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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

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, 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 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) A studio component from HPAC (either The Center Program or the Bridge Program) and (2) four 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.  

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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, 2015). 

Apply for Center Program scholarships here (also due December 15, 2015).

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, 2016 (20 total meetings). The sessions include critical discussions around individual works, professional development discourse, as well as group works towards an exhibition curated by an outside curator (this year Tricia Van Eck). The program culminates in an exhibition at the Art Center slated to open mid-August 2016 lasting until October 2016.

2016 Applications Due: Wednesday, December 15, 2015
2016 Program Starts: February 8, 2015
2016 Exhibition: August 7, 2016 - October 16, 2016

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

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.

Scholarship opportunities: (1) a HPAC-funded Diversity scholarship for an artist of color, (2) an HPAC-funded Teaching Artist Scholarship for a Hyde Park Art Center Teaching Artist, (3) an HPAC-funded Ground Floor Scholarship for artists who have been included in past or present Ground Floor exhibitions, (4) a 3Arts Fellowship to support a 3Arts alum, (5) a Luminarts Fellowship to support an artist from their network, and finally (6) a Marwen Fellowship to support an alum from the organization's rich 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.

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.