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About Benigna Chilla

This landmark exhibition will present major works from Benigna Chilla’s 30 years as an artist in our region.  She began her art studies in her native Germany at the Academy of Fine Arts, Berlin and traveled to America in 1973 to complete her graduate studies at the State University of New York and the University of Massachusetts.  She held several Visiting Assistant or Artist-in-Residence positions at the University of Massachusetts, Brown University, Cornell University and the Rhode Island School of Design until 1980 when she became a faculty member at Berkshire Community College, where she still continues to teach today.   Benigna has continued to steadily produce work from her studio at home in Chatham, New York as well as exhibit and lecture all over the world.  Most recently she presented a solo exhibition of her work at the School of Arts, University of Toluca, Mexcio and has just recently returned from presenting a paper at a science symposium in Brazil where she documented her development of a new visual reading of a geometric design she discovered in a ceiling of an Islamic mosque.

Benigna Chilla’s process as an artist begins with inspiration from ancient, geometric patterns found in mosque ceilings, pavements and textiles.  She breaks them down into their most basic forms, isolates sections, analyzes how all the pieces fit together, plays with color and then finally recreates the original inspiration as a completely new design, presented to the viewer as an optical illusion through the layering of see-through surfaces.

The Gallery at Liebowitz is a new, spacious, professional-level exhibition space on campus that has significantly expanded the Exhibitions Program at Simon’s Rock.  The gallery was created by making renovations to an old dance studio in a barn complex that until recently housed the Theater and Arts Division before it moved across the street to the new Daniel Arts Center.  The Gallery’s mission is to present talented artists in our region not only to the campus community but as well to community residents and visitors to Berkshire County.  Artist’s Receptions and talks are free and open to the public, and the gallery is open daily during the regular academic calendar.

The Exhibitions Program at Simon’s Rock presents a series of changing exhibitions by  faculty, students, alumni and artists in our community within the Atrium Gallery at the Alumni Library, the Daniel Arts Center and the new Gallery at Liebowitz.  The program is overseen by Margaret Grant, Collections and Exhibitions Curator, who can be reached at 413.528.7389 or