It's now more important than ever to ensure diversity in and access to the visual arts.
- access to arts education
- professional development for artists
- bringing national attention to Chicago's artists
Front & Center is an annual exhibition of work from artists participanting in The Center Program, the Art Center’s flagship artist professional development initiative that began in 2012. Guest Curated by Tricia Van Eck, Director of 6018North, this iteration of Front & Center debuts artwork by 24 artists in a variety of media that was developed during the six-month program.
The Center Program is the Art Center’s answer to traditional professional development offerings for artists. Led by Director of Education Mike Nourse, The Center Program offers the unique opportunity to develop new work, receive feedback from professionals in the field, and work towards 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. This year's Center Program included visits from Dawoud Bey, Susan Snodgrass, Dan Devening Annie Morse, Juan Chavez, Jim Dempsey, Jim Duignan, David Schutter, Laura Letinsky, Patterson Sims, and Charles Ray.
To further its impact, The Center Program also aligns with a year-long Visual Arts Certificate Program (VACP) in partnership with The University of Chicago Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies. The VACP is designed to help artists further their studio 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 divide that exists in degree programs, with The Center Program providing the studio component of the certificate. Each year, artists may apply for The Center Program as a stand-alone opportunity, or to the VACP.
Front & Center is guest-curated by Tricia Van Eck, Artistic Director and Founder of 6018North, a non-profit supporting challenging work that integrates multiple disciplines and audiences to foster artistic experimentation. For 6018North, she recently curated the critically acclaimed Rooting (India); The Knowledge Project at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale in India and Bling Bling at EXPO Chicago, among many other projects since the nonprofit launched in 2011. Prior to starting 6018North, Van Eck was Associate Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago for 13 years. There she organized more than 70 exhibitions and programs, much of which were experimental, audience engaged, performative, or extended the MCA's reach into the community. Some of her projects include Theaster Gates: Temple Exercises; Without You I Am Nothing: Art and Its Audience, Tino Sehgal’s Kiss, and many more. She also curated MCA Chicago’s presentations of many traveling exhibitions, and UBS 12 x 12: New Artists/New Work exhibitions, which showcased the work of emerging Chicago artists. Van Eck has been Center Program visiting professional since 2012.
Have a look at the brochure for Front & Center
The Center Program is partially supported by 3Arts and Luminarts.