Who is eligible to participate in a Capstone Event?

Fall BFA Show: Undergraduate students completing degree requirements in Fall 2017 or Winter 2018 who wish to participate in a Capstone Event will be eligible to Elect to Show in the Fall BFA Show in November at Sullivan Galleries or a Time Arts Event in the Spring 2018.  

Spring BFA Show: Undergraduate students completing degree requirements in Spring 2018 or Summer 2018, are eligible to participate in the Spring 2018 BFA Show in March or a Time Arts Event in Spring 2018. 

Eligibility for a Capstone Event during the 2017-2018 school year is determined by the number of credit hours a student has completed by the end of the Summer 2017 sessions. That can include coursework, study abroad, or other activities that students receive credit hours for. Students are eligible to participate in either the Fall BFA Show or the Spring BFA Show based on their credit hours. If you wish to participate in the BFA Show or another Capstone Event, you should ensure that your academic advisor is aware of your plans to graduate and your credits completed. You will receive an email with your assigned semester BFA Show option and a link to register for the BFA Show or a Time Arts Event on Sept. 5.

Capstone Events, including the BFA Show, are not required for graduation; they are elective. Since the BFA Show and Time Arts Event are not required for degree completion, students must opt-in by registering online to participate. If you do not elect to show by the Sept. 12 deadline, we will assume that you do not wish to participate in any of the optional Capstone Events. 

Undergraduate students who plan to participate in a Time Arts Event (regardless of graduation date--Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, or Summer 2018) must register for a Spring 2018 BFA Time Arts Event, since these screenings and performance festival are not offered as an option in the Fall for graduating seniors.

Students who have participated in a prior Capstone Event are not eligible to participate in a second Capstone Event.

If you have already shown your work in a BFA Show or a Time Arts Event, you will not be able to participate in a second Capstone Event.

Students with hybrid practices (or dual degree programs) who plan to participate in an academic symposium or reading in the Spring (BAAH, BAVCS, BFAW and BFA with Liberal Arts Thesis) may participate additionally in the Fall BFA Show if they wish to. These students must still elect to show online by September 12. Dual degree students are not able to participate in the Spring BFA Show since they will be participating in an academic event during that semester.  

What is Elective vs. Strongly Recommended Capstone Event?

Elective Capstone Events are forums designed for graduating seniors to “show their stuff,” though they are strictly voluntary and not necessary to graduate. All students who wish to participate in a Capstone Event must elect to show by September 12 regardless of which Capstone Event they will participate in.

Elective Capstone Events:

  • BFA Show - participation in the Fall BFA Show in November or Spring BFA Show in March as predetermined by their credit hours completed.
  • BFA Film, Video, New Media, Animation & Sound Festival (Spring 2018)
  • BFA Performance Festival (Spring 2018)
  • Fashion Event (Spring 2018)

Strongly Recommended Capstone Events may be a graduation requirement for certain students. If you are not sure whether this applies to you, check with your academic advisor to ascertain the requirements of your degree program. 

Strongly Recommended Capstone Events:

  • BAVCS Symposium (Spring 2018)
  • BAAH Symposium (Spring 2018)
  • BFAW Reading Event (Spring 2018)

Once again, students with hybrid practices who are participating in an academic symposium or reading in the Spring (BAAH, BAVCS, BFAW and BFA with Liberal Arts Thesis) may participate in the Fall BFA Show ONLY in addition to an academic event in the Spring. This allows students with dual degree programs to have an opportunity to show their studio practice as well as their scholarly efforts. The Fall BFA Show is elective and is not required. Hybrid students who wish to participate in the Fall BFA Show must elect to show by September 12. 

How will my eligibility be confirmed?

We highly recommend that you check your credit status with an academic advisor before the Fall semester begins to confirm that your transcript is accurate and that your credits are in order. If you plan to graduate any time during the 2017-2018 school year, and you wish to show your work in a Capstone Event, you need to sign up online by September 12. 

Why is there a Fall BFA Show in November and a Spring BFA Show in March? Can I choose which semester I exhibit in? 

Unfortunately, the Sullivan Galleries are not large enough to accommodate all of the eligible BFA students for a given year.

Students are not able to choose which semester they exhibit in. Students who are the closest to their graduation date have been selected to participate in the Fall BFA Show in November and those with more credit hours remaining to complete are assigned to the Spring BFA Show in March. Additionally, students who are in dual degree programs are only permitted to exhibit in the Fall BFA Show. 

If you wish to change your designated BFA Show semester, you may request to be placed on a Waitist when you register for the show online. Those requests will be reviewed once all students have registered and we can review how many students wish to switch to an alternate semester. You may not know whether your request can be accommodated until the end of the information session and space claim on November 4th for the Fall show or February 23rd for the Spring show.  

How do I register for a Capstone Event and what does it involve?

Instructions and procedures to register for all 2017-2018 Capstone Events will be distributed to eligible students via email on September 5, 2017. Students will need to register online by September 12, 2017 to participate in a Capstone Event. 

Sullivan Gallery staff will hold optional information sessions in-person as an opportunity for students to ask specific questions about the BFA Thesis Show and other Capstone Events at the Nieman Center on Tues. Sept. 5, Wed. Sept. 6, Thurs. Sept. 7, Fri. Sept. 8, Mon. Sept 11 and Tues. Sept. 12 from noon - 3:00pm. 

  • Registration help for all BFA Capstone Events
  • For BFA shows: choose your space type
  • Instructions to check your credit hours 
  • Request to be placed on the waitlist to exhibit in the alternate BFA Show
  • Help desks for all other inquiries, including: questions about how to request media, how to install your work, reviewing prohibited materials, and any other questions you have.

Office Hours:

Sullivan Gallery staff will also hold office hours for BFA Show questions from Sept. 12th through Oct. 31st during the 12:00 - 1:00 lunch hour and from 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. You are welcome to stop by without an appointment to ask questions or gain clarity about the BFA Show.  

What are Space Options for the Fall and Spring BFA shows?

There are several categories of spaces available at the Sullivan Galleries for both BFA shows:

Lottery space: A lottery number, assigned to you at random, determines the order that you will choose an exhibition space at the Space Claim Meeting. You will not know the size or location of your space until the Space Claim meeting has concluded.

Lottery space options are:

  • Wall space: Wall spaces are approximately 4 - 8 linear feet of wall only. These do not include any floor space in front of the wall.
  • Combo space: Combo spaces are approximately 4 - 8 linear feet of wall with 1 - 3 feet of floor space directly in front of the wall. Combo spaces are not recommended for large sculpture or objects intended to be seen in the round.
  • Floor / Ceiling space: Floor / ceiling spaces are approximately 4 - 6 linear feet of floor space. They do not include any wall space and are best for sculptures or objects intended to be viewed in the round. Floor / ceiling spaces include floor / ceiling spaces in front of windows as well as any area which does not include the use of a wall.

Assigned space: Students who wish to take on more ambitious or site-specific projects or who wish to show their work as a group with one or more other eligible BFA Show participants may submit a proposal for review by a jury of internal SAIC faculty and staff and external members of the artistic communtiy. Proposals are due by midnight on Oct. 8 for the Fall BFA Show and Jan. 28 for the Spring BFA Show and must be submitted via Slideroom. Students should indicate that they plan to submit a proposal at the time of registraton on Sept. 12.

Members of the jury will review and rank proposals on a numeric scale of 1 to 5. Ratings are based on the strength of the individual proposal, the concept of the work, and the feasibility of the project. Jury decisions are final. Students will be notified of their proposal results on Oct. 16. 

Note: Proposal-required spaces are limited in number and competitive. During the application, you must indicate your second choice of space type. If your application is not approved, you will be registered for the Lottery space type that you chose during registration.  

What are the dates of the BFA shows for 2017 and 2018?

Fall BFA Show 2017:

Sept. 12: Elect to participate in the show online by midnight

Oct. 8: Proposal Deadline by midnight via Slideroom

Nov. 2 - 3: Info. Sessions & Space Claim 4:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Nov. 4 – 5: Space Preparation 10:30 am - 5:30 pm

Nov. 6: Space Preparation 11:30 am - 2:00 pm

Nov. 6: Installation 2:00 pm - 8:30 pm 

Nov. 7 - 10: Media Equipment Pick-Up at Sullivan Gallery 10:30 am - 5:30 pm

Nov. 7 - 11: Installation 10:30 am - 5:30 pm

Nov. 12: Installation 11:30 am - 8:30 pm

Nov. 17: Ticketed Reception 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Nov. 18 – Dec. 8: Open to the Public Mon. - Sat. 11:00am - 6:00 pm

Dec. 9–11: Deinstallation and Work Pickup 10:30 am - 5:30 pm

Dec. 18: Classes End


March 2018:

Sept. 12, 2017: Elect to participate in the show

Jan. 28 - Proposal Deadline by midnight via Slideroom

Feb. 21 - 23:  Info. Sessions & Space Claim Meeting 4:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Feb. 24 - 25: Space Preparation 10:30 am - 5:30 pm

Feb. 26: Space Preparation 11:30 am - 2:00 pm

Feb. 26: Installation 2:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Feb. 27 - Mar. 2: Media Equipment Pick-Up at Sullivan Gallery 10:30 am - 5:30 pm

Feb. 27 - Mar. 3: Installation 10:30 am - 5:30 pm 

Mar. 4: Installation 11:30 am - 8:30 pm

Mar. 9: Ticketed Reception 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Mar. 10–30: Open to the Public Mon. - Sat. 11:00 am - 6:00 pm 

Mar. 31 - Apr. 2: Deinstallation and Work Pickup 10:30 am - 5:30 pm 

What is the mandatory Info. Session and Space Claim for the BFA Shows?

If you elect to participate in a BFA Show at the Sullivan Galleries, you will be required to attend an Info. Session which will provide you with all the info. you need to know to show your work at Sullivan Gallery. This is your opportunity to learn important information about installing your work, how to ask for help, and meet gallery staff who will work with you to prepare for the show. Space Claim is when students who have chosen a lottery space will line up according to their lottery numbers and select their spaces. Space claim takes place directly after the Info. Session. 

Information Sessions and Space Claim take place at the Sullivan Galleries, 33 S. State St., 7th floor and are required for ALL students participating in a 2017-2018 BFA Show. Students who have assigned spaces or are in a Capstone Class still need to attend the mandatory Info. Session but do not have to stay for the lottery space claim. 

Gallery Walk-Through: The gallery will be open for students participating in the lottery from 4:30–5:00 pm. Lottery numbers will be posted in the gallery for students who register for a wall, combo, and floor/ceiling spaces. Floor plans of available spaces for the exhibition will be distributed at the door. Please use this time to look at the gallery and write down the space numbers (and measurements if you need them!) for all available spaces that you are interested in. The Space Claim Lottery goes very fast and you will not have time to walk around and look at the spaces, so be sure to mark all the spaces that you like on your map. 

Spring 2017 BFA Show Available Space [PDF]

Info. Session Check-Out: All students participating in the BFA Show are required to attend a brief meeting about installation procedures. After you choose your lottery space, you must line up at a check-out table to turn in your loan form and answer a few brief questions about your installation plan and the work you intend to show. You should also turn in your Art Loan Agreement, which will be emailed to you earlier that week. This form is a writable PDF - please fill it out on a computer, print it prior to the meeting, and bring it with you to hand in. There will be no computers or printers available for this purpose at the meeting.

Be prepared to answer the following questions at the Info. Session: 

  • Does your work have any interactive elements? How would you like visitors to interact with your work? 
  • Do you plan to perform at any time during the BFA Show? 
  • What is your Publicity Name, i.e., the name you want to appear in the Gallery Guide, Price List, and on your Wall Label? 

Space Claim for students participating in the lottery from 5:30–8:00 pm. A lottery number, assigned to you at random, will determine the order that you choose your space. When your lottery number is called, you may only pick a space from the space type you selected when you registered. Space choices are final once Space Claim has concluded.

IMPORTANT: If you registered for a Lottery space (wall, combo, floor/ceiling) and you do not attend Space Claim, you will forfeit your place in the BFA Show*. Forfeited "lottery" spaces will be reallocated to wait-listed students the evening of space claim. 

**If you are unable to attend Space Claim, you need to send a trusted friend (a "proxy") to attend Space Claim to choose a space for you when your lottery number is called. Please send your proxy information to saicBFAshow@artic.edu at least 24 hours prior to Space Claim under the subject heading “PROXY

If I participate in one of the BFA Shows, how will my work be installed? Will gallery staff install my work for me?

No. You are responsible for installing your own work. You can bring friends to assist you with installation if you need help. If your work is very large, heavy, or complex, we definitely encourage you to bring friends who can help. 

Gallery staff will be present during install to provide support to participating artists. What gallery staff and crew can do:

  • Advise on simple installation methods, such as: using D-rings to hang paintings on the wall, appropriate or inappropriate adhesives for holding materials to the wall or floor of this gallery, where to hang materials from the ceiling (or where we can't hang something!)
  • We may be able to mount your projector or monitor on the wall or from the ceiling or we can teach you to mount it safely yourself. Be prepared to tell staff exactly where it should be hung when you sign up for assistance. 
  • Gallery staff will check whether your installation is secure, e.g. whether it is highly likely that your work will fall off the wall or fairly unlikely that it will fall off the wall. 

The installation period is divided into 3 phases:

Space Preparation: This time is set aside for you to measure your space, plan for any site-specific elements of your work, and become more familiar with the space. You may use this time to do preparation that will generate dust, dirt, or mess. Examples include: if you plan to build a wall, sand materials, or paint walls in your space (latex paint or water-based acrylic only!). 

Artwork installed during this time could be damaged by paint splatter and construction debris, so we do not recommend installing your art until the "Installation" period.

If you have projectors or other materials/media to hang from the ceiling, you must come to the galleries during space preparation to meet with crew and determine location of ceiling supports. When you know where you wish to hang your materials, stop by the help desk. 

Media Check-Out: The Media Center will have representatives on-site during installation. During this time you can pick up media equipment that you've reserved and install it in your space. Note: All media equipment must be picked up by the end of the day on Friday during install. The Media Center cannot check out equipment on weekends. 

Install: This is a good time to start bringing your art work or media equipment into the gallery. Any debris, packing materials, or tools must be out of the gallery by the end of installation. 

Checking-Out: When you have finished installing your work, sign up for help from staff to check you out of installation. Under no circumstances should you make any changes to your work after install has ended and you have been checked-out by gallery staff. The check-out process is when gallery staff reviews your installation to ensure that it meets minimum stability and safety requirements.   

After the installation period has ended, you will not be allowed to enter the gallery or to make any changes to your work. Your work must be complete by the end of the installation period, so budget your time wisely. Once the show is open to the public, you will not be able to make changes to your work. If your work is changed after gallery staff has checked you out of installation, we must assume those changes are due to vandalism. Questions about this process can be discussed during information sessions or emailed to the BFA Team at saicbfashow@artic.edu.

How do I reserve media center equipment for the show?

If you need video projectors, media players, monitors, computers or other media equipment for the exhibition:

  • Submit a Request for Equipment.
  • Schedule a 30-minute interview with Media Center staff. Please make sure your calendar is set to the central time zone.
  • Please refer to the PDF for a list of equipment available to rent through the Media Center.
  • Please contact Audra Jacot at ajacot@saic.edu if you have further questions about Media Center equipment.

Media Center Special Exhibition Equipment Information [PDF]

How many tickets will I receive?

Each student participating in a BFA show will receive a total of three (3) tickets to Friday's Ticketed Opening Reception, including their own ticket. In other words, you will have one (1) ticket for yourself and two (2) tickets for guests.

If you are participating in the BFA Show and you would like to request additional tickets, please fill out the Extra Tickets Request form. We may not be able to accommodate all extra ticket requests. Extra ticket requests are granted on a first come, first serve basis.

If I participate in one of the BFA Shows, can I hang a dead cat from the ceiling, or do other crazy things?

Maybe. Maybe not. For reasons of health, safety, and legality, SAIC has a list of materials and practices which must go through an additional review process to be installed anywhere on campus or in public spaces. The governing body reviewing practices that may fall under these rules is Art School Considerations. This is a committee made up of representatives from the school's faculty, Dean's Office, gallery staff, and at least one lawyer. This process is dedicated to making sure you can acheive your vision without compromosing the safety of the public, SAIC community, or yourself. These people are not here to say "no", they are here to help you share your work safely.

Please review their checklist on the PDF below for any materials, performances, or practices that you may wish to use as you plan your project. 

Art School Considerations Checklist [PDF]

If you are not sure whether something you plan to use fits into one of these categories, ASK! You can reach out to the BFA Team at saicbfashow@artic.edu or to a trusted faculty member. The best rule of thumb is: if any doubt at all exists about a practice or material that you are considering for your artwork, ask us. It is our responsibility to oversee all materials and items which enter the gallery to ensure public safety. We must adhere to fire code, the school's regulations on public safety, and the City of Chicago's rules for public spaces. 

As a professional gallery which is open to the public and located in a historic building, the Sullivan Galleries must maintain high standards of health and safety, and additionally must ensure the continued preservation of the historic Carson Pirie Scott building, designed by Louis Sullivan and Daniel Burnham in 1899. For those reasons, the following list of materials cannot be used in the gallery. 

Prohibited Materials (specific to the Sullivan Galleries)

Bear in mind that each of these prohibited materials has a story behind it. Feel free to ask staff members about it, you might get to hear an interesting anecdote. 

The answer is NO:

  • Spray paint or aerosol
  • Wallpaper
  • Permanent markers (e.g. Sharpie) or permanent ink on walls, floors, windows, etc.
  • Marking/painting the gallery's floors
  • Oil-based paints
  • Impasto paints
  • Loose particulate materials that are corrosive or harmful to breathe
  • Loose sand, dust or debris
  • Loose glitter or confetti
  • Fog machines

The answer is MAYBE; be sure to ask:

  • Self-lighting
  • Exceeding your space demarcations
  • Sound
  • Performance (let staff know if you plan to perform at your Info. Session!)
  • Display of sharp or hazardous objects
  • Food or liquids in your work
  • Plants - living or dead
  • Anything else on the Art School Considerations Checklist

If you are wondering if you may be doing something requires special permission, or is prohibited or restricted, follow your instincts and ASK.


I wish to participate in a Time Arts Event. How do I find out more information?

2018 BFA Performance Festival Information forthcoming. 

Who is eligible to participate?

Undergraduate students completing degrees in Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018 or have 6 or fewer credits to complete in Summer 2018 are eligible to register for the 2018 BFA Performance Festival.

Students may participate in one of the following presentations:

  • BFA Show: participation in the Fall or Spring BFA Show at Sullivan Galleries
  • BFA Film, Video, New Media, Animation and Sound Festival in Spring 2018
  • BFA Performance Festival in Spring 2018
  • BFAW Reading Event in Spring 2018
  • Undergraduate Thesis Symposia in Spring 2018

Students who have participated in a prior BFA Show or Time Arts Event (Film, Video, New Media, Animation and Sound Festival or Performance Festival) are not eligible to participate in another BFA Show or Time Arts Event.

How do I register for the Performance Festival or Film, Video, New Media, Animation and Sound Festival?

To participate in either the BFA Show or any other Capstone Event, you must register online for that event. Detailed registration instructions will be provided to students who are eligible to participate in a Capstone Event for the 2017-2018 school year via email on Sept. 5. Registration will be available from September 5 - 12, 2017. If you are unsure whether you are eligible, contact academic advising to discuss your eligibility. 

If you have questions about the Performance Festival or Film, Video, New Media, Animation and Sound Festival, contact Trevor Martin at tmartin@saic.edu. For all questions about the BFA Show, contact saicBFAshow@artic.edu.

Planning Meetings

Planning meeting dates, times and locations for the Performance Festival and FVNMAS will be arranged in February, March and April.

Reserving Media Center Equipment for your Performance

Requests for extra video projectors, media players, monitors, computers, etc. for the Performance Festival and FVNMAS will be consolidated by the Festival producers and submitted as a group to the Media Center in March.

Scheduled Rehearsal Dates

Tech Rehearsal: Saturday, March 31, 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
Final Tech Rehearsal: Friday, April 6, 4:30-11:00 p.m.
Final Dress Rehearsal: Saturday, April 7 (during the day)

BFA Performance Festival participants may schedule extra rehearsal time through the Performance Department, if needed, and as the performance space schedule allows.

Festival Date

Saturday, April 7, 7:00 p.m.

Performance Space, 280 S. Columbus Dr., Room 012 (lower level)

What if I have a question that is not answered here?

Please send all other inquires to saicBFAshow@artic.edu, under the subject line "ANSWER NOT FOUND." We will respond to your request as soon as possible, typically 24-48 hours. We are staffed Mon. - Fri. so please allow extra time for any emails sent outside of normal business hours.

You are also welcome to stop by the Nieman Center BFA table Sept. 5, 6, 7, 8 and 11 between noon and 3:00pm or visit the Sullivan Gallery during BFA Show office hours in Sept. and Oct. for in-person support for BFA Show questions.