Not Just Another Pretty Face

Not Just Another Pretty Face is the Art Center’s matchmaking commissioning program for artists and potential art buyers, facilitating lasting relationships between artists and patrons, a new base of support for artists, and investment in the vitality of Chicago’s cultural community.

Taking place every three years, Not Just Another Pretty Face is a collaborative commissioning project created by Hyde Park Art Center. The Art Center arranges commissions between patrons and artists who create engaging personal works of art (from the traditional to the very untraditional).

The project has been a successful way for the Art Center to cultivate a very important part of the “ecosystem” that artists need in order to thrive – collectors – by embracing, and encouraging, the idea of patronage in contemporary art. We believe that artists need not only consumers (i.e., collectors) of their work, but also need a community of people who know and support them and value what they do.

To date, the Art Center has raised over $900,000—half of which goes directly into the hands of artists, with the other half going to support Art Center programs. Through Not Just Another Pretty Face, 375+ original works of art have been commissioned by 275 new and established collectors interested in investing in Chicago’s artists.

This program  results in an exhibition of the original works of art, a catalog documenting the process, and a lively event to unveil the finished pieces, which will make their way to the patrons’ homes following the exhibition. Not Just Another Pretty Face has been replicated in four cities: Boise, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, and Salt Lake.

Since its inception in the mid-1990s, Not Just Another Pretty Face has maintained its pursuit of three primary goals:

  • To support Chicago’s artists;
  • To make collecting and patronage accessible to a wider group of people; and
  • To explore the idea of portraiture in contemporary art.