The Center Program


READY FOR MORE? The Center Program is our capstone program for artists who are ready to move beyond our quarterly studio courses into a new way of growing.  The Center Program is the Art Center’s answer to critical gaps in traditional professional development programs, allowing working artists access to space to develop studio practice, inclusion in critical dialogues, guidance from professionals in the field, and a platform to show new works to a broader, diverse audience.

CALENDAR TO CONSIDER: Center Program artists participate in 20 total seminars, of which artists are required to be present for at least 75% (15 seminars). Program seminars center around artist presentations to peers and professionals. Spring Seminars run from Feb 27th to June 5, 2023, while Fall Seminars run from Sept 18th to November 20th, 2023 (program breaks for the summer). The Center Program final exhibition will span 3 galleries/entire first floor of our building, and run from December 9th 2023 to March 19th, 2024.

CENTER PROGRAM IS NOW AN OPEN ARTS PROGRAM – meaning open tuition! In Open Arts programs there is no minimum required tuition to participate. We ask that artists who are accepted into the program consider the suggested tuition ($1500) and contribute what they can, any amount including zero dollars. The Art Center is committed to meeting artists where they are at, and Open Arts Programs are one way we do that.

2023 WILL FEATURE OUR 10th CENTER PROGRAM CLASS! The Center Program has a ten year history with over 200+ alumni. Now offered as a bieniel program (next offering will be in 2025), the program is deeply aligned with the Art Center’s mission: developing artists at all levels in support of Chicago’s broader arts community. Past Partners  have included 3ArtsLuminartsMarwenThe University of Chicago Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies, UChicago’s Arts + Public Life and Center for the Study of Race, Politics & Culture and all the visiting professionals who provide guidance and feedback to artists in the program. These partnerships ensure access for a wide-ranging group of artists in the program. Learn more about Center Program Visiting Professionals and past participants.

Professional Pathways is supported by the Kanter Family Foundation.

Center Program Details

2023 Center Program will be led by Program Curator and Center Program Alumni Silvia Gonzalez!

Silvia Gonzalez is a multi-disciplinary artist, cultural worker, and educator in Chicago creating spaces where collective wellness takes on critical dialogue, art making, and community building. Her visual and audio work is a ballad to nostalgia–the borderline between myth and memory. Silvia has curated and facilitated workshops to address structures of power, imagination, play, confinement, and freedom. Her work has been exhibited at The National Mexican Museum of Art, Woman Made Gallery, Hyde Park Art Center, ACRE, and local grassroots art spaces. She is a member of the Chicago ACT Collective, Multiuso, and the 96 ACRES Project. As an organizer for the group POC (People of Color) Artist Space, she connects artists of color from across Chicago to resources through meet-ups, salon sessions, and development opportunities. Silvia Gonzalez went to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and received degrees in Photography and Art Education. She has a master’s from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she wrote a thesis on the work done with The 96 Acres Project. Her action-based research engages community knowledge and grassroots justice work in the classroom where young people are encouraged to consider the ways in which artistic intervention, storytelling, and education become multiple and interconnected points for liberatory departure. She was awarded with the 3Arts Make A Wave Award in 2018, CAC + OtherPeoplesPixels Maker Grant in 2020, Chicago Art Department’s Resident Artist for Community Award in 2022, and the Illinois Humanities Envisioning Justice Grant in 2022.

The Center Program centers around formal seminar meetings with visiting professionals which take place Monday evenings. The sessions include critical discussions around individual works, professional development discourse with visitors, as well as group works towards an exhibition curated by a visiting curator. Center Program artists are also offered a free studio course at Hyde Park Art Center, and have individual meetings with visitors separate from the group seminars. The program seminars are split between Spring and Fall 2023, with a summer break, and a culminating exhibition from December 9th 2023 to March 19th, 2024.

Guest professionals: Final list of visiting professionals, program support and curator will be presented at the first session on February 27, 2023. To give you an idea of past artists, curators, and visitors, here is a link:

Access: In addition to critical discussions, Center Program artists may choose to register for HPAC courses, which provide access to the Oakman Clinton School & Studios at the Art Center, including the following studios: Painting & Drawing, Digital Lab, Darkroom, Printmaking/Silkscreen, Ceramics, and Mixed Media. These spaces are available to use as shared studio areas.


If you have any questions about The Center Program or any other programs for working artists, please contact Director of Education Mike Nourse by email at

(due December 31st, 2022)

Saturday December 31st, 2022 – Deadline to apply for 2023 Center Program
Applicants will be notified by Monday Feb 13th, 2023 –
Start date for Center Program will be Monday, February 27nd, 2023
Seminars center on meeting in person at Hyde Park Art Center on Monday evenings
The exhibition for Center Program will be from December 9th, 2023 to March 19th, 2024.

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