Not Just Another Pretty Face 2019

Created by Hyde Park Art Center, Not Just Another Pretty Face allows the Art Center to play matchmaker for artists and potential art buyers, facilitating a fun, accessible commissioning process that builds lasting relationships between artists and patrons, creates a new base of support for artists, and invests in the vitality of Chicago’s cultural community. 2019-20 marks the seventh installment of this dynamic program.

The program takes place every three years and is meant to involve a broad range of patrons and artists, with commissions ranging from in the hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars. To date, the Art Center has raised over $700,000—half of which goes directly into the hands of artists, with the other half going to support Art Center programs. All of this 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 five cities.

Image Credit:

Cecil McDonald, Jr. Freedom Rider, 2017, c-print, 50 x 30 inches. Commissioned by Chelsea Smith

  • December 13, 2019 – March 1, 2020
  • Gallery 1, 2  & Cleve E. Carney Gallery

Join us for the Unveiling of 80+ new works of art!
Friday, December 13, 2019
Suggested Donation $35 (all are welcome).

Not Just Another Pretty Face 2016

Featured Artists

Ruben Aguirre, Yael Ben-Simon, milo bosh, Greg Bray, Corinna Button, Terrance Calvin, Stephen Flemister, Lora Fosberg, Peter Frederiksen, Kathryn Gauthier, David Geary. Susan Giles, Abigail Glaum-Lathbury, Liz Gomez, Gerald Griffin, Jacquelyn Carmen Guerrero, Max Guy, Alice Hargrave, Russell Harris, Jamie Hayes, Nathan Hiemstra, Janis Kanter, Makeba Kedem-DuBose, Jenny Kendler, Chad Kouri, Yohance Lacour, Katherine Lampert, Rodrigo Lara Zendejas, Christine LaRue, Melissa Leandro, Eric Lee, Dawn Liddicoatt, Francis Lightbound, Cecil McDonald, Gregorio Mejia. Jessie Mott, Ben Murray, Sunny Neater-Dubow, Sarah Nishiura, Betsy Odom and Andi Crist, Melissa Pinney, Pooja Pittie, John Preus,, Karen Reimer, Renee Robbins, Darrell Roberts, Nancy Lu Rosenheim, Sheri Rush, Andrew Schachman, Mike Stidham , Laurel Stradford, Norman Teague, Antonio Wade, Martha Wade, Mel Watkin, Rhonda Wheatley, Brittney Leeanne Williams, Shyvette Williams, Scott Wolniak, Mark Yee, Mary Young and Jamie Hayes, Mary Lou Zelazny

Stories of unique collaborations between artist-patron pairs united through Not Just Another Pretty Face abound. One example is emerging artist of color Tony Lewis being commissioned by prolific collector Deone Jackman—known for her keen eye and ability to spot rising talent—who first noticed Lewis’ work when it was featured in the Art Center’s 2012 Ground Floor exhibition, a biennial group show highlighting some of the most promising young Chicago artists recently graduated from the city’s MFA programs. Other intriguing pairs include the commissioning of artist Conrad Freiburg, formerly a Resident Artist at the Art Center, by composer Lisa Kaplan, who was interested in a custom work of art being designed around her music; and the commissioning of emerging artist of color Kenrick McFarlane by Amanda Williams, herself an artist of color who has been commissioned through Not Just Another Pretty Face in the past, and who this summer matriculated through The Center Program, the Art Center’s artist professional development program.

Meanwhile, these emerging and mid-career artists are shown in an exhibition and included in a catalogue alongside the likes of artists Jessica Stockholder, Tony Tasset, and Terry Evans, and get their work in front of collectors and gallerists at the level of patrons like Deone Jackman, Richard Wright and Valerie Carberry, and Janis Kanter and Thomas McKormick. This kind of exposure represents a tremendous value for these artists beyond just the financial boon of money in their pocket through a commission facilitated by the project. In this way, Not Just Another Pretty Face enables Hyde Park Art Center to activate local collectors to invest in their city’s artists directly; encourage a new and diverse group of people to think of themselves as supporters and patrons of contemporary art; and build lasting relationships between artists and patrons, creating a new base of patronage for artists and investing in the vitality of Chicago’s cultural community.

For more information or to commission a unique work of art through Not Just Another Pretty Face, contact Maria Nelson at or 773-324-5520 ext. 1014.