The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) specializes in the education of contemporary artists, designers, scholars, and educators. SAIC's course of study matches the breadth of a liberal arts education with the rigor of a discipline-based studio program, while offering more than 1,000 courses per term that enable you to truly individualize your educational experience.

In your first year at SAIC, you will test the ideas and techniques that drive contemporary art and design in the department of Contemporary Practices Core and Research Studio classes. Contemporary practices combines skill-based instruction—from drawing to new technology—with studio-based methods of conceptual exploration and artistic research.

Also part of our program is an integrated advising program that enables you to make informed choices in designing the curricular path that will complement the work you want to make.

For freshman students, Contemporary Practices offers many opportunities to exhibit work, as well as scholarships and award possibilities.

  • Yearlong opportunities: Contemporary Practices makes available installation rooms for individual projects and departmental exhibition spaces for class work. Additionally, you can apply to galleries and exhibitions for on-campus sites.
  • First: This printed catalog is open to all Research Studio I students and published in conjunction with end of year exhibitions and events. This publication documents work, projects, and ideas from your first semester at SAIC.
  • ARTBASH is the annual culminating event of SAIC's Contemporary Practices yearlong program. Co-produced by faculty and students, this exhibition is a showcase of work made in the department.
  • Scholarships and awards:  At the end of the first year, Contemporary Practices students are eligible to be nominated for the Contemporary Practices Scholarship and the Linda and Vincent Buonanno Contemporary Practices Scholarship. There are also several awards connected to end of the year exhibitions including the New Outstanding Artist Award and the Barbara Zenner New Outstanding Artist in Film, Video, New Media, and Animation.