Print Page   |   Contact Us   |   Your Cart   |   Sign In   |   Register
Community Search
SAIC Spotlights
Share |

Read about your peers' accomplishments below! Be sure to share your accomplishments via our news and announcements or events and exhibitions online forms.

Ale-ma Mater
The founder of Half Acre Beer Company (and SAIC alum) is brewing up a seasonal lager to celebrate SAIC’s 150th Anniversary. 

Gabriel Magliaro (BFA 2003), the president and founder of Chicago’s acclaimed Half Acre Beer Company, studied photography, visual communication design, and writing as an undergraduate at SAIC. But he didn’t realize how valuable his art school education would become to running his business until he began setting up his brewery. “Having a BFA helped me to think creatively about what we do here,” Magliaro says, “to always come at this process creatively.”

watch the video

Meat, Science, Art
With a successful food blog, an SAIC alum teaches the art of great grilling.  

Right in his cozy Brookfield home, Meathead, formerly known as Craig Goldwyn (MFA 1977), runs one of the world’s most popular barbecue and grilling websites, The site’s headquarters houses grill after grill, each with a specific purpose. With so many tools available, it’s inconceivable how one could master the art of grilling. Luckily for amateurs, this SAIC alum spells it out step-by-step.

watch the video

Q&A with Cassie Tompkins
SAIC alum talks about Regional, her unique magazine covering American food.  

SAIC alum Cassie Tompkins (BFA 2010) works as a Senior Graphic Designer at the Art Institute of Chicago museum and has published eight issues of Regional zine, a fold-out publication that examines the history and culture of American cuisine. Tompkins's zine combines her love of cooking with her education in visual communication design to produce something that pleases the eye and the palate.

read the story

Serving Time
Lucky Pierre’s Final Meals project sparks a discussion about prison reform. 

On October 25, 2014, a large group of community members including the SAIC-convened College Consortium for Art in Society, local government officials, and collaborative artist group Lucky Pierre gathered in the Residents’ Dining Hall of the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum. Co-organized by SAIC’s Department of Exhibitions and Exhibition Studies and the Hull-House Museum, the guests gathered around a “final meal” and conversation about prison reform.

read the story

The Dance of Death Lives On
For her Art History thesis, an SAIC graduate student re-stages an obscure, yet pivotal moment in Japan’s cultural history 

A grasping hand, a sideways glance, a rouged face, and a pair of painted lips parted in a gasp. Seven figures fill the frame of a photograph; it is hard to decipher where arching bodies and extended limbs begin and end. One can almost hear the creak of a swing, see the sway of high heels, or smell the cigarette smoke curling in the corner. The photograph is a staged portrait of an all-male group of avant-garde artists, active during the interwar period in Taisho Japan (1912–26). While they can only claim a fleeting moment in Japanese history (from 1923–26), the group participated in a radical movement toward modernism in Japan.

read the story

Wafaa Bilal, SAIC Visiting Artist Program            
Wafaa Bilal Lecture

Iraqi-born artist Wafaa Bilal (MFA 2003) returned to SAIC to kick off the Distinguished Alumni Lecture Spring 2015 Series. Bilal is currently an assistant professor at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. His online and performative work invites the audience to interact in dialogues concerning political hypocrisy and dynamic encounters.

Read the story

Eva Danielle Wittels            
Fashion meets Philanthropy
Eva Danielle Wittels (BFA 2004) runs a successful fashion line and advocates for rescue animals through her campaign, Fashion Tails.  

High-end fashion design evokes images of luxury, beauty, and opulence, not usually compassion, benevolence, and charity. Eva Danielle Wittels (BFA 2004), an alum of SAIC's Fashion Design program, combines these seemingly opposite poles of fashion and compassion through her family's animal awareness project, Fashion Tails.

Read the story

Creatively Coping with the Effects of War
Richard Casper (BFA 2012), Iraq War veteran and alum, brings together his love of the arts and military to help fellow veterans heal the unseen wounds left by war. 

Richard Casper (BFA 2012) has always been optimistic about life. Instead of allowing the trauma and injuries from his tour of duty as a Corporal in the Marines in the Iraq War to consume him, he turned them into something positive.

Read the story

150 Years of SAIC

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) is celebrating its 150th academic year beginning this fall with a full suite of exciting events for the whole community. Throughout the year, President Walter Massey, Provost Elissa Tenny, and Dean of Faculty Lisa Wainwright will be leading the festivities in various locations across the United States and abroad. Please mark your calendar for the following exhibitions, lectures, and events.

Click here for the lineup

Art in Andersonville
Two recent alums exceeded their funding goal to open a community art center in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. 

Stephanie Preston (BFA 2013) and Jean Marie Cate (BFA 2014) are waiting to find the perfect space for an artist studio and classroom. They envision Vignette Vignette as a place where Andersonville residents will make art together or just enjoy the storefront window vignette of artists pulling paper or drawing up a cup on the pottery wheel they pass by on the sidewalk.

Read the story

  Anida Yoeu Ali (MFA 2010), Bridge Over a Small River, from The Buddhist Bug series, 2014, digital C-print            
Intersecting Identities
Alum’s practice explores her experience as a Cambodian refugee in America and a Muslim woman in her Buddhist homeland. 

The Buddhist Bug project is as peculiar as it is beautifully arresting. Imagine the reaction of a Cambodian rice farmer at the sight of this bright, saffron-colored creature, its accordion form spanning 40 meters, crawling along a dirt road in the countryside. A human face peers out from the head, silent and serene. Trailing behind it, a pair of feet. It is a bizarre personification of artist Anida Yoeu Ali’s (MFA 2010) conflicted identity: on the one hand, her heritage and belief as a Khmer Muslim woman, and on the other, the context in which she finds herself: a homeland in which 96.9 percent of the population aligns itself with the Buddhist doctrine.

Read the story

A City That Works
Artist and curator Jason Benedict runs a thriving arts collective in Berlin.  

If all those stories you keep hearing about a city full of artists have piqued your interest, Jason Merrill Benedict (BFA 1999) may be your perfect guide to Berlin. Right now, Benedict is in the process of interviewing artists for a shared studio space he and his collaborators are opening in what was once a laundromat.

Read the story

Q & A with Kyung Hwa Shon
SAIC Alum (MFA 2011)

SAIC alum and current PhD candidate at the Royal College of Art in London discusses the evolution of her work and offers advice to recent graduates.

Read the story

The Healing Power of Art
An SAIC alum combines art, education, and therapy to offer hope to those in need.  

Inside the Health Care Global Cancer hospital in Bangalore, India, there is a space where patients and their families can step away from the sorrow and pain of illness and contemplate contemporary artwork. The space is called Swasti Gallery, and it is run by SAIC alum Bhagya Ajaikumar (MFA 2004) and her husband BS Ajaikumar. All proceeds from the gallery's sales help pay for care of cancer patients with financial need.

Read the story

For the Record
SAIC Historic Preservation students document the Junior League of Chicago building for the Library of Congress. 

Graduate students in the Historic Preservation Program spent fall 2014 nestled inside a chestnut brick townhouse on North Astor Street in the Gold Coast neighborhood of Chicago. There they drew the intricate architectural details of what is now the Junior League of Chicago’s headquarters. The drawings will be transferred to Mylar and housed in the Library of Congress for 500 years.

Read the story

Q&A with Zurich Esposito
The Executive Director of AIA Chicago talks about SAIC and his career. 

Zurich Esposito (MS 1995) was a member of the first graduating class of SAIC’s Master of Science program in Historic Preservation. He now holds the position of Executive Vice President for the Chicago chapter of the American Institute of Architecture (AIA), the second-largest branch of the AIA in the nation.

Read the story

Lara and Emily Ramsey. Photo: Sara Condo             
Two SAIC alums and sisters launch their own historic preservation consulting firm 

Lara and Emily Ramsey (MS 2003), principals of Ramsey Historic Consultants Inc., aren’t your typical business team. The twin sisters attended SAIC’s graduate program in Historic Preservation concurrently. After Lara and Emily made considerable professional progress in their field, they reunited to transform the former Granacki Historic Consultants firm into their own collaborative project.

Read the story

From left: Assistant Curator at Chicago's historic Glessner house Becky LaBarre (MS 2008) and Executive Director and Curator Bill Tyre (MS 1999). Photo: Jerzy Rose             
Passion for Preservation
Two SAIC alums work to preserve Chicago’s historic Glessner House 

Bill Tyre (MS 1999), Executive Director and Curator at historic Glessner House, assumed a full-time position at Glessner House in 2007 after interning at the site and incorporating research on the house into his master’s thesis. “Glessner House had always been in the forefront of what I wanted to do,” he says. He now works with Assistant Curator Becky LaBarre (MS 2008) to preserve this Chicago treasure.

Read the story

David Hartt (MFA 1994)             
David Hartt Has A Lot on His Mind
An SAIC alum’s omnivorous research methods take him through archives, a wide range of texts, and around the world 

Looking around the space Hartt occupies, you might surmise that the SAIC alum is equal parts media theorist, cultural researcher, architectural historian, visual artist, philosopher, ethnographer, sci-fi geek, and cool dad. And you wouldn’t be far off. The Montreal-born, Chicago-based artist pulls from a range of research to explore the materials, symbols, and ideas that shape our surroundings. Object histories, room histories, public spaces, cities, citizens, buildings, states, states of mind—Hartt is interested in all of it, in aggregate.

Read the story

Queering Mixed Reality Collective (left to right): Luis Mejico (BFA 2017), Jake Vogds (BFA 2014), Judd Morrissey, and Cairns Smith (BFA 2015). Photo: Noah Davies (BFA 2015)
Mixing Realities
A student research collective explores queer identity in the physical and virtual worlds.

In the 21st century, we are living in a reality mixed between the geophysical world our bodies inhabit and the virtual worlds in which we project curated versions of ourselves. Three SAIC students are exploring what it means to embody a queer identity in this hybrid world and how virtual constructs affect queer bodies and identities in the physical world.

Read the story

Randolph Street Gallery event calendar, September/October 1995
A Moment in SAIC History
The Randolph Street Gallery supported the noncommercial and championed the experimental.

A place of experimentation and community, the Randolph Street Gallery (RSG) was an influential artist-run space in Chicago known for incubating emerging, noncommercial art forms. During its nearly 20-year lifespan, the gallery developed a deep commitment to artists in Chicago and beyond through its exhibitions, performances, and outreach.

Read the story

Anne Wilson, To Cross (Walking New York), 2014, performance and sculpture at the Drawing Center, New York. Photo: Lynne Heller
No Strings Attached
A new fellowship inspires recipients and honors treasured faculty members.

True generosity is devoid of ego—which is to say, it’s rare. One such instance is SAIC Board of Governors member Gail Hodges, who recently established the Wilson/Livingstone Graduate Fellowship, bearing the names of longtime SAIC faculty and celebrated artists Anne Wilson and Joan Livingstone rather than her own.

Read the story

Future Worlds
Equal parts art and anthropology, an SAIC alum's mixed media installations investigate contemporary culture through future utopias.

Collaboration is often a key value held by fictional utopian societies—a free flow of ideas and artistic exchanges. Saya Woolfalk (MFA 2004) has built an entire multimedia practice of constructing utopias, much of it growing out of the very value system the fictional worlds conflate.

Read the story

Status Symbols
Luis Gispert appropriates designer logos and hip-hop iconography to address class, consumerism, and subculture.

Cuban-American born and Miami-raised artist Luis Gispert (BFA 1996) has moved away from the kinds of portraits and videos of women that dominated his earlier work. In this exclusive SAIC interview, Gispert discusses his fascination with low-rider modification subcultures, car-clubs, and the projects that ensued.

Read the story

Art School Connections
Kristen Thiele brings together fellow Miami-based SAIC alumni for a multimedia exhibition during Art Basel Miami.

The transformation SAIC students experience often creates bonds that transcend time and place and carry into their lives as alumni. These connections are on display in SAIC/SF, an exhibition currently running at Bridge Red Studios in North Miami, Florida. Curated by SAIC alum Kristen Thiele (BFA 1995), SAIC/SF will be open during Art Basel Miami Beach, December 4 through 7.

Read the story

SAIC Makes a Splash in Miami
SAIC’s international impact was on display at Art Basel Miami Beach 2014.

From December 3 to 6, art collectors, enthusiasts, artists, and curators gathered to pour over work from internationally renowned and emerging stars alike at this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach. More than 100 SAIC alumni and faculty participated in Art Basel and the surrounding fairs as both gallerists and featured artists, and many more alumni, staff, and faculty members were in attendance as fairgoers.

Read the story

What's My Job?
Recent alumni return to SAIC to talk about life after college.

In fall of 2014, the Career + Co-op Center brought some of our alumni back to SAIC for its series of panel discussions designed to help current students and recent graduates field the working world after graduation. What's My Job? Alumni Conversations was facilitated by students and included extended Q&A sessions, assuring that participants would address real questions students have about entering the post-collegiate "real world."

Read the story

Irene Hofmann SITE Santa Fe Lecture
Alum discusses the biennial that creates a world of art that spins on a new axis.

Irene Hofmann (BFA 1993) returned to SAIC as the Distinguished Alumni Lecturer for the Visiting Artists Program fall 2014 series. Hofmann is the Director and Chief Curator at SITE Santa Fe, New Mexico. Under her guidance, the Santa Fe International Biennial of Contemporary Art has grown exponentially, gaining acclaim for its explorations of culture in the international contemporary art scene.

Read her story

Ten Years Later
Byeong Sam Jeon returns to SAIC with a message for success.

Alum Byeong Sam Jeon (MFA 2005) spoke as the alumni guest lecturer at SAIC's 2014 fall Orientation for new students. He is a researcher, media-based artist, robotic scientist, and professor. Jeon opened his talk with a story from December, 2005: "I had a dream...I promised to myself that I'm going to be famous in the field of art and technology studies. And then I will be back to SAIC in glory within 10 years." Nine, not 10, years later, he got that invitation.

Read his story

Alternative Art Fair
Alumni-run LVL3 Gallery makes its debut at the Untitled art fair in Miami Beach this year.

LVL3 Gallery will proudly represent both Chicago and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago at the Untitled art fair this year. Vincent Uribe (BFA and BA 2013) and Anna Mort (BFA 2014), co-directors of LVL3 Gallery will showcase the work of three SAIC alumni: paintings by Josh Reames (Post-Bac 2010, MFA 2010), sculptures by mAtT Nichols (MFA 2010), and paintings by Sofia Leiby (BFA 2011).

Read their story

Navigating the Networks of a Creative Community
SAIC Alum Jess Kaswiner promotes connectivity among art, cultural, and nonprofit communities of Chicago.

Kaswiner is a 2010 alum of SAIC’s Master of Arts in Arts Education program. Most recently, she organized Meet Your Maker, a Chicago Artists Month event that allowed Chicago-area arts administrators to share resources and connect.

Read her story

Art and Work on the West Side
Alum engages North Lawndale in a conversation about art, social class, and Black labor.

Leah Gipson (MA 2013) invites North Lawndale residents to tell their stories during Black Eutopia, an event she is helping to organize as part of Chicago Artists Month along with Rae Taylor, which takes place Friday, October 24, at Carter’s Barbershop on Cermak Road.

Read her story

Enabling Artists
SAIC student’s arts administration practice provides resources and collaborators to help artists realize their work.

Olivia Junell (Dual MA 2016), Managing Director at High Concept Laboratories (HCL) recently worked closely with Honey Pot Performance, a dance group that was an HCL artist–in–residence from January through July 2014, on their project Juke Cry Hand Clap—a multidimensional dance performance and research project that was a featured event of Chicago Artists Month that Junell called “the first serious, historical inquiry into house music and its roots in Chicago.”

Read more and watch the video

Looking Behind to Move Forward
An SAIC alumnus and Iraqi refugee confronts the conflict back home by eliciting participation and challenging perception.

Wafaa Bilal (MFA 2003) began his undaunted career in Iraq, where as a young artist he was forced to flee his country because of threats to his life brought on by his outspokenness against war. As a graduate student in SAIC’s Art and Technology department, he set the roots for his internationally renowned body of work that utilizes physical installation, performance, and interactivity to engage his audiences and affect their perspectives on difficult issues.

Read more and watch the video

Gym Class
An SAIC alum’s gymnasium explores the roots of socially engaged art.

As an artist and Director of Adult and Academic Programs of the Department of Education at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Pablo Helguera (BFA 1993) uses the tools of education to create socially engaged art. His piece in the SAIC exhibition A Proximity of Consciousness will invite visitors to consider the impact of historical educational reform on contemporary art.

Read more and watch the video

Worth a Thousand Words
A chance discovery leads to street photographer Vivian Maier’s posthumous rise to fame and an SAIC scholarship.

A combination of timing, luck, and public support brought the remarkable street photography of former Chicago resident Vivian Maier to the world. Now, those at the heart of her story have established a way to honor her legacy by helping future female artists pursuing their degree at SAIC.

Read more and watch the video

Authoring Stories
SAIC Art Education students make movies with Chicago teens.

In fall 2013, Art Education faculty and graduate students worked in partnership with community-based youth film and literacy organization Scenarios USA to pilot curriculum in nine Chicago high schools to help young people address issues that impact their lives. Rather than lecturing to the students, they encouraged them to make movies that would frame their own stories.

Read more and watch the video

Business of Design
Two SAIC alums build a successful interior design firm in Chicago

When Shea Soucie (BIA 1996) and Martin Horner (BIA 1997) studied interior architecture together at SAIC, they never imagined it would lead to a partnership fostering a successful Chicago design firm with clients around the globe. Now they connect with future designers by teaching and mentoring at the school.

Read more and watch the video

Artful Architecture
An SAIC alumna emphasizes creative thinking and artistic exploration with every design project

Michelle LaFoe (Post-Bac 1992) might be an architect by trade, but her professional and academic background is marked by an artistic streak. With her partner Issac Campbell and their Portland-based firm Office 52, she brings an interdisciplinary problem solving perspective, honed from her time at SAIC, to each design.

Read more

Shaping Spaces
An SAIC alumna forms public dialogues from sculptural installations

New York-based Orly Genger (Post-Bac 2002) is known for her installations that merge large-scale with handmade, engendering participatory interactions and integrative conversations within public spaces.

Read more and watch the video

An Architectural Moment
As Chicago prepares for its first Architectural Biennial, SAIC welcomes a new Director of AIADO

Jonathan Solomon, incoming Director of the Department of Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects (AIADO) shares how the first Chicago Architecture Biennial can provide opportunities for SAIC alumni, faculty, and students to engage in a global dialogue about the built environment and its role in people’s lives.

Read more

80 Years of Fashion Innovation
THE WALK 2014 celebrates the 80th anniversary of SAIC's Fashion Design Department

From one evening class held in 1934 in the basement of the Art Institute to today’s breadth of opportunities to explore the changing landscapes of art and design, the Fashion Design Department continues to merge traditional craft with digitalized technologies, embracing limitless creativity informed by a legacy of imagination and inspiration.

Read more and watch the videos

Art(n) Tech
Dr. Ellen Sandor (MFA 1975) talks about her time at SAIC and as a founder of a successful art studio.

The accomplished artist has crossed diverse territory, from sculpture to photography, from collector to philanthropist, and from tech innovator to founder of a successful studio.

Read more

From Brushwork to Buildings, Classrooms to Criticism
SAIC Alum Franz Schulze (BFA 1949, MFA 1950) is the Chicago Art World’s Renaissance Man

SAIC was only the beginning of the artist, writer, and teacher's 70-year path through the Chicago art world that has led to many things, including an honorary degree from the school.

Read more

End-of-Year Exhibitions
The 2014 Spring Undergraduate and MFA Show

The future of contemporary art was on display at SAIC's Sullivan Galleries this spring as graduating undergraduate and graduate students presented work informed by their time at the school in a final, public exhibition.

Read more

The Art of Connecting 
Rachel Selekman (MFA 1993) crafts a multifaceted approach to giving back

For Rachel Selekman (MFA 1993), a common goal weaves through her artmaking practice and a nearly 30-year career as both an artist and an arts administrator: connecting. She extends her passion for helping others to organizing activities to foster professional development and spotlight New York-based SAIC alumni.

Read more

Artists, Animals, and Alumni 
Alumna and entrepreneur Mollie Green (BFA 2000) gives her time and talent to help various causes 

Giving back is second nature to Mollie Green (BFA 2000). Her stationery company, La Familia Green, prints its greeting cards on recycled paper and donates a portion of all sales to Chicago-area animal charities. She also stays connected to SAIC by hiring students as Production Assistants and organizing activities for alumni in the Chicago area.

Read more

Design for the Displaced 
SAIC student group creates furniture for Chicago's refugees 

Environmental sustainability, community outreach, and the possibility of a new future for refugees are among the goals Lesley Marie Jackson (BFA 2013) has instilled in the SAIC community. Jackson founded the student group Furnishings for Refugees, enabling students to use their skills to build or refurbish furniture for displaced families who have resettled in Chicago.

Read more

A Community of Shared Passion 
How a scientist (and SAIC parent) is dedicated to enriching an art school 

After Regis W. Haid, Jr.'s son elected to attend SAIC, the neurological surgeon wanted to learn how he could donate his time to enrich the school community. As an active member of both SAIC's Parents Council and the Board of Governors, he collaborates with artists, scientists, and scholars to foster opportunities for supportive learning environments.

Read more

Drawing Dialogues
Mark Addison Smith (MFA 2008) explores the typographic possibilities of happenstance conversations 

Sounds of the city weave topographies of words. Mark Addison Smith (MFA 2008) captures threads of overheard conversations and transforms them into documentations of the imaginative capacities of everyday speech.

Read more

2D or Not 2D
Lilli Carré (BFA 2006) discusses her new body of work and Chicago's malleable interest in comics as art form 

Lilli Carré (BFA 2006) has become a major figure in both the Chicago art and comics scenes. In her first solo exhibition at Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, she has moved from working purely in two dimensions to working in ceramics, incorporating both two, three, and four dimensions

Read more

Ambassador of Awkward
Jeffrey Brown (MFA 2002) creates comics for the cringeworthy part of all of us

Messy relationships, humiliated superheroes, bumbling romances, out-of-place adolescents, embarrassing parents, and awkward Jedis. This is the endearingly uncomfortable and uncoordinated galaxy that Jeffrey Brown (MFA 2002) creates with his comics.

Read more

3D Printing: Rise of the 3D Machines
SAIC artists and designers are expanding the possibilities of 3D printing

The school has always incorporated the latest technology available into its facilities for artmaking, but now SAIC is at the forefront of the 3D printing revolution. Read about SAIC faculty and students who are leading the revolution by using 3D printers in their artistic practices.

Read about the artists gaining recognition for their work with 3D printers

Trevor Paglen: The Art Of Invisibility
An SAIC alumnus investigates how the world is changing through what is unseen

Photographing off-limits military bases and researching satellites that have a lifespan of thousands of years are part of Trevor Paglen's (MFA, 2002) artistic practice of uncovering the often unnoticed or unseen.

Read our interview with Paglen about this and the time capsule he recently sent into space

Arts High
Innovative course connects high school students with Chicago artists

Ever wonder what would happen if you took members of Chicago's vibrant community of working artists and a dozen Chicago Public Schools' high school students who show special talent for the arts and put them in the same room? A pilot program from SAIC and CPS led by two SAIC alumni brings them together for lectures and interactive workshops in #InsideInnovativeMinds.

Read our story about this innovative new program, and watch a video from inside the classroom

Accessible Arts
SAIC scholarships make art available to Chicago Public Schools students

Through grants and scholarships, SAIC is helping Chicago Public Schools students get more access to art-making. Students in SAIC's Early College Program take classes across all disciplines.

Read more about the work high school students are creating at SAIC

Go-Go Gadget Community
A group of SAIC makers and hackers builds a space to tinker with technology

"Art challenges technology; technology inspires art." This is the guiding philosophy of Pixar, the renowned computer animation studio. In other words, art and technology are engaged in a constant dialogue. The history of art and technology at SAIC confirms this notion and illustrates how artists and designers have played a key role in the articulation and growth of these ideas. See how this tradition continues to thrive at SAIC with a story on alumni-founded MB Labs.

Watch a video about MB Labs and read our article

Design 3.0
How an SAIC alumnus is making mobile design more meaningful

As the leader of Samsung's mobile design team, Donghoon Chang (MFA 1991) has often tapped into his exploratory, collaborative experiences at SAIC to think about design in new ways and to seek inspiration in unfamiliar places. He and his team—a cadre of 1,200 designers with backgrounds as varied as sociology, engineering, economics, and psychology—watch trends in fashion, car design, and interior decorating. They brainstorm by traveling to cities and cultural centers all around the world. In an interview with Fast Company magazine, Chang cites visits to the Salvador Dalí Theatre and Museum in Spain, hot air balloon rides in Africa, and trips to Cambodia and Finland as influences for him and his team.

Read more

SUGs 20th Anniversary
A Conversation with Michael x. Ryan

Michael x. Ryan was the Faculty Advisor for the Student Union Galleries (SUGs) from 1994 to 2013. Over that time he helped hundreds of SAIC students find a forum for their voices and an outlet for their innovative, challenging work. On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of SUGs, we spoke with him about the SUGs legacy within the SAIC community and beyond.

Read the interview

David Gondek: Scientist-in-Residence
SAIC's first Scientist-in-Residence talks about quiz shows, machine learning, and how AI could help artists

David Gondek is a key team member at IBM that created Watson—the artificial intelligence (AI) machine that beat the best on Jeopardy! in 2011. This spring Gondek will join the SAIC community as the first Scientist-in-Residence, teaching a Liberal Arts course called "Algorithms, Information, and AI." He will also give a lecture about his research as part of SAIC's Conversations on Art and Science lecture series.

Read the interview

Hello, My Name is Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle. Prepare to Die
The alumnus returns to SAIC with a lecture about his latest work

With work that crosses genres from film to sculpture, SAIC alumnus Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle (MFA 1989) talks about his recent activist-inspired public art, some of which was part of Documenta (12). He talked about taking on challenges to our political and social notions as they apply to climate, military technology, immigration, and violence and presented works of stunning visual quality and depth of content.

Listen to the lecture

Even Pop Culture Data Has a Story to Tell
Jason Salavon talks about the visualization of pop culture data

Jason Salavon (MFA 1997) has developed his own software to gather data from everyday sources of mass culture. He gathers information and interprets it in prints or video installations that question the roles of our pop culture outlets. He presented his work to students and parents as part of the programming for new student orientation.

Listen to the lecture

From Giant Grilled Cheese to Ceramic Gas Masks
Recent SAIC graduates receive fellowships to further their practices 

Get a glimpse into some of the most innovative work by SAIC alumni. Delaney DeMott's (MFA 2013) two- and three-dimensional pieces focus on the body. Food influences Cara Krebs's (MFA 2013) unique aesthetic. Rodrigo Lara (MFA 2013) makes ceramics political. Milad Mozari (MFA 2013) puts sound in motion. And David Alekhuogie (BFA 2013) tests the fragility of the photograph.

Watch the interviews

Sonic Storyteller
Milad Mozari investigates personal and public histories through sound 

Catching the "L" to work, grabbing a taxi to a concert—seemingly unimportant tasks involving transportation—are gainful experiences of sound and culture in the work of SAIC alumnus Milad Mozari (MFA 2013). The 2013 recipient of the Clare Rosen and Samuel Edes Foundation Semi-Finalist Prize for Emerging Artists, Mozari investigates sound and its function within mobile sites, from advertising trucks in South Korea to manually operated elevators.

Read his story and watch the interview

Making music on her own terms, Azita Youssefi keeps everyone guessing

When you listen to Azita Youssefi (BFA 1995), you hear an artist who refuses to stand still. Creatively, musically, even conversationally, the SAIC alumna espouses ideas and sonic intonations that twist and turn, zig and zag, and altogether avoid getting too comfortable.

Read her story

Air on the Edges
Alumni duo Coppice breathes life into Chicago's experimental sound scene 

Though their projects range from compositions and recordings to sculpture and performed installations, Coppice, a duo composed of SAIC alumni Noé Cuéllar (BFA 2009) and Joseph Kramer (MFA 2010), consistently produces transcendent, undulating music that excites the senses and haunts the imagination.

Read their story and watch their interview

MFA student and rising rapper ProbCause combines his visual practice and music career 

Colin Grimm, who goes by the pseudonym ProbCause, incorporates his signature sound and visual kaleidoscope into all aspects of his music—from writing lyrics to creating animations for his music videos. This style has pushed the Evanston-born rapper to the forefront of the Chicago hip-hop scene, where he's worked with notable emcees such as Chance the Rapper, Action Bronson, and Psalm One.

Read his story

Lights. Camera. Interaction.
The alumni duo Luftwerk illuminates your perceptions of light and color

After journeying through Luftwerk's new media exhibit, SHIFT, you might never look at light, color, and motion in the same way again. In fact, you might second-guess your senses all together. This is what Luftwerk's large-scale, immersive video art does to you: deconstructs your thoughts on color; refocuses your idea of light; and disorients your sense of space.

Read their story and watch the interview

Westward Expansion
An SAIC alumna brings Chicago Artists Month to Garfield Park

The Franklin has become a staple for the East Garfield Park neighborhood; the hand-built structure in Edra Soto’s (MFA 2000) backyard has hosted numerous exhibitions, capitalizing on the area's thriving local arts scene. For Soto, the upcoming Chicago Artists Month (CAM) will bring a massive extension to her backyard gallery, as her role as a curator for the Franklin has been broadened to curate all of CAM's East Garfield Park events.

Read her story and watch the interview

Humanities For All
Corrina Lesser helps plan a festival to bring the humanities to the public

For the past 24 years, the Chicago Humanities Festival (CHF) has been working hard to create a platform where cultural, artistic, and educational opportunities in the humanities are open to everyone. No one is more in tune with CHF's mission than Corrina Lesser (MA 2010), who is among the 18 individuals planning and organizing one of CHF's biggest events of the year—its fall festival.

Read her story

Curated Things
Amanda Ross-Ho (BFA 1998) chooses work for SAIC exhibition at EXPO Chicago

With her first major public art installation, The Character and Shape of Illuminated Things, on view in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA) and a special exhibition she curated of SAIC MFA students' work showing at EXPO Chicago, Amanda Ross-Ho (BFA 1998) is making her mark on Chicago's cultural landscape.

Read her story

How an SAIC faculty member is modeling new pathways for artists

SAIC Professor Frances Whitehead (Sculpture) has made a habit of nudging her way into nontraditional orbits. As lead artist for The 606—a public greenway being branded as "Chicago's next great park”—Whitehead is bringing the methods, mindsets, and strategies of a contemporary artist to the process of shaping the future city.

Read her story

Art on the Edge of Extinction
Two SAIC alumnae make limited-edition prints for limited species

Molly Schafer (MFA 2006) and Jenny Kendler (MFA 2006) are linked by their love of art and environmental conservation. Combining their passions, the two long-time friends created the Endangered Species Print Project (ESPP)—an initiative that creates limited-edition art prints to raise money for organizations that work to ensure the survival of endangered species.

Read their story

Partners In Art
An SAIC alumna helps to foster a new partnership between Continuing Studies and Chicago Public Schools

For the past eight years, Margaret Koreman has taught kindergarten through eighth-grade visual arts at the elementary magnet school located in Chicago's Old Town neighborhood. Today the SAIC alumna is helping to bring arts programming to every Chicago Public Schools (CPS) classroom as part of a new partnership between SAIC's Continuing Studies and CPS.

Read her story and watch the interview

An SAIC symposium and exhibition acts locally to think globally

Upon moving to Chicago, Kevin Kaempf, Adjunct Assistant Professor in SAIC's Sculpture Department, became aware of the congestion and lack of space a city provides. He began a series of sustainability projects motivated by the need for green space and to address wastefulness. Now, Kaempf co-directing the three-day symposium Rooting: Regional Networks, Global Concerns.

Read his story and watch the interview

Body Talk
An SAIC alumna tells the story of disability through wearable art

The work of SAIC alumna Sandie Yi (BFA 2007) brings to light the narratives of the body—specifically, by exploring disability as an aesthetic, she crafts wearable objects that give a voice to the body's narrative.

Read her story

Visual Language
Alumna gives people on the autism spectrum access to new modes of expression

Maia Wheeler (MAAT 2007) is the Art therapist at Easter Seals, a Chicago school for people with mental disabilities. Through art, she gives her students, many of whom are on the autism spectrum and unable to speak, a visual language to work with—a new way to get their story out of their bodies and relate to other people.

Read her story

Onward And Upward
A program that supports artists with mental disabilities finds a home

For Project Onward, a nonprofit organization run by SAIC alumnus Rob Lentz (MFA 1997) and SAIC faculty member Randy Vick (Art Therapy) that works with artists with emotional and developmental disabilities, location has not only been crucial to meeting its mission, but has also been symbolic of changes to national attitudes regarding individuals with disabilities.

Read their story and watch the interview

Sound And Vision
An SAIC alumnus talks about sound, color, and music production

Everyone in Chicago seems to know Andy Slater (BFA 2013). He's that guy with the burly, red muttonchops who has been a staple in the Chicago music scene for almost 20 years. The legally blind musician and sound artist recently graduated from SAIC's Sound department with a concentration in synthesis and composition, presenting his newest album as his thesis.

Listen to the interview

Q&A With Joe Zucker
Joe Zucker talks about his work and gives advice for young artists

In honor of our newest alumni, the recently graduated class of 2013, we are taking a look back in time this issue and remembering SAIC through the stories of acclaimed artist Joe Zucker (DIP 1964, MFA 1966), who accepted an honorary doctorate at the SAIC Commencement Ceremony this year; the alumni involved with the artist-run N.A.M.E. Gallery in the 1970s; and a black-and-white film of students hanging out in the SAIC cafeteria in 1965.

Read his story and watch the interview

Commencement 2013
Watch the inspirational speeches and moments as SAIC welcomes the newest members of its alumni community

On Saturday, May 18, SAIC held its Commencement Ceremony for the class of 2013 at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. It was blue skies and sunshine as graduates shared this major milestone with their guests and the SAIC community.

Read the story and watch the video

Artist-Run Archive
N.A.M.E. Gallery artists put a call out for documentation to commemorate 40-year anniversary

It was 1973, and the Chicago art scene was awash with the Hairy Who and traditional artists. A group of recent SAIC graduates, believing their work would never be shown in conventional art galleries, decided to shake things up by creating their own space, and N.A.M.E. Gallery was born.

Read the story

The SAIC Underground
Watch scenes of SAIC students in the 60s hanging out in the subterranean cafeteria

Back when all SAIC classrooms were underground in the pits of the Art Institute building—when painting students fought over the one sink, and the only 16mm camera available to students saw the battlefields of World War II—there was one single gathering space for students, faculty, and visitors of SAIC: the subterranean cafeteria.

Read the story and watch the video

Glitz, Glam, and Giving Back
A successful SAIC alumna returns the favor with fashionable internships

Fashion Design alumna Anna Hovet (BFA 2007) gives back to her alma mater by employing SAIC interns and providing them with invaluable professional skills.

Read her story and watch the interview

Between The Lions
Alumna Judie Anderson goes full circle in giving back to SAIC

Judie Anderson (BFA 1960) has a long history with SAIC from attending painting classes in grade school to co-chairing the Half Century Club. And throughout that history she has always found a way to support SAIC.

Read her story and watch the interview

Have Passion. Will Travel.
An SAIC Professor leaves a legacy of wanderlust

The late SAIC Professor John W. Kurtich always stressed the value of seeing the world—now his love of travel endures through his Kurtich Scholars.

Read the story

Funding the Future of Arts Administration
A student-run initiative supports research

Students in SAIC's Arts Administration and Policy department founded the Enrichment Fund in 2006 to encourage cutting-edge research. Since then dozens of students have received grants to further their fieldwork.

Read the story

The State Of Art
Get ready for the MFA Show

SAIC's 2013 MFA Show (April 13–May 17) is one of the country’s largest graduate thesis exhibitions with more than 100 participating students, 12 graduate curatorial fellows, and 3 guest curators. The show is both a culmination of graduate work and a must-see presentation of contemporary art and the next generation of artists and designers.

Read the story

The Kite Runner
An SAIC alumnus talks about building kites, attending SAIC, and pursuing repetition

Jacob Hashimoto (BFA 1996) works at the intersection of painting and sculpture, abstraction and landscape. On March 19, he was the Distinguished Alumni Lecturer for SAIC's Visiting Artists Program.

Read the interview

A Bounty of BFAs
Check out SAIC's BFA Class of 2013

On March 1, the Spring 2013 Undergraduate Exhibition opened at the Sullivan Galleries and more than 250 SAIC students exhibited their innovative work. The line for the opening reception stretched for three blocks down State and Monroe Streets as people waited to catch a glimpse of SAIC's boundary-blurring BFA work.

Read the recap

Fashion Forward
Two SAIC alumni show their student collections and then launch their careers

SAIC alumni Liz Patelski (BFA 2011) and Lisa Panza (BFA 2011) presented their collections at SAIC's 2011 fashion show in Millennium Park, Then they teamed up to start their own line, Remi Canarie. Now they have their own online store, and unveiled their first official collection in February 2013.

Read the story

21st-Century Griot
An SAIC alumna unfolds a multimedia narrative of African American history

Samantha Hill (MFA 2010) uses oral, illustrative, and sculptural practices to chronicle under-represented voices in African American history. Known for her multimedia installations and performances within historic buildings, landmarks, and public locations, the artist is seeking to connect personal story through history, with a specific concentration on the Great Migration. She takes into account the role of the African griot or jeli (historic storyteller) while integrating various cultural accents—laundry, film, and other tactile experiences—to create the American experience.

Read her story and watch the interview

Phnom Penh and Ink
An SAIC alumna empowers Cambodian women through comics

Sara Drake (BFA 2011) loves comics. She reads them and makes her own, and she wants more women to read and make comics, too. So she started in a place where women have limited access to creative expression—Cambodia.

Read her story

Get Your Group On
SAIC's student groups represent many forms of diversity on campus

If you want to see just how diverse SAIC is, look no further than our campus groups. These small communities of student involvement enhance the SAIC experience and deepen our understanding and knowledge of global cultures.

Read the story

Will Travel For Love
SAIC starts a romance and sets the stage for a journey

Yarima Ariza (BFA 1997) and Hugo Michel Hernandez (BFA 1997) met while preparing for their thesis shows at SAIC. They married the following day, and over the next 16 years their love has remained constant as their geography has changed.

Read their story

Nothing New?
Over the past three decades, Eduardo Kac has redefined avant-garde

It has been said that everything has been done before. SAIC professor and alumnus Eduardo Kac (MFA 1990) disagrees. He has spent the past 30 years breaking new ground as an artist working mainly with the tools of technology and science to develop radical, new work in the area of art and technology studies.

Read his story and watch the interview

The Eyes Have It
An SAIC alumnus appropriates visual technology to investigate geography, body, and the human story

Nadav Assor (MFA 2010) taps into visual storytelling through his art practice, which explores the visual and digital transmission of experience through digital media, installation, and performance. With his work, Assor not only investigates an individual's subjective experience, but also how that translates into a broader context through technology's ability to mediate between geography, body, and the human story.

Read his story and watch the interview

Seeing Things
Vesna Jovanovic's (BFA 2003) work presents new ways of looking at the human body

With the steady hand of a chemist, SAIC alumna Vesna Jovanovic (BFA 2003) pours ink onto paper, creating colorful blotches on which she draws the forms that reveal themselves to her. The east wall of her sunlit studio in Chicago's Lincoln Square neighborhood is lined with rows of these inkblots in various stages of production. The drawings are part of a series called Pareidolia, a word that means the phenomenon of seeing an image or pattern where none exists.

Read her story and watch the interview

Explosions, Guns, and Diamonds
It’s not a heist movie. It’s an SAIC alum’s art

A supernova is the astronomical term for an exploding star. The phenomenon occurs when the core of the star collapses, creating a burst of radiation that outshines an entire galaxy and emits more energy than the sun. On a clear, bright day outside of Chicago's Adler Planetarium, there are no supernovae in sight—but Shane Mecklenburger (MFA 2009) is hoping there will be soon.

Read his story and watch the interview

What Artists Know
Chris Csikszentmihályi (BFA 1994) tells students how his art education influenced his career in new technologies and media

Chris Csikszentmihályi is a leading scholar, artist, and designer in the area of information, politics, and communities. He cofounded the new Media Design Matters program at Art Center College of Design and the MIT Center for Future Civic Media (C4). He returned to SAIC in August to address new students and talked about what makes an art education unique.

Watch his lecture

Behind The Seen
An advocate and planner for Chicago's creative community, this SAIC alumna supports artists for artists' sake

Barbara Koenen (Post-Bac 1986, MFA 1989) often introduces herself as "an artist and a bureaucrat." But a more apt title might be "the artist’s artist." Working in, around, and outside of civic agencies, Koenen has dedicated her entire career to supporting and advocating for artists and finding or creating opportunities for arts programming.

Read her story and watch the video interview

Shifting Focus
Chelsea Culp and Ben Foch debut their first collaborative works since New Capital projects in two CAM exhibitions

With the December 12 closing of their East Garfield Park project space, New Capital, Chelsea Culp (BFA 2007) and Ben Foch (1995–99) return their collaborative focus to presenting their artwork, while still acting as a curatorial team in other venues.

Read their story

Handmade Revival 
An SAIC alumnus breathes new life into scavenged cigar boxes—and the handmade movement

Jeremiah Lee (MAT 2005) uses scavenged cigar boxes and reclaimed materials to create three-string guitars that are perfect for strumming, blues-style slide guitar, and creating more complex chords. The instruments' decorative patterns are reminiscent of the ornate facades of Chicago's downtown structures and neighborhood historic buildings. They also embrace beauty, history, and the communities of artists who drive the city's vibrant contemporary art scene forward.

Read his story

Art For Nonartists 
Regin Igloria embraces his working-class roots with his community bookbinding studio and art practice

Chicago's Albany Park is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the United States, according to the city's official tourism website. It is a working-class neighborhood—its main street lined with Korean, Middle Eastern, Thai, Indian, and Mexican stores and restaurants. And it is Albany Park, with its unique blend of culture and everyday life that inspires Regin Igloria's (BFA 1996) art practice.

Read his story

Juan William Chávez transforms a fading metropolis one community at a time 

Through his blossoming socially engaged art practice, Juan William Chávez is interested in reshaping North St. Louis with a number of projects, including his public proposal for the Pruitt-Igoe Bee Sanctuary and Northside Workshop, a community space in Old North St. Louis.

Read his story and watch the video

Preservation Outreach
Carla Bruni helps bridge the gap between green building and preservation

SAIC alumna Carla Bruni (MS 2008) is involved in a number of local and national historical preservation and environmental initiatives. In addition to helping green building advocates and preservationists find common ground, she educates communities about their homes through her writing and workshops.

Watch the video

Art Education
Bert Stabler teaches underserved high school students art activism

As a teacher at Bowen High School on Chicago's Southeast side, Bert Stabler (BFA 1997, MAAE 2003) teaches his students art as a way to address the violence, toxic soil, and social issues that plague their community. We interviewed Stabler during the second day of the Chicago Teacher's Union strike at a rally in downtown Chicago.

Read his story

Distinguished Alumna
Tania Bruguera is the fall 2012 Visiting Artists Program's Distinguished Alumni Lecturer

As one of the leading political and performance artists of her generation, SAIC alumna Tania Bruguera (MFA 2001) researches ways in which art can be applied to everyday political life. In 2010, she launched Immigrant Movement International, a five-year project that tests her concept of "useful art," by merging art into society's urgent social, political, and scientific issues.

Read her story

Feeding Social Justice
Tara Lane is cultivating spaces and contemporary conversations around food

Tara Lane (BFA 2004) left her position as Executive Pastry Chef at Chicago's Blackbird and Avec restaurants to work on social justice projects that involve food. She landed at Jane Addams Hull-House where the extraordinary history of the Resident's Dining Hall inspires her to educate people about the issues surrounding food production and social activism.

Read her story


Conceptual Chef
Eric May's Art Practice Frees Him to Explore Social Issues with Food

The ideas running through Eric May's (BFA 2000) art practice were developed at Ox-Bow School of the Arts in Saugatuck, Michigan, a campus set on 115 acres of natural forests and dunes and an area of agricultural bounty, and the influence of Chicago's imagists—whose artwork mined popular culture, street culture, and low-brow culture—some of who taught May during his time at SAIC.

Read his story and watch the video

Birds of a Feather Brew Together
Two SAIC alumni call on their creative backgrounds to bring together art and beer

Ben Finch (BFA 2002) and Richard Grant (BFA 2001) co-own and operate Finch's Beer Co., a craft brewery on Chicago's Northwest Side that has become part of the Chicago micro-beer renaissance, carrying into bars and businesses across the city and expanding into eight states. The co-owners have also kept in mind their artistic roots, tapping into the local artist community for label art and packaging ideas.

Read their story and watch the video

Food For Thought 
Dan Dunbar's award-winning doughnuts raise questions about food issues

Just three months after Dun-Well Doughnuts opened December 2011, the New York Daily News named Dun-Well's artisanal creations the best doughnuts in New York City. But behind the scenes, owners Dan Dunbar (BFA 2009) and Christopher Hollowell are making business and artistic decisions they hope will get patrons to think about their food choices.

Read his story

Painting Portraits 
Mohamed and Nanette Drisi Remember their Days in SAIC's Painting Department

Husband and wife Mohamed (BFA 1958) and Nanette (BA 1958) Drisi met while earning their degrees at SAIC. An SAIC fellowship funded Mohamed’s trip to Monoco in 1958, where he was commissioned to paint the official portrait of Princess Grace de Monaco. This experience helped them both launch portrait painting careers that span more than 50 years.

Watch the video

Half Century Club 
Recent Half Century Club Inductees Talk about Their SAIC Memories

Each year during the Commencement activities, the Office of Alumni Relations inducts the class that graduated 50 years ago into the Half Century Club. The class is invited back to campus for special events, and attendees sit on stage during the Commencement ceremony. Members are also asked to share their memories in a video interview. Click the link below for a compilation of these interviews.

Watch the video

Columbus Dedication
Student Film Captures the Columbus Drive Building Dedication

After SAIC, Tom Palazzolo (Cert. 1962, BFA 1965, MFA 1966) went on to become a renowned experimental filmmaker who has screened his work at the Art Institute of Chicago and Whitney Museum of American Art in New York among other venues. As an SAIC student, he created a film that includes scenes from the dedication ceremony for SAIC's Columbus Drive building. One speaker notes the historic significance of this event as the first time the school had classrooms above ground.

Watch the video

Prince of Prints

Master Printer Thomas Lucas Collaborates with Well-known Artists

For many "more-renowned" artists, Lucas is the man behind the curtain. Over the last 20 years, he's pulled prints for the likes of Kerry James Marshall, Willie Cole, Barbara Jones-Hogu, Bill Conger, Bernard Williams, Ray Noland, and Paul Andrew Wandless. He started pulling prints for artists when he was an undergraduate student at Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia. He says, "Initially I was all about getting the printing experience, but then it was more about the spirit of collaboration. Creating a new relationship is what it's all about for me."

Read his story

Listen to his video interview

Giving and Receiving

Angeli Arndt Engages in the Ecosystem of Art and Social Justice

SAIC helped Angeli Arndt (BFA 2010) find her own place in Chicago's art community and become an active participant in its cultural ecosystem. Like any ecosystem, giving is a necessary part of participation, and receiving is a natural consequence.

Read her story

Elevating the Audience

Lion VS Gorilla Supports Communities with Uplifting Experiences

The collaborative duo known as Lion VS Gorilla is dedicated to building community through experiential art that is humorous, a little absurd, and incredibly generous to both the participants and the recipients of the proceeds.

Read their story

Pay it Forward

Two SAIC Alumni and Scholarship Recipients Give back to SAIC

Monica (MA 2001) and Chris (BFA 2004) Wilczak value the relationships their SAIC education has made possible. Through the ups and downs of life, they have kept a commitment to giving to SAIC's annual fund because, as Monica says, "I was the recipient of financial aid on a number of occasions. If it weren't for the generosity of those who came before me, I wouldn't have graduated college or grad school. It is my responsibility to continue this gift of philanthropy to help the next generation of artists and administrators."

Read their story

Networking and Collaborating

Alumna Talks about the Importance of Creative Communities

Cortney Lederer, Director of Exhibitions and Community Initiatives at the Chicago Artists' Coalition, stresses the importance of creative community as the catalyst to build new networks, opportunities, collaborations and resources when she talks with fellow the SAIC alumni and the artists she works with. "Continue to network because maintaining a creative community will always play a critical role in your professional career," she advises.

Read her interview

Listen to her video interview

Networking Across Disciplines

Katie Kurcz Connects Arts Organizations with Business Consultants

Alumna Katie Kurcz (MAAAP 2009) is helping to enrich the cultural landscape by strengthening nonprofit arts organizations in her role as Director of Programs at the Arts and Business Council of Chicago. She pairs nonprofit clients with volunteer business experts to help them "build a business organization to match the high quality of the art product."

Read her story

Enduring Collaboration

Two Alumni Commit to Long-term Performance Projects as Cupola Bobber

Stephen Fiehn (BFA 2000) and Tyler B. Myers (BFA 2001) began working together as students at SAIC in 2000 and together moved to New York and built an international reputation as Cupola Bobber. The pair creates evening-length performance work, published writing, installations, and videos using a process inspired by the Chicago-based performance group Goat Island.

Read their story

Listen to their video interview

A Family Affair

An email from an old friend reveals a wealth of unexpected connections between the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Morehouse College in Atlanta, and an SAIC family legacy spanning more than a century

"This is mind-boggling!" began the email from SAIC President Walter Massey containing a message he had received from his long-time friend, colleague, and classmate at Morehouse College in the 1950s, Richard O. Hope, Vice President of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation at Princeton University. Hope had recently learned that Massey, President Emeritus of Morehouse College, is now SAIC's President. Hope was struck by this extension of a surprising string of connections between the art and design school in downtown Chicago and the all-male, historically black college in Atlanta, founded just a year apart. Richard Hope's grandfather, the prominent educator and political activist John Hope, was the first African American president of Morehouse College from 1906 until his death in 1936. But it is with Richard Hope's grandmother, Lugenia Burns Hope, that the connections get interesting.

Read her story

Community in a Classroom

Alumnus Creates Long-term Connections with Students in Cabrini Green

Mathias "Spider" Schergen (BFAAE 1980) has become a fixture in the Cabrini Green community after spending 20 years teaching children art at Chicago Public Schools' Jenner Fine Arts Academy in the neighborhood. Early in his career Schergen created the name Spider (Mr. Spider to his students) in an inspired—and successful—attempt to connect with his students.

"I really feel it's important that a child be grounded in their experience of making art," Schergen says. "Children love learning how to do stuff. It's just a natural part of their empowerment as a child."

Read more about Schergen's inspirational work and watch a video of our interview with him.

Read his story

Connecting with Community

Alumna Values Involvement of Nontraditional Publics at Hull-House Museum

Direct community engagement is what attracted Lisa Junkin (MAAE 2007) to her current position as the first full-time Education Coordinator at the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum. This role is ripe with opportunities to collect personal stories, rich residential memories, and community input. Junkin's work each day is enriched by institutional encouragement to rethink how museums can serve nontraditional publics.

Read more about Junkin's work with Hull-House and watch a video of our interview with her.

Read her story

Empowerment by Design

SAIC Alumna's Nonprofit Design Agency Activates Education and Community

Emily Pilloton (MFA 2005) exemplifies the possibilities of forging a career path that fulfills personal passions while empowering others to reach their own self-directed potential.

Pilloton is the founder and director of Project H Design (design initiatives for Humanity, Habitats, Health, and Happiness), a nonprofit design and architecture agency she created in 2008. She operates her organization around the central idea that design can activate both education and community and capitalizes on the motivated energy of residents in the communities she engages.

Read more about Pilloton's Project H work and watch a video of our interview with her.

Read her story

Advancing Science with Art

Scientific Illustrator Renders Research-quality Drawings

Alumna Carol Abraczinskas (BFA 1989) practices a precise art. As the Principal Scientific Illustrator for the Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy at the University of Chicago, she draws fossil illustrations for use in research and publications and teaches a graduate-level scientific illustration course. Her crossover from fine art to science began during her time at SAIC when a figure drawing instructor suggested she take a scientific illustration class with professor Zbigniew T. Jastrzebski who helped define her style and technique. During her 22-year career, she has drawn thousands of fossils ranging from tiny, two-centimeter skulls to the bones of a 40-foot crocodile.

Read more about Abraczinskas's work and watch a video of our interview with her.

Read her story

Multimedia Mathematics

Alumna Awarded for Teaching High School Math through Digital Art Exhibition

Margaret Noble (MFA 2007) won a Microsoft Global Forum Educator Award for challenging students at High Tech High Media Arts School in San Diego to use the lens of creativity and the arts to discover the mathematical concepts hidden in their world. Drawing on her experience of transforming her house DJ practice into a multimedia arts practice as an MFA student in SAIC's Department of Sound, Noble required her students to submit an idea and refine it through the process of critique and revision. The project culminated in an exhibition at the Sushi Performance and Visual Art Center and took first place for knowledge building and critical thinking in Microsoft's award program.

Read more about Margaret Noble, her award-winning project, and her upcoming exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego here.

Read her story

Sculptor of Sound

Ian Schneller's Sonic Arboretum Blooms at Chicago's MCA

Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) was alive in December with the sounds of site-specific compositions flowing through gracefully fluted amplifiers made by SAIC alumnus Ian Schneller (MFA 1986) at his Specimen Products Workshop in Chicago. First shown at New York's Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 2010, Sonic Arboretum included two sold-out performances by Andrew Bird in addition to the exhibition, which ran from December 6–31 at the MCA. Schneller has carved out a remarkable career making instruments and amplifiers first for himself and then for friends and other musicians.

Read more about the show and a recent discussion with Schneller on his work, his collaboration with Andrew Bird, and how he marries utility with art in his work as a successful luthier, sculptor, and craftsman and watch a video of our interview at his workshop.

Read his story

The Art of Administration

Cesáreo Moreno Launches Successful Museum Career with an MFA

Cesáreo Moreno (MFA 1992) is not your typical museum administrator. After 20 years of working at the National Museum of Mexican Art, he is currently the museum's Chief Curator and Visual Arts Director. But unlike some of his peers, he earned an MFA through the Painting and Drawing department at SAIC. This has helped shape his perspective as a curator. "Having conversations inside the studio oftentimes leads me to change the theme of the exhibit or to re-emphasize the thesis of an exhibition. I listen quite a bit to the artist more than the scholar," he said in a recent interview. In his curatorial work he challenges preconceptions of and about the Mexican community and strives to reach people of all backgrounds.

Read our Q&A with Moreno and find out what's next for the museum as it prepares for its 25th anniversary celebration.

Read his story

SAIC Fulbright Winner Builds a Home in the Philippines

SAIC Alumna Uses her Fulbright Fellowship to Empower Others

Stephanie J. Victa (MFA 2010) won a 2011–12 Fulbright award for a two-part project in the Philippines in which she first documented the transition of the native nipa hut to the modern concrete house and is now building a home for a family in need.

Victa is one of four recent SAIC alumni to win a Fulbright scholarship this year, the largest number of Fulbright recipients from a single US college of art and design. Other winners include: Alexandra Dietz (BFA 2010) for a photography project in India, Liliya Lifánova (MFA 2010) for a performance piece in Russia, and Ania Szremski (MA 2011) for art historical research in Egypt.

Read her story

Breaking Boundaries

Fulbright Winner Explores Borders and Identity in Moscow

Liliya Lifánova (MFA 2010) is one of four recent SAIC graduates to receive a Fulbright award for 2011–12 and is currently in Russia using her award to create a performance piece based on notions of identity and border.

Born in the Republic of Kyrgyzstan, a former member of the Soviet Union, the artist earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the City University of New York, Brooklyn College before earning her MFA through SAIC’s Department of Fiber and Material Studies.

Read her story

SAIC's Design Star

SAIC Alumna Wins Top-rated HGTV Reality Program to Host Own Show

SAIC alumna Meg Caswell (BFA 2002) won HGTV's top-rated reality program Design Star and will now have a lifestyle program of her own. Design Star features 12 finalists designing rooms judged by a panel of acclaimed interior designers and special celebrity guests. See photos of Caswell's road to victory. She will be hosting a program called Great Rooms in which she will transform outdated kitchen, dining, and living spaces.

Distinguished Alumna Brings to Light a Forgotten Group of Artists

In her forthcoming book, Live Form: Craft as Participation, art historian and SAIC alumna Jenni Sorkin discusses the confluence of gender, pedagogy, and labor histories around women in the 1950s. She pays particular attention to a group of proto-feminist women potters from Black Mountain College, focusing on the external factors and art world exclusions that pushed female artists into the world of craft. As a preview to her Distinguished Alumni Lecture on November 2, SAIC caught up with Sorkin to talk about why these women were "hippie before the word hippie happened" and how art historians are not all that different from artists.

Read her interview


Ink Therapy

Alumnus Eric Dean Spruth (BFA 1990, MA 1992) helps turn negative tattoos and scars into symbols of strength and potential

SAIC alumnus Eric Dean Spruth (BFA 1990, MA 1992), founder of Sacred Transformations, a Chicago-based not-for-profit organization that helps people transform tattoos or scars from negative experiences into marks of positive artistic expression. Sacred Transformations provides free services to people seeking recovery from various experiences—gang affiliations, abusive relationships, violence—by transforming physical marks into personal, positive images.

"Visibly we help to alter the physical marks. But the mental and spiritual scars that are reworked through the process are the truly rewarding transformations."

Read his story

City on the Make

In Wicker Park, Shipping Containers Become a Mini Art Metropolis

As an undergraduate student at SAIC, Tristan Hummel (BFA 2009) read an article about how anyone can charter a CTA "L" train, and an idea took root. Hummel debuted Art on Track during his junior year, turning a chartered "L" train into an alternative art venue and bringing the work of more than 200 emerging artists to the Chicago Loop for one day in the fall.

This past summer, Hummel took his next big art initiative to the streets—or more specifically to a bunch of shipping containers in a Wicker Park grocery store parking lot. Dubbed the Built Festival and happening over a weekend in mid August, the temporary city looked more like a place for burly stevedores or smuggled contraband than the city's newest gallery district.

Read his story

Looking for Ourselves

An SAIC alumna facilitates a more meaningful connection between students and the museum collection

In the spring of 2010, armed with a set of clues and a museum map, 35 SAIC students combed the collections of the Art Institute searching for works by SAIC alumni. The visual scavenger hunt, titled "Looking for Ourselves," brought students face-to-face with their SAIC forerunners, and as they zigzagged through the museum they encountered a myriad of works by alumni, from Georgia O'Keeffe's Sky Above Clouds IV to John Chamberlain's Toy. What they realized was that, at one point, these accomplished artists were just like them—working in the same studios, taking the same shortcuts to class, maybe even learning from the same professors. SAIC alumna Cheri Fakes (MAAE 2011) was one of the brains behind the treasure hunt.

Read her story and get your alumni treasure hunt


Sign In

Forgot your password?

Haven't registered yet?