Margaret Crowley Challenged by Art Department
Crowley in her studio.
My time at Eastern Illinois University was short but proved to be incredibly important in illuminating the direction of my future. My experience was shaped mainly by the faculty but was also strongly influenced by my peers and my space at Burl Ives Studios. The professors and classes I took at Eastern helped build my perspective of the art world as well place myself in relation to it.
The faculty nurtured my work and ideas but more importantly they pushed the trajectory of my practice far beyond anything I could have ever predicted. Just when I thought I had a major break through I would quickly be encouraged by faculty to explore even more. The studio space at Eastern was both functional and thriving because it existed as a communal space while still maintaining privacy for the artists.
During the course of the year, my personal notions of “finish” and “complete” were challenged constantly thus enriching my process immensely. As an artist, I think it is common to find yourself in a comfortable and productive place after you have established a methodology. Through critical discussion and studio conversations I have learned how important it is to continuously question what I am doing and why. The process of completing my MA at Eastern prepared me for an MFA program in countless ways. I came to my program in Chicago feeling not only prepared, but also confident. EIU instilled in me the tools necessary to articulate my work and the history behind it as well as envision where I want to push my work in the future. To reach a goal it is important to have an idea of where you are going. At the end of the year, leaving Eastern was easy. I knew I had been given a huge advantage in pursuing my MFA degree and also felt secure knowing I already had a support system if I needed it. Now in the last year of graduate school at the University of Chicago, I continually find myself recalling experiences at Eastern that influenced my work then and still do today.