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Villanova University Faculty Members

Our current exhibit features work from Villanova University Faculty Members!

Opening: February 1 
Reception to meet the artists: February 1 from 5-7pm
Closing: April 12

Villanova Art Gallery presents

A Fine Arts Faculty Exhibition of

Villanova University:

Igniting Change through Creativity


The Villanova University Art Gallery invites guests to experience the work of Villanova’s own fine arts faculty with Igniting Change through Creativity, Fine Arts Faculty Exhibition of Villanova University, on display February 1 - April 12, 2019. The Gallery will host a reception to meet the artists on Friday, February 1 from 5-7pm. The Art Gallery is located in the Connelly Center on the Villanova campus. Convenient on-campus parking is available.

Villanova studio art students know their instructors as knowledgeable, attentive teachers who bring enthusiasm and skill to the classroom; but students are not always aware that the fine arts faculty consists of active exhibitors, professional illustrators and designers whose works are prized by collectors and whose expertise is sought-after regionally, nationally, and internationally.

Gallery Director and full professor of fine arts, Rev. Richard G. Cannuli, OSA, says, “Our students see a bit of how we work during class demonstrations, but a demo and a finished piece can be worlds apart. We assemble periodic faculty shows so that students can see more of what we do, and understand better the arc between the initial idea for a piece and the final product.”

Of course, art students aren’t the only members of the Villanova community who gain from an encounter with the faculty’s creative output. Igniting Change through Creativity will include paintings in a variety of media, both traditional and digital. There will be photographs, figure drawings, vestments, icons, scripture illuminations, and even a collection of theatrical wedding gowns. Visitors to the Villanova Art Gallery will moved by the variety and scope of the assembled works, reminded of the caliber of the artist-teachers who are essential parts of the Villanova community, and perhaps inspired to pursue their own creative interests.

The nine artist-teachers whose work will be collected in Igniting Change through Creativity are Dr. Tina Waldeier Bizzarro, Sr. Helen David Brancato, Fr. Richard G. Cannuli, Christine Clay-Gorka, Jeff Dion, Susan Kelly vonMedicus, Janus Stefanowicz, Dave Walsh, and John Welsh.


Tina Waldeier Bizzarro is a medievalist art historian who has taught in Villanova University’s Irish Studies department since her graduate days at Bryn Mawr College.  She also teaches in “The Painting of Icons” course, which product of 3 Coptic and Byzanto-Russian-style icons are proudly on display in this show.  Her interest in the roadside shrines or edicole of Sicily has developed since she was a Fulbright Scholar in Sicily in 2006 and since she developed and taught in a Summer Studies program in Sicily, co-sponsored by VU (2000-07). These domestic sacred spaces are the subject of a current book she is writing entitled, Wayside Warriors: The Roadside Shrines of Sicily. Dr. Bizzarro’s specialty is architectural history. She has published, Romanesque Architectural Criticism: A Prehistory with Cambridge University Press, a history of the reception of medieval architecture from the 15th through the early 19th century. She is working on a pendant volume to this which treats medieval architectural criticism from 1820 through 1914. A recent chapter on medieval architectural revivals, entitled “‘The Scattered Limbs of the Giant’: Recollecting Medieval Architectural Revivals” will appear in the second edition of A Companion to Medieval Art:  Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe, in January, 2019 with Wiley Press. The Università di Aldo Moro, Bari, Italy published a paper she gave there at a conference in October, 2015: “The Politics of Domesticating the Eternal: The Roadside Shrines of Sicily,” and the University of Messina, Sicily published her “Icon: Meaning and Making,” in the Atti del Istituto dei Peloritani. Dr. Bizzarro is an active scholar, presenting papers and chairing sessions at professional venues in her discipline for over 25 years. She is pleased to be included in this august group!  She believes, as did Picasso, that she should do all the things that she does not know—so that she learns how to do them!


Sr. Helen David Brancato, IHM, is an award-winning artist, teacher, and book illustrator. She studied portrait painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and a variety of visual art forms at The Tyler School of Art of Temple University.  Her several book works include a collaboration with Henri Nouwen, Walk with Jesus: Stations of the Cross; Evelyn Mattern’s Why Not Become Fire and Ordinary Places/Sacred Spaces; and her own book about outsider artist Ida May Sydnor titled Urban Shaman. A drawing and painting teacher at Villanova, Brancato has also served as art center director of the Southwest Community Enrichment Center, in Philadelphia’s Kingsessing neighborhood. She currently has a studio at the gatehouse in Bryn Mawr, PA, where she can display more than 200 paintings.


Rev. Richard Cannuli, OSA, is Villanova University’s Artist in Residence. He is curator of the Villanova Art Gallery, has been on the faculty of Villanova University since 1978, and has been full professor of Fine Arts since 2000. Fr. Cannuli earned his MFA at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, his BFA at Villanova, and completed advanced studies at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. He is trained as a painter and printmaker and he works in and teaches watercolor, oil painting, printmaking, and icon painting. As a professional artist, he has designed and worked with stained glass windows, fabric, mosaic, and liturgical furniture. He is a Certified Liturgical Design Consultant and has assisted cloistered religious communities with their choir and chapel spaces. Fr. Cannuli lectures worldwide on liturgy and the arts. He has conducted workshops on the painting of icons in Sussex, England and sites throughout Europe, as well as across the United States--notably, his sought-after annual icon workshops in Vero Beach, Florida. His exhibit of Old and New World religious icons, “Ever Ancient, Ever New – Sacred Treasures,” opened in Rome, Italy, and traveled to Augustinian churches and cloisters in San Gimignano, Italy; Prague, Czech Republic; and Krakow and Warsaw, Poland. He has exhibited his watercolors in Italy, Spain, China, Russia, Belarus, and Greece—as well as throughout the United States. He has curated, judged, and organized exhibitions of art, as well as participated in round-table discussions. Working with specialists from Russia and Belarus, he has consulted on determining the symbolism of antique icons.


Christine Clay Gorka has been a practicing artist and arts educator in the Philadelphia area for 30 years and has shown her work and received awards in juried and gallery exhibitions. She works and offers classes to children and teens in art and drama in her studio in the East Falls section of Philadelphia, which she shares with her husband, Paul.  Clay Gorka received her BFA from Villanova University and Rosemont College and studied illustration and digital photography at Moore College of Art and University of the Arts after graduation. She later received a MA in Education degree from Villanova with a concentration and research involving neuroscience and arts related practices in education. She is currently a professor of Painting and Drawing at Villanova and has taught at metropolitan area colleges, private and public elementary schools, and community art centers to students ranging from preK to experienced adults. Her approach to teaching is informed by research involving the importance of the arts in literacy, memory and emotional intelligence in all levels of education. She has provided therapeutic and educational stimulation to psychiatric patients and to students with disabilities in an attempt to use art for holistic healing and meditation.


Jeff Dion is a painter and art teacher who has been exhibiting his work since 1984. He received his BFA from The University of the Arts and MFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Along with his landscapes, figure drawings and paintings done in a variety of traditional media, he has also been creating and showing digital and time-lapse drawings using his iPad. Influenced by the works of French artist Honoré Daumier, Dion’s digital works are touch screen drawings of people made in repose on public transportation, in his studio and from the life model. Dion has been teaching painting and drawing since 1991 and has been a faculty member of Villanova University since 2016 where he is a professor of Basic Drawing.


Susan Kelly vonMedicus is an artist specializing in the sacred arts and historical materials. She also practices printmaking and just about any intriguing art form. Her work is in private and public collections internationally. Kelly vonMedicus teaches in the studio art and Irish studies departments at Villanova, as well as Villanova’s Graterford Prison program. She also offers private workshops through the Prosopon School of Iconology in the areas of illumination, bookbinding, and printmaking. Kelly vonMedicus coordinates family foundation events at Kelly House in East Falls and is the mother of three sons, grandmother of two, and a devoted knitter, poultry and bee keeper residing in the Philadelphia area.


Janus Stefanowicz graduated from Villanova with a BS in Education and an MA in Theatre, and from Temple University with an MFA in Costume Design. In the past 30 years she has designed over 200 productions both professionally and academically. She is the Costume Shop Manager and resident Costume Designer for the Villanova Theatre Department. Janus has also worked at numerous regional theatres including: Manhattan Theatre Club, ACT Theatre, McCarter Theatre Center, NY Stage & Film, Berkshire Theatre Festival, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Wilma Theatre, Delaware Theatre Co, The People’s Light and Theatre Company, Arden Theatre Company, Lantern Theatre Co, InterAct Theatre Co, Theatre Horizon, PlayPenn and Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival. Since 1996, she has been nominated for 16 Barrymore Awards and has won three: the 2006 Barrymore Award for Best Costume for Intimate Apparel at Philadelphia Theatre Co., the 2003 Barrymore Award for Big Love and 1998 Award for On the Razzle, both at the Wilma Theatre. She also teaches as an adjunct professor in the Villanova University Theatre Department, teaching Scenography (graduate), Fashion in Costume Design, Accessories: Design and Construction, and Theatre in Philadelphia (undergraduate).


Dave Walsh received a BFA from Tyler School of Art and an MFA from Yale School of Art. His paintings have been featured in the MFA annual edition of New American Paintings as an editor’s selection. He was an artist in residence at the Dumfries House in East Ayrshire, Scotland through the Princes Drawing School of London and a 2015-2016 fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA. Most recently, he was the recipient of the 2018 F. Lammot Belin Scholarship.


John Welsh is a photographer and filmmaker based out of Philadelphia. Whether he’s creating still images for digital and print publications or video delivered via the big screen or mobile device, his roots are in photojournalism and he has over 30 years of storytelling behind him. He has taught photography privately, through the Wayne Art Center and at Villanova University through the Studio Art Department and the Honors Program. He is an active member of the American Society of Media Photographers, has served as President of the Philadelphia Chapter and as a Director on the National Board.


The Villanova University Art Gallery is open weekdays from 9 a.m. -11 p.m. For extended and weekend hours, and other information, contact the Art Gallery at (610) 519-4612. More information is available on the Gallery's website:


About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges—the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. Ranked among the nation’s top universities, Villanova supports its students’ intellectual growth and prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them. For more, visit