Gallery features display of figurative oil paintings

DeKALB – Northern Illinois University and the DeKalb Area Women’s Center connect in a fine arts exhibition at the women’s center galleries in August.

The exhibition showcases figurative oil on canvas paintings by NIU art professor emerita Carmen Armstrong, who said the question “How long have you been painting?” takes her all the way back to her childhood.

“That takes me back to coloring books in which the imagery stopped at borders of a page,” she said. “Dissatisfied with that, I continued the images and colored them to edges of the page.”

Armstrong had a Saturday scholarship to the Fort Wayne Art Institute in eighth grade. When she began attending a high school without an art program, she approached the principal, who challenged her to get the signatures of 35 students who would take art if it was offered. When she succeeded, the school’s English teacher took summer classes and became the art teacher.

In college, she “found reinforcement for my interest in art and reason to advocate for providing quality art education in all schools.”

Armstrong taught art privately and in public schools in Indiana and Michigan as she earned her master’s and doctorate degrees in art education.

She has exhibited in galleries in Denver, Minneapolis, Louisville, Evansille, Fort Wayne, DesPlaines, Rend Lake, St. Marys (Ind.), Rockford and Detroit.

The 52 paintings in the exhibition can be viewed from 7 to 9 p.m. Fridays in August. There will be a reception during those hours on Friday, Aug. 23, and Armstrong will lead a presentation titled “How to Look at Art” at 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 26.

DeKalb Area Women's Center Galleries

1021 State St., DeKalb

Open 7-9 p.m. Fridays and by appointment

Parking is available on-street and one-half block south in the lot at 415 N. 11th St.

For more information, call 815-758-1351 or email

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