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About the Tarble Arts Center

The Tarble Arts Center is a major cultural arts resource serving east-central Illinois. Its founding purpose is "to take the arts to the people."



Tuesday - Friday: 10 am - 5 pm

Saturday - Sunday: 1 - 4 pm

Closed Mondays, holidays, and during installation periods

American Alliance of Museums badge

The Tarble Arts Center has been re-accredited by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM). Accreditation involves a very rigorous process that examines all aspects of a museum’s operations. AAM accreditation signifies the Tarble’s commitment to excellence, accountability, high professional standards, and continued institutional improvement. Of the nation’s nearly 17,500 museums only just over 1,000 are currently accredited. The Tarble Arts Center is one of only 32 museums accredited in Illinois, and one of seven accredited university museums in the state.The Tarble has been accredited since 2001.


The Tarble presents a year-round schedule of:

  • Changing visual arts exhibitions
  • Education and outreach programs, with many designed especially for area schools
  • Lectures and demonstrations by visiting artists and speakers
  • Plays, concerts and other performing arts
  • Special events including openings and awards presentations

Most programs, including tours and enrichments for public schools, are presented at no charge to encourage participation in and exposure to the arts. The Tarble also offers technical assistance to area and co-sponsors events with community arts organizations and other groups.

The Tarble maintains a one-thousand piece permanent collection, including a 500 piece collection of late 20th century Illinois folk arts and related archival information. Intended as a teaching collection, holdings are concentrated on art from Illinois and the region. Also included are select examples of art from other cultures and historical periods in various media. (See Collections and Archives.)

Mission Statement

The mission of the Tarble Arts Center is to engender appreciation for and involvement in the arts, especially the visual arts, as a major arts resource for the people of east-central Illinois and Eastern Illinois University through the presentation of temporary exhibitions and community-based educational and outreach activities. A division of the College of Arts & Humanities, the Tarble Arts Center has a mandate to collect, preserve, exhibit, and interpret the university’s permanent collection of art, and to support the educational mission of the university.

Vision Statement

The Tarble Arts Center is an institution recognized for its unique service to the university and the region in encouraging an understanding of, appreciation for and participation in the arts through the presentation of varied, high quality, innovative visual arts programming, related programming and publications, and maintenance of the permanent collection. It contributes significantly to the university’s ability to deliver cultural and educational opportunities to its region, with emphasis on the educational aspects in all presentations, whenever possible entered into cooperatively with entities on- and off-campus. Its permanent collection preserves visual arts that are representative of the region and beyond to serve as a teaching resource for future generations to study and enjoy. In fulfilling its founding purpose to “take the arts to the people” the Tarble Arts Center encourages and celebrates creativity, our shared thoughts and emotions as human beings, and the rich diversity of the human experience as manifest through the visual arts and other art forms, as well as demonstrating the importance of the arts in fostering critical inquiry, creative problem-solving, and visual literacy.

Founding and Program Support

The Tarble Arts Center opened in 1982 with a large, flexible gallery space, the smaller Brainard Gallery, a classroom, and support facilities. The original facility was made possible by a gift of one million dollars donated by the late Newton E. Tarble plus an additional half-million dollars donated by EIU alumni, annuitants, and other patrons of the arts. Construction of a $2 million addition was completed in the spring of 2004, made possible by a gift from Mrs. Newton (“Pat”) Tarble. The East Wing includes the eGallery, a multi-use Atrium, meeting room, and support areas. All areas are handicapped accessible. The Tarble was accredited by the American Association of Museums in 2000. It is the only facility on Eastern's campus built entirely through donated funds.

The Tarble's programs are made possible through a variety of sponsors and funding sources:

  • the Tarble Arts Center Endowment, Mildred Grush Timmons American Scene Acquisitions Endowment, Ronchetti Art Acquisitions Fund, and other endowments of the Eastern Illinois University Foundation;
  • Tarble Arts Center membership contributions;
  • funding and in-kind support from area businesses and organizations, most notably support of the Cultivating Creativity touring exhibition from Consolidated Communications;
  • grant support from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, the Illinois Humanities Council, and other governmental and private foundations;
  • co-sponsorships with the EIU Art Department, EIU Center for the Humanities and other university departments and campus organizations, the Charleston Community Theatre, Coles County Arts Council, area schools and other community organizations;
  • and volunteer support through the Tarble docent program (tour guides), the gallery attendants in cooperation with the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), the Tarble Arts Center Advisory Board members, and other support activities.

Funding appropriated to Eastern Illinois University provides significant operating support of the Tarble Arts Center, including permanent staff salaries, utilities, facility maintenance, a variety of support services, and related administrative costs.

Tarble Arts Center Advisory Board, 2014-2015

  • President – Dorothy Bennett (Charleston, IL)
  • Vice President – Katrina Butler (Mattoon, IL)
  • Secretary – Beth Heldebrandt  (Mattoon, IL)
  • John Armstrong (Mattoon, IL)
  • Rehema Barber (ex officio, Director, Tarble Arts Center, EIU)
  • Marilyn Coles (Charleston, IL)
  • David Griffin (ex officio, Art Department Chair, EIU)
  • Glenn Hild (ex officio, Interim CAH Dean, EIU)
  • Alphonso Joyner (Charleston, IL)
  • Bruce Karmizan (Mattoon, IL)
  • Karen Littleford (Charleston, IL)
  • Blair Lord (ex officio, Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs, EIU)
  • John McDevitt (Sullivan, IL)
  • Kit Morice (ex officio, Curator of Education, Tarble Arts Center, EIU)
  • Michael Murray (Charleston, IL)
  • Keith Perry (Charleston, IL)
  • Bonnie Woodyard (Charleston, IL)


Sally Bock
Kit Morice
Michael Schuetz
Rehema Barber

General Contact Information

Tarble Arts Center
Eastern Illinois University
600 Lincoln Ave.
Charleston IL 61920-3099
217-581-ARTS (2787)