Nita Sunderland Tribute

Nita Sunderland Tribute Wb


A Celebration of Nita Sunderland's Life & Artistry

November 11, 2022  | 3 PM - 6:30 PM

Gilmore Auditorium (lower level)

4 PM | Special announcement & remembrances by family & friends

Nita K. Sunderland, famed sculptor and Bradley University professor emerita, passed away in July 2020. Two years later with the lifting of pandemic restrictions, her family and friends are holding an open house to honor her memory, Nov. 11, 3-6:30 p.m. at Peoria Riverfront Museum. There will be a special announcement and remembrances at 4 p.m. Nita Sunderland's work will be on display. Refreshments will be served.

"Peoria Riverfront Museum mourns the loss and celebrates the life of Nita Sunderland who died Friday, July 17, 2020 at the age of 92. Nita Sunderland was one of the most pioneering sculptors and visual artists to ever call Peoria home. We are proud to have been the recipient of the donation of her personal collection in 2015 and proud to have two of her large-scale limestone sculptures on display in our sculpture garden. Nita was among the first women sculpture faculty at any university in the nation, and she will forever be in the pantheon of the greatest creative talents to call Central Illinois home." - Bill Conger, Chief Curator, Peoria Riverfront Museum

"Nita Sunderland was an inspiration as both an artist and a citizen during her lifetime. She left a legacy that will continue to impact those who experience her art. She drew inspiration from her travels and varied life experiences, distilling them into a distinctive and compelling aesthetic vocabulary. Overcoming the multiple obstacles placed before her as a woman and as an artist only added to her strength, ensured her commitment of time and energy to preserve the artistic heritage of the community." - Kristan H. McKinsey, Director, Illinois Women Artists Projects & founding curator, Peoria Riverfront Museum

Peoria Riverfront Museum is proud to host many of Nita's works in our permanent collection, and our deep appreciation of her artistry and philanthropy will be remembered with a memorial project. 

Contributions to the Nita Sunderland Memorial Fund for the acquisition and care of sculpture can be made at the Peoria Riverfront Museum at the event, by calling 309-863-3042. 

For any questions regarding Peoria Riverfront Museum donation requests, please contact Laura Rude at


"Nita Sunderland left a legacy of fine sculpture in Peoria " | Leslie Renken, Peoria Journal Star, 24 July 2020

"Nita Sunderland sculpture finds new home at Peoria Riverfront Museum " | Leslie Renken, Peoria Journal Star, 16 August 2014