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Sense of Place

How do we map the places of our lives? Elmhurst Art Museum celebrates its 20th anniversary and its own sense of place with this exhibition, which honors the artists, teachers and community members who understood art’s ability to help us see through the eyes of others,  and the role of a shared place in which to create a civil society.


An exhibition exploring the relationship between place and identity feels especially timely on the heels of the 2016 election. Regional voting patterns are as old as democracy. What is new is a growing correlation of spatial, social and political polarization.


Geographical places and their physical features are sites of memory. Landscape operates as a storehouse for collective memory. The bonds between place and identity influence our pastimes, our policies and our politics. Our collective surprise at the shifting map of red and blue suggests that we do not understand the ways in which geography and identity are intertwined.  


The 39 artists in this exhibition explore how space becomes place when it is imbued with meaning, and how place and identity are inextricably bound to one another. Through their work we can see how we come to identify with where we live. In turn, we are shaped by these places, creating environmental autobiographies.