Artists Run Chicago Fund

Program Overview

The 2023 Artists Run Chicago Fund (ARC Fund) seeks to award twenty-five $8,000 unrestricted grants to artists-run platforms in Chicago.

We are also introducing a one-time opportunity offered in partnership with the Terra Foundation for American Art. Artist-run platforms who apply for the ARC Fund are also eligible to apply for the Art Design Chicago Project Grant for an additional $4000 for a distinct project (for example an exhibition, installation, publication, talk, activation, performance, etc) that examines aspects of Chicago’s art and design, past and present, and/or the city’s broader history. Funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art, the awarded projects will be part of the foundation’s Art Design Chicago initiative, a citywide collaboration that highlights the city’s unique artistic heritage and creative communities. As part of the ADC initiative, Artist-run spaces will join a network of over 50 cultural organizations receiving increased national promotion in 2024 through the Terra Foundation. Fifteen $4000 project grants will be awarded through this cycle. 

This unique regranting initiative designed and administered by Hyde Park Art Center has provided over half a million dollars in support of the artist community in Chicago, and we’re still going. Since 2020, The ARC Fund has awarded eighty-five $8,000 grants to artist-run platforms, infusing Chicago’s contemporary art network with flexible financial support to strengthen their diverse and experimental programs. 

All applicants will be considered for the unrestricted Artist Run Chicago Fund awards regardless of if they are requesting the optional and additional $4000 Art Design Chicago Project Grants.

Program Goals

  • To support artist-run platforms and acknowledge their important contribution to the Chicago art community.
  • To strengthen the network of artist-run platforms in Chicago.
  • To aid self-organizing artists to create more opportunities for other artists to show and develop their practice in Chicago.
  • To fund platforms that deliver diverse and experimental programs.
  • To boost financial support for platforms run by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color), LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual), womxn artists and/or artists with disabilities.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Be an artist-run platform
    • We define artist-run platforms as: 

Artist-run platforms are operated by one or several artists and aim to create opportunities that support other artists’ practices by providing resources, public facing presentations, and more. Artist-run platforms are different from an individual artist’s socially engaged project. While a socially engaged project might include various participants in collective making, an artist-run platform as defined here has the capacity to realize other artists’ ideas. Platforms do not require a brick-and-mortar space to be eligible.

  • Operate in Chicago or its neighboring suburbs.
  • Have annual operating budgets of less than $100,000 (no minimum budget required).
  • Be led by artists with a demonstrated art practice. Applicants must share samples of their artwork and a resume of their art-related activities.
  • Broadly engage with artists (other than artists directing the space/platform), public audiences, and contemporary art.
  • Must have been founded before January of 2023. 
  • Past ARC Fund recipients must have submitted a grant report in order to be eligible.
  • The 2023 Artists Run Chicago funding cycle is now closed. Stay tuned for Artists Run Chicago 2024!

The 2023 Artists Run Chicago Fund is generously supported by the Builders Initiative, Field Foundation, and the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Art Design Chicago Project Grant

Artist-run platforms may request an additional $4,000 for a distinct project (bringing their grant total to $12,000). The awarded projects will be part of Art Design Chicago, a citywide collaboration initiated by the Terra Foundation for American Art that highlights the city’s artistic heritage and creative communities through a series of exhibitions and events throughout 2024. The Art Design Chicago grant is funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Art Design Chicago Project Goals

  • Focus on the art and design, past and present, and/or broader history of Chicago. We are particularly interested in projects that examine pressing contemporary social issues with historical roots.
  • Center artists and communities who have been systemically excluded from narratives, practices, and presentations of American (and Chicago-focused) art and design.
  • Support demonstrated commitment to inclusive and equitable practices across project development and implementation.

Art Design Chicago Project Eligibility Requirements

  • Projects must have a component that engages the public and takes place between May – December 2024.
  • Artist-run spaces must apply for the ARC Fund Grant and meet those requirements to be eligible for this opportunity.

The 2023 Jury

Meg Duguid is an artist and an arts administrator. She is currently the executive for Columbia College Chicago’s Department of Exhibition, Performing and Student Spaces. Recent curations include Where the Future Came From, an exhibition and resulting book exploring the history of feminist artist-run spaces in Chicago from 1880 to 2018. Duguid, along with her partner Michael Thomas, is currently working to develop into a comprehensive and searchable cultural archive of artist-run projects and actions in Chicago.

photo credit: zakkiyyah najeebah dumas o'neal

Stephanie Koch is a Chicago-based researcher, curator, and facilitator who engages in institution-building as a creative practice and exhibition-making as a site of testing sociopolitical possibilities. With degrees from the University of Chicago and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, she is dedicated to crafting administrative frameworks that sustain creative communities. Her current role is Program Officer at Teiger Foundation, following roles as the Interim Executive Director and Gallery Director at The Luminary and Co-Founder of the independent art space, Annas. Koch was also instrumental in organizing the 2022 Chicago Arts Census, providing insight into the experiences of Chicago’s art workers.

Jordan Martins is a Chicago based visual artist, curator, and educator. He is a lecturer at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and North Park University. Jordan is also the Executive Director of Comfort Station, a multi-disciplinary art space in Chicago and co-director of the Perto da Lá <> Close to There, a multidisciplinary project with international artists in Salvador, Brazil, and Chicago.

photo credit: © Tony Smith photography

Janell Nelson is the Co-founder and Executive Director of Activations for Englewood Arts Collective. She is also Principal Designer & Consultant, owner of JNJ Creative LLC, an award-winning small firm producing collateral & graphic design concepts for philanthropic and public-serving entities. 

Artists Run Chicago Fund Recipients

0624th Ward Project Space65GrandACRE ProjectsAdds DonnaAlt_SpaceAMFM, ¡Anímate! Studio, Annas, AnySquaredApparatus ProjectsAxis LabBad At Sports, Bird Show, Blanc Gallery, Bridge, Brown Wall Project, boundary,Center for Native Futures, CCAM: Center for Concrete and Abstract Machines, Contra Corriente 2023, Contra Corriente 2024 + Porta(til) Design Project, Convictions, Companion Cooperative, Chicago Art DepartmentChicago Artists WritersChuquimarcaCleaner Gallery + ProjectsClutchCo-Prosperity Sphere/Public Media Institute, Intersect, Comfort StationCompound Yellow, Concerned Black Image MakersCultivatorD GalleryDefibrillator GalleryDevening ProjectsDIVINE Art BookDocument, Dragonfly Gallery & Creative Spaces, Englewood Arts CollectiveExperimental Sound Studio, F4FFilm Front, The FranklinGnarWare Workshop, The GREYSTONE Collective, Heaven Gallery, Hoofprint, Iceberg ProjectsIgnition Project Space, in ℅ Black Women, Inga, Julius CaesarLawrence and Clark, LevelUP IRL, Liberated Arts Movement, LVL3, Marimacha Monarca Press, Mayfield, Mothers Healing Circle, Mujeres Mutantes, Narrow Bridge Arts Center, Nightingale CinemaNo Nation, Ohklahomo,The Optimist Gallery at Depression Press Mfg. & Ink, Inc.,  Out of Site Chicago,  Performance Response Journal, PO Box Collective, POCAS (People of Color Artist Space), Practise, Prairie, PRESS HERE: Center for Mad Culture, Produce ModelQTVC Live!, The Reservoir Collective, Roman SusanRoots & Culture, Rootwork Gallery, Sandbox Symphony, Silver RoomSin Cinta Previa,SITE/less, Slow, SpaceShift Collective, The SuburbanSweet Water Foundationtable, Tala, Terrain ExhibitionsTiger Strikes Asteroid, Tiny Table Gallery, Trunk Show, TRQPITECAVGA GalleryThe Weaving Mill, VGA Gallery, Wedge Projects, Watershed Art & EcologyWestern Pole, and WILD YAMS: Black Mothers and Caretakers Artist Residency.

Artists Run Chicago at a Glance

Initiated during the challenging years of the COVID-19 outbreak, the ARC Fund has created breathing room for artist-run projects to continue to innovate and thrive. The grants have increased the platforms’ capacity to pay artists to make new work, hire staff, pay exisiting staff, build residency programs that attract visiting artists to the region, increase BIPOC-led platforms, and invest in socially engaged practices.

For over two decades, Hyde Park Art Center has been an ally for independent art spaces. The Art Center presented the first Artist Run Chicago exhibition in 2009 with contributions from 40 spaces in existence between 1999 and 2009. A publication documenting the artist-run energy was produced by Three Walls and published by Green Lantern Press. Our 2020 exhibition Artists Run Chicago 2.0 celebrated the work of fifty artist-run spaces operating between 2010 and 2020 that continue to fuel Chicago’s independent art scene. The Artists Run Chicago Fund was an evolution of this work.