School of the Art Institute of Chicago
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
The school's Grant Park
, Columbus Avenue, building, attached to the museum, houses a premier gallery showcase.
Its downtown Chicago campus consists of seven buildings located in the immediate vicinity of the AIC building
. SAIC is in an equal partnership with the AIC and share many administrative resources such as design, construction, and human resources. The campus, located in the Loop
, comprises chiefly five main buildings: the McLean Center (112 S. Michigan Ave.), the Michigan building (116 S Michigan Ave), the Sharp (36 S. Wabash Ave.), Sullivan Center (37 S. Wabash Ave.), and the Columbus (280 S. Columbus Dr.). SAIC also holds classes in the Spertus
building at 610 S. Michigan. SAIC owns additional buildings throughout Chicago that are used as student galleries or investments. There are three dormitory facilities: The Buckingham, Jones Hall, and 162 N State Street residencies.
The institute has its roots in the 1866 founding of the Chicago Academy of Design
, which local artists established in rented rooms on Clark Street. It was financed by member dues and patron donations. Four years later, the school moved into its own Adams Street building, which was destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871
Because of the school's financial and managerial problems after this loss, business leaders in 1878 formed a board of trustees
and founded the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts
. They expanded its mission beyond education and exhibitions to include collecting. In 1882, the academy was renamed the Art Institute of Chicago. The banker Charles L. Hutchinson
served as its elected president until his death in 1924.
The school grew to become among the "most influential" art schools in the United States.
SAIC offers classes in art and technology; arts administration; art history, theory, and criticism; art education and art therapy
; ceramics; fashion design; filmmaking; historic preservation; architecture; interior architecture; designed objects; journalism; painting and drawing; performance; photography; printmaking; sculpture; sound; new media; video; visual communication; visual and critical studies; animation; illustration; fiber; and writing.
SAIC also serves as a resource for issues related to the position and importance of the arts in society.
"Painting critique": students' critiquing Ben Cowan's work
The Etching Room, with etching presses and workstations
SAIC also offers an interdisciplinary Low-Residency MFA for students wishing to study the fine arts and/or writing.
As of fall 2018, the student enrollment at SAIC is demographically classified as follows:
Total Enrollment: 3,640
Undergraduate students: 2,895
Graduate students: 745
International and ethnic origin:
International students: 33% (countries represented: 67)
United States students: 67%, further subdivided as follows:
Asian or Pacific Islander: 8.9%
African American: 3.3%
American Indian: 0.2%
Not Specified: 8.4%
Geographic distribution of United States students:
Midwest: 41.2% (includes 8.8% from Chicago)
Founded in 1868, the Visiting Artists Program (VAP)
is one of the oldest public programs of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Formalized in 1951 by Flora Mayer Witkowsky's endowment of a supporting fund, the Visiting Artists Program hosts public presentations by artists, designers, and scholars each year in lectures, symposia, performances, and screenings. It showcases work in all media, including sound, video, performance, poetry, painting, and independent film; in addition to significant curators, critics, and art historians.
Recent visiting artists have included Catherine Opie
, Andi Zeisler
, Aaron Koblin
, Jean Shin
, Sam Lipsyte
, Ben Marcus
, Marilyn Minter
, Pearl Fryar
, Tehching Hsieh
, Homi K. Bhabha
, Bill Fontana
, Wolfgang Laib
, Suzanne Lee
, and Amar Kanwar
- Sullivan Galleries- Located to the 7th floor of the Sullivan Center at 33 S. State Street. With shows and projects often led by faculty or student curators, it is a teaching gallery.
- SITE Galleries (formerly Student Union Galleries) - Founded in 1994, SITE, once known as the Student Union Galleries (SUGs), is a student-run organization at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) for the exhibition of student work. They have two locations: The SITE Sharp of the 37 South Wabash Avenue building; and SITE Columbus of the 280 South Columbus Drive building. The two locations allow the galleries to cycle two shows simultaneously.
ExTV is a student-run time-arts platform that broadcasts online and on campus. Its broadcasts are available via monitors located throughout the 112 S. Michigan building, the 37 S Wabash building, and the 280 S. Columbus building.
F Newsmagazine is SAIC's student-run newspaper. The magazine is a monthly publication with a run of 12,000 copies. Copies are distributed throughout the city, mainly at locations frequented by students such as popular diners and movie theaters.
Free Radio SAIC
Free Radio SAIC is the student-run Internet radio station of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Free Radio uses an open programming format and encourage its DJs to explore and experiment with the medium of live radio. Program content and style vary but generally include music from all genres, sound art, narratives, live performances, current events and interviews. 
The student government of SAIC is unique in that its constitution requires four officers holding equal power and responsibility. Elections are held every year. There are no campaign requirements. Any group of four students may run for office, but there must always be four students.
The student government is responsible for hosting a school-wide student meeting once a month. At these meetings students discuss school concerns of any nature. The predominant topic is funding for the various student organizations. Organizations which desire funding must present a proposal at the meeting by which the students vote whether they should receive monies or not. The student government cannot participate in the vote: only oversee it.
In a survey conducted by the National Arts Journalism Program at Columbia University, SAIC was named the “most influential art school” by art critics at general interest news publications from across the United States.
In 2017, U.S. News & World Report's
college rankings ranked SAIC the fourth best overall graduate program for fine arts in the U.S. tying with the Rhode Island school of Design. In January 2013, The Global Language Monitor
ranked SAIC as the #5 college in the U.S., the highest ever for an art or design school in a general college ranking. 
In 2020 and 2021 U.S. News and World Report
ranked SAIC as the second best overall graduate program for fine arts in the U.S. tied with Yale University.
On May 11, 1988, a student painting depicting Harold Washington
, the first black mayor of Chicago, was taken down by three of the city's African-American aldermen
based on its content.
The painting by David Nelson, titled Mirth & Girth
, was of Washington clad only in women's underwear and holding a pencil.
Washington had died suddenly less than six months earlier, on November 25, 1987.
After the aldermen held the painting hostage, Police Superintendent LeRoy Martin
ordered officers to take it into custody.
Art students protested. The painting was returned after a day. The American Civil Liberties Union
(ACLU) filed a lawsuit against the Chicago Police Department and the aldermen. The ACLU claimed the removal violated Nelson's First, Fourth, and Fourteenth amendment rights. A 1992 federal court affirmed his constitutional rights had been violated.
In 1994 the city agreed to a settlement to end litigation; the money would go toward attorneys' fees for the ACLU. The three aldermen agreed not to appeal the 1992 ruling, and the Police Department established procedures over seizure of materials protected by the First Amendment.
What Is the Proper Way to Display a U.S. Flag?
In February 1989, as part of a piece entitled What Is the Proper Way to Display a U.S. Flag?
, a student named "Dread" Scott Tyler
spread a Flag of the United States
on the floor of the Institute. The piece consisted of a podium, set upon the flag, and containing a notebook for viewers to express how they felt about the exhibit. In order for viewers to write in the notebook, they would have to walk on the flag, which is a violation of customary practice and code. While the exhibit faced protests from veterans and bomb threats, the school stood by the student's art.
That year, the school's state funding was cut from $70,000 to $1, and the piece was publicly condemned by President George H. W. Bush
Scott would go on to be one of the defendants in United States v. Eichman
, a Supreme Court
case in which it was eventually decided that federal laws banning flag desecration were unconstitutional.
Academic freedom controversy
In 2017, a controversy arose after Michael Bonesteel, an adjunct professor
specializing in outsider art
, and comics, resigned after actions taken by the Institute following two Title IX
complaints by transgender students being filed against him in which each criticized his comments and class discussion. The Institute initiated an investigation and took certain actions. Bonesteel described the SAIC investigation as a "Kafkaesque trial", in which he was never shown copies of the complaints. He claimed he was assumed to be "guilty until proven innocent" and that SAIC "feels more like a police state than a place where academic freedom and the open exchange of ideas is valued".
, author of a book
on Title IX cases in which she argues that universities follow reckless and capricious approaches, argued that SAIC was displaying "jawdropping cowardice".
She said, "The idea that students are trying to censor or curb a professor’s opinions or thinking is appalling".
The School said the claims made against it were "problematic" and "misleading", and that it supports academic freedom
This is a list of property in order of acquisition:
- 280 South Columbus (classrooms, departmental offices, studios, Betty Rymer Gallery)
- 37 South Wabash (classrooms, main administrative offices, Flaxman Library)
- 112 South Michigan (classrooms, departmental offices, studios, ballroom)
- 7 West Madison (student residences)
- 162 North State (student residences)
- 164 North State Street (Gene Siskel Film Center)
- 116 South Michigan
SAIC also owns these properties outside of the immediate vicinity of the Chicago Loop:
- 36 South Wabash, leasing the 12th floor (administrative offices, Architecture and Interior Architecture Design Center)
- 36 South Wabash, leasing the 7th floor (Fashion Design department, Gallery 2)
- 36 South Wabash, leasing offices on the 14th floor (administrative offices)
- 36 South Wabash, leasing offices on the 15th floor (administrative offices)
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- ^ "Walter Massey Named President Emeritus". June 28, 2018.
- ^ "SAIC Names Elissa Tenny President to Succeed Walter Massey, Effective July 1, 2016". saic.edu. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
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- ^ "Visiting Artists Program". Retrieved 20 February 2019.
- ^ "Visiting Artists Program: Past Events & Podcasts". School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Retrieved 2021-03-24.
- ^ "Past Events & Podcasts". Retrieved 20 February 2019.
- ^ "Babe Wave – freeradiosaic". Freeradiosaic.org. Archived from the original on 2014-11-17. Retrieved 2014-03-18.
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- ^ andy on November 1, 2011 (2011-11-01). "Interview With Thomas Comerford – freeradiosaic". Freeradiosaic.org. Retrieved 2014-03-18.
- ^ "2017 Best Graduate Fine Arts Programs". U.S. News and World Report. Archived from the original on 2017-03-14.
- ^ "What's the Buzz? Exclusive TrendTopper MediaBuzz Rankings (January 2013)".
- ^ https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-fine-arts-schools. Missing or empty |title= (help)
- ^ a b c Matt O'Connor, " Suit Ended on Picture of Washington", Chicago Tribune, 21 September 1994; accessed 19 December 2018
- ^ Sneed, Michael (1988-07-04). "Untitled". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2008-02-08.
- ^ a b Dubin, Steven (1992). Arresting Images, Impolitic Art and Uncivil Actions. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-90893-0.
- ^ Campbell, Adrianna. "Banner Year: At a Time of Heated Race Relations in America, Dread Scott Wades Into the Fray". ARTnews. Retrieved 11 June 2020.
- ^ Cohen, Alina (July 25, 2018). "It's Legal to Burn the American Flag. This Artist Helped Make It A Form of Free Speech". Artsy. Retrieved 11 June 2020.
- ^ a b Roll, Nick (July 24, 2017). "Tensions in the Art Classroom". Inside Higher Ed.
- ^ a b Jori Finkel, "Art school under fire for bowing to transgender student complaints", The Art Newspaper, 18 August 2017; accessed 19 December 2018.
- ^ Tom Bartlett, "The Offender", The Chronicle of Higher Education, August 10, 2017. Available online to subscribers only.
Last edited on 24 March 2021, at 14:03
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