Cp New Banner

Support for Artists

Image: Director of Education Mike Nourse leads Center Program artists in a discussion with visiting professional Jim Dempsey. 

The Center Program Logo 600px WApplications for The Center Program's 2015 class is below! 

The Center Program offers the unique opportunity to develop new work, receive feedback from professionals in the field, and work toward an exhibition to be held in the Art Center's main gallery. Over the course of six months, a supportive peer network, guest artists, gallerists, critics, and professionals push Center Program artists to answer tough questions, evolve their art, and ultimately produce strong, new work to show.

About The Center Program

A natural outgrowth of the Art Center’s progressive programs, The Center Program is our capstone program for artists who are ready to move beyond quarterly courses into a new way of growing.  The Center Program is the Art Center’s answer to critical gaps in traditional professional development programs.

Traditional BFA and MFA programs can be cost-prohibitive; artists of color are underrepresented; and many artists who have obtained an MFA find that they simply want more time and space to deepen their practice, more critical feedback and guidance, and more exposure to a broader representation of the art world. The Center Program offers working artists a unique combination of access to materials and space to develop studio practice, inclusion in critical dialogues, guidance from professionals in the field, and a platform to show new works to a broader, diverse audience.

The Center Program is deeply aligned with the Art Center’s mission: developing artists at all levels in support of Chicago’s broader arts community. In that vein, the Art Center has forged distinctive partnerships with other Chicago institutions and leaders in the visual arts—like 3ArtsThe University of Chicago Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies, and all the visiting professionals who provide guidance and feedback to artists in the program—to ensure access for artists of color, as well as maintain a standard of excellence that will continue to serve artists beyond their matriculation through The Center Program.

The Graham School has partnered with the Art Center to offer a Visual Arts Certificate Program (VACP), which is comprised of (1) The Center Program and (2) four classroom courses (Business, Writing, Curating, and Learning). Artists may apply for The Center Program as a stand-alone opportunity, or to the VACP, by indicating their choice on the application form.  

Program Details 

The following are application links and details for the Center Program's Class of 2015. 

Apply for Center Program here (due December 15, 2014). 

Apply for Center Program scholarships here (also due December 15, 2014).

Structure: Formal seminar meetings with visiting professionals take place Monday evenings from late February to late June, 2015 (20 total meetings). The sessions include critical discussions around individual works, as well as group works towards an exhibition curated by an outside curator. The program culminates in an exhibition at the Art Center slated to open mid-August 2015 lasting until October 2015.

2015 Start Date: February 2015
2015 Application Available: September 30, 2014 (applications submitted before this date will not be accepted)
2015 Applications Due: Wednesday, December 15, 2014
2014 Exhibition: August 2015 - October 2015

Guest professionals: Photographer Laura Letinsky, painter David Schutter, Director of 6018 North Tricia Van Eck; and gallerist Dan Devening (Devening Projects). critic and instructor Susan Snodgrass; Senior Lecturer at the Art Institute of Chicago Annie Morse, photographer and educator Dawoud Bey; and gallerist Jim Dempsey (Corbett vs. Dempsey); 

Access: In addition to critical discussions, Center Program artists also have access to the Oakman Clinton School & Studios at the Art Center, including: Painting & Drawing, Digital Lab, Darkroom, Printmaking/Silkscreen, Ceramics, and Mixed Media. 

Tuition: Tuition for The Center Program is $1500. A limited number of full-tuition scholarships are available for artists of color and Art Center teaching artists. Artists can apply for scholarships via the scholarship application form on the Art Center’s website, which can be accessed via the online Center Program / VACP application form.

Additionally, some past Center Program artists received funding through the Community Arts Assistance Program offered by the City of Chicago. Click here to learn more about the Community Arts Assistance Program. Other Center Program artists have also secured financial support from Illinois Arts Council, linked here.

More about our partnership with The University of Chicago

In partnership with The University of Chicago Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies, The Center Program aligns with the Graham School's new year-long Visual Arts Certificate Program (VACP). The VACP is designed to help artists further their art practice while developing strengths in critiquing, teaching, presenting, and writing about art. Curating exhibitions, negotiating contracts, conducting studio visits, and writing press releases are just some of the professional practices that artists can master, yet instruction in these skills is largely absent from BFA and MFA curricula. The VACP aims to fill this experiential gap that exists in traditional programs, plus enable artists to deepen their studio practice through The Center Program at Hyde Park Art Center. Please contact Program Assistant Nikki Yagoda at nyagoda@uchicago.edu with any questions about the VACP.

If you have any questions about The Center Program, please contact Director of Education Mike Nourse by email at mnourse@hydeparkart.org, or at 773.324.5520 x1005.