July 10, 2018 at 1:45pm
Dane Lisser

Art therapy major spending summer as Blue Connection Artist-in-Residence

Millikin University art therapy major Brooke Brasile is spending her summer furthering her education on new art concepts and techniques as part of a residency she is doing at Blue Connection, Millikin's student-run retail art gallery.

Brasile was named the 2018 Robert Harrison Crowder Artist-in-Residence at Blue Connection in May 2018 by Millikin's Art Department and Center for Entrepreneurship.

Brasile, who grew up in northern Illinois, is currently studying painting and drawing, and works under the guidance of Professor Lyle Salmi, chair of the Art Department at Millikin. Brasile is showcasing her artwork at Blue Connection from June 25 – August 3 with After 5 Live showings on Friday, August 10 and Friday, Sept. 7. For her final showing on Sept. 7, Brasile plans to show an interactive installation piece.

Brooke Brasile

"It's been a newer realization," Brasile said in a recent interview with the Herald & Review. "I never thought I would be an artist, but I really like the therapy aspect."

Brasile says her artwork is on a constant journey of discovering what life means, bringing everyone's awareness into the collective consciousness.

"My art addresses the challenge of balancing the unconscious and conscious mind, being able to recognize our surroundings. I am currently introducing a new concept of storytelling through my paintings to further engage the viewer," said Brasile. "To accomplish this, I have begun to practice observing human interactions, both verbal and physical communications. I translate these observations into a painting by abstracting the figures and using layers of various mediums to voice the history of the subject and the layers behind the mind and body."

Kate Flemming, program coordinator for Millikin's Center for Entrepreneurship said Brasile "is a talented artist with a vibrancy we know the community will enjoy. We can't wait to see the outcomes of her use of the gallery as both a studio and a display place this summer."

Brooke Brasile

Art activism is one of the concentrations of Brasile's work. "That is more community-based, instead of individual-based," Brasile said. "I want to bring the community together by interacting with art and performing with art."

Brasile added, "For students to have an opportunity to be a residential artist while pursuing their degree and in a location near campus, is extraordinary to me. When I was notified that I was the recipient for the residency this year, I was beside myself with excitement and joy. I know that my artwork has taken me to this place for a reason, exploring that reason, making it come to life, is extremely rewarding. I know that my artwork will continue to take me to new places, and this residency is just the beginning."

Opened in 2003, Blue Connection is Millikin University's student-run retail art gallery located in the Madden Arts Center in downtown Decatur, Ill., and is currently led by Associate Professor of Art Ed Walker. Focused on arts and specialty businesses, the retail location is used by students in Millikin's Arts Entrepreneurship Program to grow their businesses. Products are conceived, designed and/or crafted by the students who sell them.

Brooke Brasile
Photo courtesy of the Herald & Review