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Support for Artists

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

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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 inside of a professional exhibition at the Art Center.

About The Center Program

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, allowing working artists access to 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 3Arts, Luminarts, Marwen, The 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 a wide-ranging group of artists in the program. 

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Program Details 

The following are application links and details for the Center Program's Class of 2017. 

Apply for 2017 Center Program here (due December 15, 2016). 

Apply for 2017 Center Program scholarships here (also due December 15, 2016).

Structure: Led by Director of Education Mike Nourse, The Center Program centers around formal seminar meetings with visiting professionals which take place Monday evenings from early February to late June, 2017 (20 total seminars). The sessions include critical discussions around individual works, professional development discourse, as well as group works towards an exhibition curated by a visiting curator. Center Program artists are also offered a free Spring studio course at HPAC, and have individual meetings with visitors separate from the group seminars. The program culminates in an exhibition at the Art Center slated to open mid-August 2017 lasting until October 2017.

2017 Applications Due: Wednesday, December 15, 2016
2017 Program Starts: February 6, 2017
2017 Exhibition: August - October, 2017 (exact dates TBD)

Guest professionals: Final list of visitors will be presented in January of 2017, confirmed visitors so far are: Director of 6018 North Tricia Van Eck, artist and educator Dan Devening (Devening Projects); artist and gallerist Catherine Ise, critic and instructor Susan Snodgrass; Senior Lecturer at the Art Institute of Chicago Annie Morse, photographer and educator Dawoud Bey; curator Patterson Sims, artist and educator Sabina Ott, gallerist Jim Dempsey (Corbett vs. Dempsey), artist Jefferson Pinder. 

Access: In addition to critical discussions, Center Program artists also have access to the Oakman Clinton School & Studios at the Art Center, including the following studios: Painting & Drawing, Digital Lab, Darkroom, Printmaking/Silkscreen, Ceramics, and Mixed Media. These spaces are available to use as shared studio areas, however CP artists also received a free course at HPAC during the 2017 Spring term, to help with their project development in the program.

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.

Scholarship opportunities: (1) a HPAC-funded Diversity scholarship for an artist of color, (2) HPAC-funded Teaching Artist Scholarship for a Hyde Park Art Center Teaching Artist, (3) a Ground Floor Scholarship for artists who have been included in past or present Ground Floor exhibitions at HPAC, (4) a Luminarts Fellowship to support two artists from their network, and (5) a Marwen Fellowship to support an alum from the organization's history. All of these opportunities are primarily merit-based, assessed on clarity of statement, potential impact on the artist/practice, as well as potential overall contribution to the larger program and network of Center Program artists. 

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.

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