Marian University professor and Social Work program director Dr. Leslie Jaber-Wilson and Amy Manion, spouse of President Andrew Manion, will be two of 30 women featured in the exhibition Illuminating Women: An art collaboration by Laura Schneider and Juliane Troicki, at the Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts.
A collaboration of journalism and documentary photography, the project combines portraits of 30 inspiring women from the Fond du Lac community represented through black and white photography and biographical narratives.
Jaber-Wilson, a 1991 graduate of Marian’s social work program, became a Marian professor in 2006 and continues to work in the field as the executive director of a private foster care agency and on the executive board of the Wisconsin Council on Social Work Education. Manion joined the Marian community in 2016 and serves as the Director of Libraries at Waukesha County Technical College.
“This was quite humbling and a true honor to be selected as one of the women featured in the exhibit,” said Jaber-Wilson, who along with her husband has fostered more than 80 children over the last 25 years, adopting three. “There are so many inspiring women in this community who have been mentors to me and their willingness to share their gifts has made me who I am today.”
In October she, along with Marian associate psychology professor Dr. Amy Hennings, presented at the conference U First: Building Resilience in the Helping Professional. The presentation discussed how to focus on building resilience skills for mental health professionals and family members who serve high-risk and trauma populations in order to reduce the risk of vicarious traumatization and burnout.
Her focus remains on building a strong service learning component into Marian’s curriculum so that students begin practicing their skills by serving the community as freshmen, hoping to light the spark for service and connections to one another.
Amy Manion, who is a member of the Thelma’s Board of Directors and leads a book club at the Center, said she was surprised when she was approached about the exhibit, but honored to be included.
“As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment (which assured women’s right to vote in the United States) this year, I’m glad that Thelma is presenting an exhibit celebrating women.” Manion has served as a registrar for voting and for over 10 years served as tutor and board member at a literacy center for immigrant women.
An opening reception for the exhibit will be held at 6 p.m. on Feb. 20, with the artists speaking at 6:30 p.m. The project, on display through March 28, is meant to shine a light on exceptional women and their gifts to the community. The artists’ hope is to move the Fond du Lac community to be inspired by the 30 stories.
Born in Wisconsin, Schneider earned her BFA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where her passion for photography was ignited in the darkroom. For nearly two decades she has been capturing subtleties that go overlooked by the casual observer. Her perceptive nature gives her work character and revealing depth. She leverages her senses and the natural qualities of her environment to leave inspired, relatable creations in her wake.
A native of Berlin, Germany, Troicki has lived in Fond du Lac for six years. She is the mother of four children. She cares deeply about her environment and has been a long-term community advocate and volunteer. She holds a Ph.D. in political science and teaches classes at local colleges. As an educator, she is passionate about teaching and learning, especially about women’s experiences and their role in the world.
Agnesian Healthcare, a member of SSM Health, is sponsoring the exhibit. Visit thelmaarts.org for more details.