Citizen Artists

Elissa Tenny

"Citizen artists do not possess a particular nationality; citizen artists are aware of our interconnectedness as people and our shared responsibility to do good. Citizen artists recognize that their work in the studio and the classroom is not separate from the culture we live in, the politics we negotiate, and the society we build together."

—Elissa Tenny, President of SAIC

For more than a century, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) has possessed an ethos of civic engagement that compels its artists, designers, scholars, and educators to create work that is not separate from the culture we live in, the politics we negotiate, and the society we build together. Our community is driven by the spirit of engagement and inquiry to reimagine traditional notions of art-making and make positive change in our world.

The idea of the citizen underpins SAIC’s interdisciplinary curriculum, which encourages students to experiment, cross boundaries, and take risks. It is evident in the speakers we invite to campus, and the work our students, alumni, faculty, and staff do every day.

Browse this site to see some of the ways the SAIC community embodies the idea of the citizen artist.