By Faith Mountain
“I definitely like having experienced art teachers,” Taylor McMonagle, current Quincy University art student, said. “They have had a career in the art industry which is great because you will get a lot of real world perspective in their opinion.”
“I feel like they know so much more because of their experience,” Pasha Yates, QU alumna, said.
Robert Lee Mejer, known to many as Bob Mejer, distinguished professor of art and curator of the Gray Gallery, began working at Quincy University in 1968. This year, Mejer is celebrating his 50th year of teaching.
In 2001, Mejer was honored with distinguished professor status. Mejer was selected by the University President for achievement and recognition of his profession; contributions of his time and talent to his students, colleagues, profession and to the name and image of Quincy University; for excellence in teaching as well as his outstanding service.
During his art career, Mejer has presented over 65 one-man exhibitions and has had his works included in over 500 juried competitions, including statewide, national and international exhibitions. In April and May, Mejer will be an artist featured in the International Fabriano in Watercolor 2018 Exhibition in Fabriano, Italy. He has been serving the Tri-State area since 1989 as the founding president of the Great River Watercolor Society.
The Gray Gallery, founded by Mejer and located on the main floor of Brenner Library, is also celebrating its 50th year.
“There was an important need at QU for a regular art gallery program of exhibitions,” Mejer said. “I founded the Gallery with the intention of exposing the academic community and the Quincy community to various styles and media of art. I did not want to compete, nor could I, with the local art center and their expensive shows and manpower, so I switched my focus to one-person exhibits.”
Since its creation, the Gray Gallery has presented students, alumni, local artists and famous artists with the opportunity to have their works displayed in a public art gallery.
“The most rewarding part about being a teacher is exposing the students to the visual arts and making them believe in themselves,” Mejer said. “It is all about the students and the importance of nurturing their minds, growth and creativity.”
“In working towards my degree in graphic design, I had my work displayed in the Senior Retrospective show in the Gray Gallery,” Yates said. “I appreciated having the experience of putting together an exhibition with my fellow classmates for everyone to see.”
“The Gallery’s student shows are really cool,” McMonagle said. “He (Mejer) doesn’t tell you that your work will be included. I usually forget what pieces he’s taken so it’s like a surprise at the end of the year. I’ve had my work displayed in there every year and I really appreciate the complements from students and faculty on my work.”
“My favorite part about working for Quincy University is the people. It’s the faculty, students and staff,” Mejer said.
Mejer will continue to inspire his students and adapt to the changes new technology brings.
“When my son was young, someone told him that his dad was a teacher,” Mejer said. “I loved his reply. ‘No. He is an influencer.’”