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IIT Chicago-Kent premieres major fine art exhibit in support of human rights

"The Art of Influence: Breaking Criminal Traditions" opens October 10

September 27, 2013

Venus by Valerie Schiff is one of several works by prominent Midwest artists to be featured in The Art of Influence: Breaking Criminal Traditions, at IIT Chicago-Kent, October 10, 2013, to February 3, 2014.The Art of Influence: Breaking Criminal Traditions sheds light on ongoing ancient rituals that kill or maim millions each year, yet aren't considered crimes. This provocative art exhibit debuts Thursday, October 10, from 5:15 to 8:15 p.m. at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, 565 West Adams Street (between Clinton and Jefferson streets) in Chicago. The exhibit, which features 38 pieces of art in several mediums representing works by several of the Midwest's most prominent artists, is curated by Charles Gniech and will run through Monday, February 3, 2014.

"The Art of Influence: Breaking Criminal Traditions is not about gender, culture or religion bashing. Rather, it is an exploration of human rights, a dialogue to raise consciousness as a first step toward preventing the continuation of these horrifying acts," says Cheryl Jefferson, executive producer of the exhibit. "The unique setting in one of Chicago's premier law schools puts the shadowy topics of honor killing, child marriage, acid violence, and more, directly in front of current and future legal influencers who can help create change and does so through the accessible medium of art."

"I applaud the exhibit's innovative use of art to illuminate and raise awareness of vexing human rights issues," says IIT Chicago-Kent Dean Harold J. Krent. "There is no question that artistic expression is one way we can prompt dialogue for greater tolerance in our world."

"The global reach of these complex behaviors extends to the United States," adds Jefferson. "The exhibit allows us to make an artistic effort toward change and to support the legal evolution that can only come from within other cultures and our own."

Featured artists include:

  • James Deeb (Evanston, IL)
  • Sheila Ganch (Chicago, IL)
  • Andra Harris (Chicago, IL)
  • Paula Kloczkowski Luberda (Naperville, IL)
  • Richard Laurent (Chicago, IL)
  • Zoriah Miller (New York, NY; Paris, France)
  • Nancy Rosen (Chicago, IL)
  • Lorraine Sack (Indianapolis, IN)
  • Valerie Schiff (Chicago, IL)
  • Barbara Simcoe (Omaha, NE)
  • Anne Smith Stephan (Wilmette, IL)

Charles Gniech has curated numerous fine art exhibitions—many with an emphasis on social justice. A sought-after guest curator, art consultant and award-winning painter, Gniech exhibits at the national level while teaching at The Illinois Institute of Art–Chicago.

Executive producer Cheryl Jefferson is a published author who has been honored with Ragdale and Wurlitzer Foundation writing residencies and other awards. Jefferson is a TED speaker who presents nationally on breaking criminal traditions and is a regular participant in the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

Co-producer Richard Laurent is an award-winning painter who exhibits in galleries and shows nationwide. Oil Painters of America has honored him with the prestigious national Blick Prize, and he is the recipient of numerous other awards as well. Laurent teaches throughout the Chicago area.

For more information about the exhibit, please visit the website at www.breakingcriminaltraditions.com.

Founded in 1888, IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law is celebrating "125 years of distinctive legal education." IIT Chicago-Kent is the law school of Illinois Institute of Technology, a private, Ph.D.-granting institution with programs in engineering, psychology, architecture, business, design and law.

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