Listen to Cynthia Rowley (BFA 1981) talk about her time in SAIC's Fashion Design program.

 

Our Students and Alumni Design Their Own Creative Pathways

At the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), we will not define your career. We will, however, provide you with the interdisciplinary education and resources you need to define it for yourself. Our graduates move on to do great things; more than 17,000 alumni across the world impact their communities through their work, scholarship, teaching, and service. The video profiles on this page provide a glimpse of the endless possibilities open to graduates of SAIC.

MB Labs

Alumni Profile: Creative Technology Studio Collaborative in West Loop

MB Labs, a large live-work space located in Chicago's West Loop, focuses on producing creative and intelligently designed commercial products. The collaborative project was started by SAIC alumni Josh Billions (BFA 2012), David Hull (MFA 2012), and Harvey Moon (BFA 2012), with MIT Alum, Bill Fineup (2005).

The small business is this year’s recipient of the national Red Bull Creation Challenge Prize in which groups compete to design and live-build a devise, limited to materials given and a 72 hour deadline. MB Labs created Autoloop, a drum machine that lets users control a drum set via sensors that determine rhythm depending on where objects are placed on a separate device. This is just one project of many, both functionally innovative and playful, that the group has acquired national attention for. Taking on roles as artists, mechanics, and entrepreneurs, they are bringing together Chicago's most diverse community of professional and amateur makers and hackers.

Soucie Horner

Alumni Profile: Interior Design Firm

Martin Horner (BIA 1997) and Shea Soucie (BIA 1996) studied interior architecture together at SAIC, beginning a friendship that developed into a successful Chicago design firm, Soucie Horner. Founded in 2000, they began by designing high-end residential interiors on the north shore of Lake Michigan. Now they work with clients around Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, and internationally. Their partnership extends into the classroom as they both teach a Professional Practices class at SAIC, staying engaged with a changing design world, impacted by technology and interdisciplinary collaboration. Just as their body of work describes how Soucie and Horner’s design practice has changed, each of the homes they design, says Soucie, is “a scrapbook of the people who live there.”

Soucie and Horner have indeed branched out both in their work as artists and in business. A few years ago, they began partnering with real estate developers to put together entire conceptual plans for the interiors of large developments. And recently they launched Soucie Horner Collections, a signature line of home furnishings, hand-woven rugs, and lighting.

Pablo Helguera

Alumni Profile: Social Practice Artist in A Lived Practice

Pablo Helguera (BFA 1993) is the Director of Adult and Academic Programs of the Department of Education at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and an artist who uses the tools of education to create socially engaged art. His piece, the Addams-Dewey Gymnasium, is featured in A Proximity of Consciousness, which runs September 20 through December 20 in the Sullivan Galleries.

The Addams-Dewey Gymnasium invites visitors to engage in turn-of-the-century exercises designed to promote health and foster a connection between the mind and the body. In the piece, Helguera transports the educational philosophies of activist Jane Addams and educational reformer John Dewey into a contemporary art exhibition, inviting participants to reflect on the impact of two of the most influential thinkers on education.

Luftwerk

Alumni Profile of New Media Exhibit at the Chicago Cultural Center

Luftwerk

Sean Gallero and Petra Bachmaier (BFA 1999) met during a performance class at SAIC. They continued to work together as two individuals merging performance, video, sculpture, and sound until 2007, when they officially created the collaboration called Luftwerk. Luftwerk has been commissioned to create experiential, site-specific installations for galleries, museums, art fairs, landmarks, and residences across the country, working with light, color, architecture, and sound. In September of 2013, they opened their newest exhibition at the Chicago Cultural Center. Installed in the Chicago Rooms of the Chicago Cultural Center, SHIFT is site-specific like all of Luftwerk's work, and is located at the Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago Rooms, 2nd floor north, through January 5, 2014.

Samantha Hill

Alumni Profile of A Jeli's Tale: An Anthology of Kinship

Samantha Hill

American society puts a large emphasis on history recorded by word, but SAIC alumna Samantha Hill (MFA 2010) is interested in its alternate transports, including the oratory and illustrative. In this video, Hill talks about an experimental project, A Jeli's Tale: An Anthology of Kinship, she created focusing on an archive of African American families from 1910–2010. This installation seeks to connect personal story through history, with a specific concentration on the Great Migration. She takes into account the role of the African griot or jeli (historic storyteller) while integrating various cultural accents—laundry, film, and other tactile experiences—to create the American experience.

Hill has received several awards that include the International Sculpture Center Award in 2006 and 2008, the SAIC Trustee Merit Scholarship in sculpture, and the Philadelphia Sculptors Award. Her work has been exhibited at several venues including Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago and Vox Populi in Philadelphia.

Anna Hovet

Alumni and Co-op Employer Profile

Anna Hovet

Anna Hovet (BFA 2007) has come full-circle in her career—from SAIC fashion student where she was a Co-op intern, to her role today as a small business owner, fashion designer, and Co-op employer.

As a fashion student, Hovet desired to expand her skills from fashion design into business, taking on a Co-op internship at Lara Miller, Ltd., one of Chicago's premier independent designers. "My internship was incredible, because [Lara] was an independent local designer with a small studio. I got to see the day-to-day of owning your own apparel business. It's not all glitz and glam, it's a lot of hard work...but at the end of the day, it was all worth it. It really showed me what it was like to own your own business," says Hovet.

Today, Hovet's own fashion business is thriving. She employs both marketing and fashion design interns through the Co-op program, continuing the cycle of passing on skills necessary to the fashion business.

Learn more about our inspiring SAIC alumni.