The Bridge Program

The Bridge Program fosters generative dialogue among a select group of artists in a seminar-style course designed to push your art practice into new realms. You’ll work in an intensive, small-group setting to refine project ideas, better articulate the central concerns of your practice, deepen the conceptual grounding of your work, and situate your practice within a wider art world context. You’ll participate in critiques, writing sessions, essay discussions, and a public artist talk at the culminating program showcase in the Art Center’s Muller Meeting Room and 4833 Project Space. Advanced artists in all media are encouraged to apply.

Spring 2018 Term

Tuesdays 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
April 17 – June 26
Facilitated by Jim Dempsey and Allison Cochrane

Applications due March 18

Tuition (The Bridge Program only): $285/members $305/not-yet-members

Hyde Park Art Center has partnered with the The Graham School at University of Chicago to offer a Visual Arts Certificate Program (VACP). The VACP was created to help emerging and mid-career artists access practical information and resources that allow them to enhance the success of their current artistic practice. Over the course of five quarters, the program furthers your art practice while developing practical, focused skills in your writing ability, business practices, exhibition strategies and communication techniques. The coursework consists of (1) A studio component from the Art Center (either The Bridge Program or The Center Program) and (2) four courses (Business, Writing, Curating, and Learning). Artists may apply for The Bridge Program as a stand-alone opportunity, or to the VACP, by indicating their choice on the application form. Throughout the program, we aim to foster a sense of community, and to offer artists a positive space to engage in critical dialogue with others working in the arts.

Artists may apply to The Bridge Program only; individual VACP courses without The Bridge Program; or the entire VACP (which includes The Bridge Program and all 4 courses).

To apply for the Bridge Program, please fill out the application below. Questions about The Bridge Program can be directed to Jen Tremblay, Director of School and Studio Programs, at (773) 324-5520 x1007 or Questions about the VACP through the Graham School can be directed to Nikki Yagoda at  773-702-2768 or

Learn about Bridge Program alumni and facilitators.

About the Bridge Program Facilitator

Jim Dempsey is an artist, curator, and gallery owner. He is the co-owner, along with John Corbett, of the Chicago art gallery Corbett vs. Dempsey. Corbett and Dempsey have also been involved in many independent curatorial projects, including Big Picture: A New View of Painting In Chicago (Chicago History Museum, 2007),  Touch and Go: Ray Yoshida and his Spheres of Influence (Sullivan Galleries, Chicago, 2010), and Monster Roster: Existentialist Art in Postwar Chicago (Smart Museum, 2016). Previous to the gallery, Dempsey was the house manager and occasional programmer at the Gene Siskel Film Center, Chicago. He is an alumnus of SAIC.