About: Citizen Artist
"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.
Cuban artist Tania Bruguera (MFA 2001, HON 2016) has proposed herself as a candidate for the 2018 Cuban presidential election. How will her work unfold in our present era of political uncertainty?
Anida Yoeu Ali (MFA 2010), Aram Han Sifuentes (MFA 2013), Jan Tichy (MFA 2009), and Apichatpong Weerasethakul (MFA 1998, HON 2011) engage with civic and social issues to make a positive impact on their community and the world.Read More
The Art of Empathy
Artists Jesse Ball, Kevin Kaempf, and Riva Lehrer (SAIC 1993–95) delve into what it means to feel.Read More
Our Kind of Town
For more than a century, SAIC’s ethos of civic engagement has compelled its artists, designers,
scholars, and educators to create work that extends beyond the studios and classrooms and
into the diverse communities of Chicago and beyond.
Q&A with Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Apichatpong Weerasethakul (MFA 1998, HON 2011) reflects on SAIC in the ’90s and the dangers of too much intellectualization in art.Read More