By Gabriela Laracca

On Oct. 6 at 4:30 p.m., Cheryl Hochberg, Chair of the Department of Fine Arts, lectured on behalf of her recently awarded Chambliss Award. She presented her lecture, “How Strange!” in front of a diverse audience of students, colleagues, fellow artists, personal friends and family.

The Chambliss Award was created in 2004 with a donation by former KU physical science professor, Dr. Carlson Chambliss. This award was created to provide recognition for those of greatest achievement.

“It gives the university an opportunity to be able to truly recognize their work and to acknowledge all their efforts,” said Dr. Kenneth Hawkinson, president of KU.

Hochberg received her BFA in printmaking from the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia and her MFA in graphics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Being no stranger to the artistic world, she obtained academic, professional and personal experience through her artistic endeavors.

Hochberg separated her lecture into three parts: studio work, travel work and creativity.

In the studio work section, she mainly discussed her artistic approach and practices. She also presented some of her artworks. Many of her practices were explained in a step-by-step basis with pictures, sketches and final products.

During the travel work portion, Hochberg presented work that she created while staying at artist residencies throughout her career. Some of these residencies include The Jentel Artist Residency in Wyoming, Arquetopia Artist Residency in Oaxaca, Mexico and The Studios at Key West in Florida. She explained that the alternate landscapes and new subject matter influenced her artwork.

Hochberg’s work mainly consists of mixed media, surreal paintings of animals and landscapes. Through her travels, she painted different subjects from each location, with each subject’s portrayal employing new artistic practices. Some of these included the use of foam board to create multi-dimensional images, real-animal fur and collages of different photographs and sketches.

The portion of her lecture that seemed to captivate the audience’s attention the most was when she described her definition of creativity.

“I really liked what she said about creativity,” said Abigail DeVizia, KU junior. “It’s more like the creative process is something that happens to you, not you forcing yourself to do something.”

This section impacted many students personally. Kate Misel, senior, said that Hochberg’s lecture gave her inspiration to come up with creative ideas. “I definitely feel like I want to go home and produce something now.”

Those aside from the student population were also affected by the lecture. “It was very inspiring to me and very interesting to learn how she puts her work together,” said Hawkinson.

The student turnout was larger than expected by both the speaker and other faculty members. Many of the students present saw the professor as a fellow artist. “I think it’s inspirational any time a faculty member presents their work for their students,” said Michelle Kiec, associate dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts. “[This is] especially true for art students as this is something they go through with every piece that they create.”

Mixed media works on paper created by Cheryl Hochberg in 2015 |
Mixed media works on paper created by Cheryl Hochberg in 2015 |

Hochberg’s final advice for her audience was to surround themselves with fellow artists. “I love my artist friends. We understand each other, we sympathize with each other, we support each other, we show up for each other,” said Hochberg. She explained how rejection is a factor in art and surrounding herself with support helped her through tough times.

She also admitted that even though she has considered herself an artist her entire life, she did not obtain full confidence in her artistic abilities until she was in her 40s. She said that as an art student, going from project to project felt external. “I was making something that I felt looked like art but I’m not sure it really was.”

Students took this as comforting words for current internal-artistic issues. “I was most inspired by the way she spoke about her work and how long it took her to get to that point in her artwork,” said Christian Cintron, senior. He felt reassured that he did not have to be

“completely ready” with his work so far. “It’s a long journey,” he said.

Hochberg has been featured in multiple sol exhibits including at the Allentown Art Museum, Montgomery College/Takoma Park and The Banana Factory in Bethlehem. She has also been involved in group shows such as Ice Box in Philadelphia and Woman Made Gallery in Chicago.

She is the advisor for the student-run gallery, Eckhaus, on Main Street and is a board member of FUSE in Allentown. For more information on Cheryl Hochberg and to view her artwork, visit her website at


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