May 28

Honoring an Arts Educator and Advocate

On May 21 the Chicago Sun-Times commemorated the achievements of former SAIC professor Angela Paterakis, who taught at the school for almost 50 years. Paterakis began as an instructor at SAIC in 1961 and later chaired the school’s division of education from 1963–71. She was promoted to full professor in 1985 and continued teaching until 2010. During her time at SAIC, she also developed Basic Art Support in the Classroom, or BASIC, which encouraged veteran teachers to attend classes and events at the Art Institute. “Before that, [education] was more geared toward the new teacher,” says former Executive Director of the Illinois Alliance for Arts Education (IAAE) Nadine Saitlin. “It created a community among teachers who were already in the classroom. It was groundbreaking.” A strong advocate for arts education, Paterakis also fought for the inclusion of special education students in fine arts programs and worked with the IAAE to keep the arts in school curricula. “She knew that art could foster pride and inspire dreams,” says Sun-Times writer Maureen O’Donnel. “To her, it was not only an essential element of education—it was good for society.”