Ground Floor 2018

Hyde Park Art Center is proud to announce the return of Ground Floor, the fifth iteration of a biennial exhibition that features artwork by some of Chicago’s most promising emergent talent.  Nominated by respected members of the arts community and selected by the Art Center’s Exhibitions Committee, which includes Dawoud Bey (Chair), Zachary Jack Buchner, Tempsett Hazel, Lauren Leving, Dawit Petros, Lorelei Stewart, and Scott Wolniak, along with Art Center Director of Exhibitions & Residencies  Allison Peters Quinn, the selected artists are 2017 and 2018 graduates from Chicago’s top-ranked Master of Fine Art programs: Columbia College Chicago, Northwestern University, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, The University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Ground Floor 2018 artists are: Mark Blanchard, Madeline Finley, Mina Fitzpatrick, Ashley Freeby, Kandis Friesen, Jasper Goodrich, Ben Harle, Betsy Johnson, Melissa Leandro, Frances Lee, Kat Liu, Liz McCarthy, Carissa Meier, Roni Packer, Joseriberto Perez, Jessica Sladek, Maryam Taghavi, Zespo Velazquez, Shanna Zentner, and FeiFan Zhang.

“This Ground Floor, many of the artists have a strong commitment toward voicing political concerns about society.” Stated Director of Exhibition & Residency Programs Allison Peters Quinn, “several came to Chicago from other countries because the city is a recognized hot bed of experimentation in art and activism. We’re very excited to bring more attention to the work of these compelling artists.”


The committee received 120 artist nominations from faculty, artists, critics, and curators in Chicago. After reviewing submissions from the nominated artists, the committee rigorously narrowed down the submissions to a final list of work that represents the range of dynamic art practices coming out of Chicago today. All selected artists live and work in the Chicagoland area, reflecting the Art Center’s commitment to building a strong local community of thriving young artists.

Named for its role in providing a crucial platform for young artists, “Ground Floor” includes:

  • A major exhibition that fills the entire lower level of the Art Center’s 32,000 square feet building
  • An exhibition catalogue that increases the visibility of Ground Floor artists outside of Chicago
  • Critical writing that allows artists to receive valuable, documented feedback about their work and will cultivate new critical voices
  • Professional support for promising Chicago artists—introducing them to curators, critics, collectors, and a public beyond their immediate network 
  • A public stage and “next step” for young artists following their graduate degrees
  • A direct pipeline of new talent to local and national institutions, galleries, and curators
  • A destination for the Chicago community to see and learn about artists whose careers we should watch and support


In the spirit of supporting young artists, the Art Center has also commissioned Chicago-based writer, artist, and curator, Lynnette Miranda, to author the Ground Floor catalog, which will be released October 2018.

“Ground Floor” alumni from the 2016 exhibition include Leonard Suryajaya and Derrick Woods-Morrow, both finalists for the 2018 Chicago Artadia Awards; Erin Hayden, whose work is currently on view in “I Was Raised on the Internet” at the Museum of Contemporary Art–Chicago; and Orkideh Torabi, who had a solo display in Western Exhibitions and Horton Gallery’s shared booth at the 2018 NADA art fair in New York.


Generous support for he 2018 Ground Floor exhibition is provided by Northwestern University, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and The University of Chicago.


  • September 9, 2018 – November 11, 2018
  • Gallery 1, 2 & Cleve E. Carney Gallery

Lead Sponsors:

This exhibition is supported in part by awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

See images from Ground Floor 2016

Ground Floor 2016

Ground Floor, so named because it fills the entire lower level of the Art Center—over 6,000 square feet of gallery space—gives these artists a major public venue in which to display their works at a critical juncture in their careers, helping to build, support and ensure a strong, vibrant and broad community of artists in Chicago. The exhibition also facilitates a unique cross-institution conversation under one institutional umbrella.

At the same time, Ground Floor offers the Chicago community a consistent and dynamic biennial destination where they are introduced to those artists whose work demands to be seen and collected. The Art Center is a neutral ground without any school affiliation and so the perfect host for an exhibition that takes the pulse of current local art production. Ground Floor presents art made in the past couple of years in the hopes of investigating and articulating conceptual and stylistic trends simultaneously coming out of Chicago art schools right now. Many of the artists in this year’s selection use the lens of technology and design to reinterpret, distort, or enhance their abilities expressed in traditional media like painting, sculpture and drawing in exciting ways. Additionally, several artists explore the relationship between the body and the built or natural environment with a certain uneasy tension which presents itself through fragmentation or a desire to archive and re-organize material.

In the spirit of supporting young artists for this exhibition, the Hyde Park Art Center will commission an emergent Chicago-based artist, writer, and curator to author the Ground Floor catalog essay. This tradition, of creating a catalog for the Ground Floor exhibition as a method of documenting and archiving this pivotal and vital moment in time, creates an unprecedented opportunity for a young voice to emerge alongside those visual artists presented here.

Ground Floor is organized by the Hyde Park Art Center’s 2017-2019 Exhibition Committee led by Chair, Dawoud Bey, who together with Zachary Buchner, Tempestt Hazel, Lauren Leving, Lorelei Stewart, Allison Peters Quinn, and Scott Wolniak. selected artists from a list of artists nominated for consideration by local faculty, artists, and curators. The Exhibition Committee reviewed the work of over 125 artists from the graduating classes of 2015 and 2016 from schools including Columbia College Chicago, Northwestern University, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the University of Chicago, and the University of Illinois at Chicago. This year all five of the schools provided sponsorship to the exhibition in acknowledgement of the value the Ground Floor program brings to the art ecology in Chicago.