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Heartland Community College

Monica Estabrook: Strong Girls

Monica Estabrook Strong Girls

Strong Girls by Monica Estabrook will be on display March 23 through May 8 in the Joe McCauley Gallery at Heartland Community College. The gallery is located in room 2507 of the Instructional Commons Building on Heartland’s Normal campus, 1500 W. Raab Road.

Estabrook describes Strong Girls as a series that confronts gender biases by portraying “a small sample of the strength in our community” through black and white photographs. The photos portray Estabrook’s former art students from Stevenson Elementary School in Bloomington, IL. Each girl demonstrates unique strengths and individual character.

Join the conversation

After teaching art for six years at Stevenson, Estabrook noticed how gender biases in the community create disadvantages for girls who are up against a history of suppression, silence and inequality.

“A Strong girl in our society needs to stand up for herself and persevere through a great number of challenges,” said Estabrook. “She is one who does not subscribe to gender norms, believes she can do anything she sets her mind to and works independently without the need for validation from others.”

Gallery Coordinator Danell Dvorak adds that a strong girl can mean different things to different people. “We want this exhibit to start a conversation,” she said. “What is a strong girl? Who are the strong girls in your life?”

Individuals are encouraged to join the conversation by using #HCCstronggirls on the College’s social media outlets:

  • Twitter: @Heartland_CC
  • Instagram: @heartlandhawks
  • Facebook:

Gallery activities

An artist reception takes place Tuesday, March 31 from 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. at the gallery. The reception includes light refreshments and a free drawing activity for kids.

In conjunction with her exhibit, Estabrook will present a free photogram workshop for area high school students. The workshop takes place Saturday, April 11 from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. in room 2501 of HCC’s Instructional Commons Building. Registration is required and can be completed by emailing Danell Dvorak at

About the artist

Estabrook is a practicing artist and an art teacher at Bloomington High School. Her photographs, mixed media works and interactive installations have been exhibited at Woman Made Gallery in Chicago, McMaster Art Gallery in Columbia, SC and Limner Gallery in New York City, among others. She holds a bachelors degree in art history and a master of arts in teaching, K-12 art education, from the University of South Carolina, Columbia, in addition to a master of fine arts in photography from Southern Illinois University.

Estabrook taught at Stevenson Elementary from 2007-2014, and was awarded classroom grants for art supplies and equipment from State Farm and the Beyond the Books Educational Foundation in 2011. Her professional memberships include the Illinois Art Education Association and the National Art Education Association

Contact the Art Gallery

ICB 2507

Gallery Hours:


Monday- Friday

9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.




9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

And by appointment


Shahrbanoo Hamzeh 

Carol Hahn 

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LASS Administrative Assistant
Phone: 309-268-8635

Liberal Arts and Social Sciences Division