doors No-More exhibition series, displaying linocuts and quilts by Elzbieta (Elka) Kazmierczak. All are invited to the Behind Closed Doors-No More exhibition opening at 5pm on Thursday, November 5, 2015 at the Y’s Murphy Gallery, 1001 South Wright Street, Champaign, Illinois. A viewing of Behind Closed Doors–No More will begin at 5:00pm, followed by a gallery talk with Elka Kazmierczak at 5:30pm. The opening reception is a good opportunity for the Champaign-Urbana community to learn more about the artist’s work in person. Light refreshments will be provided.

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Image above: "Patience" by Elzbieta (Elka) Kazmierczak

On November 12 at 7pm, all are invited to participate in an expressive arts workshop for the Behind Closed Doors-No More series. No registration is required. This, free hands-on workshop will be facilitated by the artist Elka Kazmierczak, with all materials provided. The workshop will take place in Murphy Gallery of the University YMCA. 1001 S. Wright Street, Champaign.

Image above: "Hero" by Elzbieta (Elka) Kazmierczak
Behind Closed Doors–No More presents an emotional journey from victim of domestic violence to advocate against gender-based violence. It includes the artist’s personal story and stories of women and girls interviewed by the artist. This exhibition shows the value of art as a means for speaking out against taboos: a means for healing and empowerment.

Elka Kazmierczak is a printmaker, book artist, expressive arts instructor, and survivor of domestic violence. A fellow of the Polish Ministry of Culture and Art, she immigrated from Poland in 1990, later receiving an MFA, MA, and PhD at the University of Illinois. 

Art at the Y is delighted to showcase the work of Elka Kazmierczak at the Y's Murphy Gallery from November 5, 2015 through December 2015.

Additional sponsors include: Diversity and Social Justice Education, University of Illinois Women’s Resource Center and YWCA of the University of Illinois

Art @ the Y is an initiative of the University YMCA. All Art at the Y events are free and open to the public.  Website:

Murphy Gallery Hours
Mondays-Thursdays from 9am to 9pm
Fridays from 9am to 5pm

Murphy Gallery of the University YMCA
1001 S. Wright Street, Champaign, IL 61820 

Parking Nearby:Parking lot on 6th between Daniel & Chalmers - Free after 5pm.
Parking garage on 6th & John - Free after 5pm.
Street parking on Wright, Chalmers, & 6th Streets for 75¢ per hour.
Municipal lot on Green & 5th Streets for $1 per hour.

Press Release/PSA
For Immediate Release
Thursday, October 15, 2015

For media inquiries, contact Megan Flowers, Communications Director


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Visual Politics class visits the "(In)Visible Men" painting series

VISUAL POLITICSResisting and Confronting Stereotypes of Black Men in"(In)Visible Men", Paintings by Rick Lewis

Yesterday, on October 13, the "(In)Visible Men" series was visited by the CMN 340 Visual Politics class. Instructor Katie Irwin brought the students over to the Y's Murphy Gallery because she saw that the exhibition was a great example of the topics discussed throughout the course.

Katie left the artist Rick Lewis a note in the "(In)Visible Men" visitor's comment book:

"Thank you for sharing your work with our campus. I brought my Visual Politics class here today as we are concluding a unit on confronting, resisting, and visibility of civil rights. Your pieces helped to bring alive these issues for my students, especially as they stood face to face with their Illinois State peers. Looking forward to seeing your future work." -Katie Irwin, Doctoral Candidate from the Department of Communication from the Art @ the Y presents "(In)Visible Men" visitor's comment book.

"(In)Visible Men", Paintings by Rick Lewis is now view now in the Y's Murphy Gallery through October 31, 2015! Art @ the Y is an initiative of the University YMCA. All Art @ the Y events are free and open to the public.

About: (In)Visible Men is a portrait series focused on Black males and the attempt to bring visibility to a social group that has been historically marginalized. Since the birth of this country, Black men have appeared and disappeared from view depending upon the political, economic or entertainment needs of the dominant culture.In the series, Rick Lewis is asking the viewer to pause while attempting to see Black men without a narrative or judgment; to quiet inner dialogues that have arisen from how this group has been defined.

Murphy Gallery Hours:
Mondays-Thursdays from 9am to 9pm
Fridays from 9am to 5pm

Murphy Gallery of the University YMCA
1001 S. Wright Street, Champaign, IL


Nearby Bus Stops: Transit Plaza, Armory & Wright, and Wright and Chalmers

Bus Lines: Silver, Navy, Blue, Illini, Brown, Yellow

Monday, October 12, 2015

YThen/YNow: The Case of Chief Illiniwek

Since 1873, the University YMCA has committed itself towards bettering human relations and protecting our planet. Over time, with Y student leaders taking lead, we have furthered our conversations in the pursuit of social justice.


Pictured at the podium in Latzer Hall of the University YMCA, UIUC student activists Charlene Teters and Michael Haney lead the Anti-Chief Illiniwek movement, which launched in 1991. Their message is clear: Native Americans are not mascots. Native Americans are human beings.


On April 17, 2015, Angela Walden gives a talk at the University YMCA’s Murphy Gallery on “Mascots, Cultural Appropriation, and Indigenous Peoples: The Case of Chief Illiniwek.” This Art @ the Y sponsored event took place in conjunction with the exhibition "IndiVisible: African-Native Lives in the Americas."

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

#BeCauseY: Meet Efadul Huq

Efadul Huq has tirelessly vetted so many scholarship opportunities announced through the Department of Urban Planning of which he‘s a graduate student. Most graduate students will tell you it’s not easy to find financial assistance, especially for those students passionate about community service and activism. Efadul had heard about the University YMCA‘s Fred S. Bailey Scholarship for Cause-Driven Leaders and found a chance for his work to be supported. Still, even with all of his work in service and activism, he wondered if he had a shot in getting the Fred S. Bailey scholarship to support his work.

For international students like Efad there are not many options for scholarships or fellowships. Most paid internships and fellowships within Urban Planning have to do with city level jobs and government level jobs, which requires you to at least have a legal permanent residency status at the very least in most cases. The Fred S. Bailey Scholarship for Cause-Driven leaders was one of two scholarships for which he was able to find himself eligible and apply.

Over the past year or so, Efad had also been involved with the New Americans Initiative, a global engagement program of the University YMCA that reaches out to local immigrant families. He also participated in a community organization called The CU Immigration Forum and among has also been driving the movement for U. of I. divestment from Vanity Fair in support of Bangladeshi garment workers who demand safe factory conditions.

“I feel that the YMCA is a sort of oasis on campus, with all of the social justice and environmental activism happening, overlapping and collaborating within this space. It is such a lively and exciting place to be," says Efad.

It’s amazing to see the great work of students like Efad having a place of support in the YMCA. And, in case you haven’t heard yet, we are happy to report that Efad Huq is the recipient of the 2015-2016 Fred S. Bailey Fellowship for Community Leadership, Service, and Activism.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

[Press Release] University YMCA presents "The Whole Gritty City," Community Screening and Dialogue

The University YMCA presents a film screening and dialogue
THE WHOLE GRITTY CITY Community event to encourage dialogue on African-American experiences as part of the “Breaking Down Racism” talk series

[Champaign County, IL] The University YMCA is hosting a free film screening of The Whole Gritty City on Tuesday, October 20 at The Art Theater Cooperative located at 126 West Church Street in downtown Champaign, IL. The screening of The Whole Gritty City begins at 7:30pm. Following the film, guest are invited to join the YMCA for a community dialogue and discussion facilitated by Latrelle Bright, Assistant Professor in Department of Theatre at the University of Illinois and Program Coordinator for Inner Voices Social Issues Theatre. This event is free and open to the public.

The Whole Gritty City is a 90-minute documentary that plunges viewers into the world of three New Orleans school marching bands. The film follows kids growing up in America's most musical city, and one of its most dangerous, as their band directors get them ready to perform in the Mardi Gras parades, and teach them to succeed and to survive. Navigating the urban minefield through moments of setback, loss, discovery, and triumph, these children and their adult leaders reveal the power and resilience of a culture.

The film features three marching bands in the years after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city: the O. Perry Walker and L.E. Rabouin high school bands., and The Roots of Music, a new band for middle school-age children. These young beginners in Roots are put through their paces by the program's founder Derrick Tabb, drummer for the Grammy Award-winning Rebirth Brass Band.

Viewers who know first-hand the African American urban experience will find a celebration of the strength, insight, potential and resilience of the mentors and their students. Others will find a moving, empathetic portrayal of an unfamiliar world, and come to feel a stake in the struggles and triumphs.

This event is sponsored by: University YMCA, Amnesty International - UIUC, Amnesty International - UIUC, Channing Murray Foundation, Diversity and Social Justice Education, Prison Justice Project, the Social Action Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Urbana Champaign, and the YWCA of the University of Illinois.

This event is part of the Fall 2015 Friday Forum lecture series, "Breaking Down Racism: Uncovering the Reality of Racial Injustice in the U.S." All Friday Forums are free and open to the public. Friday Forum is a program of the University YMCA, 1001 S. Wright St, Champaign. The University YMCA, creating dynamic change in our communities today while developing tomorrow’s cause driven leaders.

Watch the trailer at: Follow the event on Facebook.
For more information, please visit:

Press Release
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, October 6, 2015

For media inquiries, contact Megan Flowers