Self-portrait puts image to Joe McCauley’s name

November 17, 2016

The Joe McCauley Art Gallery just got a new addition. A self-portrait of Joe McCauley will now hang outside the gallery for all to see.

McCauley was one of Heartland’s original faculty members. During his 18-year career at the College, he taught thousands of students with his unique perspectives on art and life. After he died tragically in 2009, a group of McCauley’s colleagues sought to celebrate his life and works of art.

One way of doing that was to create the Joe McCauley Art Gallery, which presents rotating art exhibitions featuring the works of students and professional artists.

The gallery is set among classrooms in Heartland’s Instructional Commons Building. According to McCauley’s friend and HCC art instructor Jane Camp, the location offers benefits. “Most art galleries are stand alone and typical visitors intentionally seek them out,” she explained. “Ours is harder to find, but more non-artists wander in there between classes or just to pass the time. It’s exactly what Joe would have wanted. He felt all people should enjoy art, not just art people.”

McCauley’s self-portrait was one of the hundreds of sketches and works he left behind in his office. After his death, the College gave McCauley’s artwork to his family. In turn, the family donated much of his work back for a Heartland art scholarship fundraiser. When Camp came across the self-portrait, she asked the family about an alternative home for it.

“I didn’t want to sell it,” she said. “I thought it should go in front of the gallery so people get an image of Joe. Having his name displayed is great, but now people will be able to see him and his art through the self-portrait.”

The family was on board with the idea. McCauley’s self-portrait was officially unveiled at a small ceremony on Wednesday, November 16 in front of his family, friends, and colleagues.

About the Gallery

Exhibits, events and parking at Heartland’s Joe McCauley Gallery are free. The gallery is located in room 2507 of the Instructional Commons Building on Heartland’s Normal campus, 1500 W. Raab Road. Hours are weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on days the College is open.

Written by: Becky Gropp