Sullivan Galleries: BFA Thesis Information
Who is eligible to participate in a Capstone Event? How can I confirm my eligibility?
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 participate in the Fall BFA Show in November at Sullivan Galleries or a Time Arts Event in the Spring 2018. If you graduate in the Fall or Winter, you will not be eligible to participate in the Spring BFA Show.
Spring BFA Show
Undergraduate students completing degree requirements in Spring 2018 or Summer 2018, are eligible to participate in the Fall 2017 BFA Show, Spring 2018 BFA Show in March, or a Time Arts Event in Spring 2018.
Note: The semester that you graduate in is not necessarily the semester that you are assigned to for the BFA Show.
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.
I am graduating in the Fall or Spring but I didn't get a BFA Show semester assignment. What do I do?
You will need to contact your academic advisor, check your graduation plans with them to ensure that you are on track to graduate during the 2017-2018 school year. If you are on track, your advisor will need to provide an Eligibility Check to the BFA Show Exhibition Team which includes the following information:
- Student's full name
- Student's SAIC ID number
- Student's degree program
- Semester planning to graduate
- Credit hours completed before the first day of Fall 2017 (not how many classes you're taking in the Fall)
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 September 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 will need to choose between showing their work in the BFA Show, the Performance Festival, FVNMAS, or the Fashion 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. Students participating in a symposium in the Spring are not eligible for the Spring BFA Show. These students must still register online by September 12. Dual degree students are not eligible to participate in the Spring BFA Show since they will be participating in an academic event during that semester.
What are the different types of Capstone Events?
Do I have to be in the BFA Show to get my BFA degree?
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 the Capstone Event in which they will participate.
Elective Capstone Events
- BFA Show - participation in the Fall BFA Show in November 2017 or Spring BFA Show in March 2018, according to their semester assignment (this might not be the semester you graduate!).
- 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're 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)
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 only participate in the Fall BFA Show 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.
Capstone classes are part of the academic spine courses. Certain Capstone classes include participating in the BFA Show in the Fall 2017 or Spring 2018 as a curated group exhibition space. Students who participate in these classes must still register for the BFA Show online by September 12 and must adhere to the rules and regulations of the BFA Show, including attending an Info. Session, turning in an Art Loan Agreement, providing their label information, and other exhibition requirements by the appropriate deadlines. This information will be communicated to students by both email and their professors, so you'll definitely be informed of what you need to know.
For more information about Capstone at SAIC, visit: http://www.saic.edu/academics/departments/academicspine/capstone/
Can I choose the semester in which I exhibit?
Unfortunately, the Sullivan Galleries are not large enough to accommodate all of the eligible BFA students for a given year in a single show.
Students are not able to choose which semester they exhibit in for this reason. 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 want 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 4 for the Fall show, or February 23 for the Spring show.
Instructions and procedures to register for all 2017–2018 Capstone Events will be distributed to eligible students via email on September 5. Students will need to register online by September 12, 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 LeRoy Neiman Center on September 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, and 12 from 12:00–3:00 p.m.
- 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.
BFA Office Hours:
Sullivan Gallery staff will also hold office hours for BFA Show questions from September 13–Nov. 8 during the 12:00–1:00 p.m. lunch hour and from 4:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays. Students are welcome to stop by without an appointment to ask questions or gain clarity about the BFA Show.
If you register after the September 12 deadline, your registration will be placed on the waitlist for the appropriate show. Waitlisted registration will be processed on a first come, first served basis as long as there are available slots left open. Students will be notified of their waitlist status on a rolling basis. You may not know whether or not your waitlist request has been approved until Space Claim since availability of slots in the show may depend on whether or not all registered students show up to claim a space.
There are several categories of spaces available at the Sullivan Galleries for both BFA shows:
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
- 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 spaces in front of windows as well as any area which does not include the use of a wall.
How do I submit a proposal for an individual installation space or an assigned group space?
Students who wish to take on more ambitious projects or who wish to show their work as a group with one or more other eligible and registered BFA Show participants may submit a proposal for review by a jury of three SAIC faculty members. Proposals are due Octoer 8, by 11:59 p.m. for the Fall BFA Show and January 28, 2018 for the Spring BFA Show via SlideRoom. Students must indicate that they plan to submit a proposal at the time of registraton on September 12.
Members of the jury will review and rank proposals on a numeric scale of 1 to 10. Ratings are based on the strength of the individual proposal, the concept of the work, and the feasibility of the project. Jury decisions are based on the proposal and are final. Interviews with students are not part of the project proposal process. Students will be notified of their proposal results via email on October 17.
Proposal-required spaces are an opportunity for students to take on additional responsibilities and deadlines for the chance at showing a more ambitious project. There are a limited number of slots for these—only 8 individual installation rooms per show. During registration, 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. If you are on the waitlist at the time that proposals are due, you will not be able to submit an application for a proposal-required space.
Fall BFA Show Proposal due October 8, by 11:59 p.m. Submit your proposal via SlideRoom.
Spring BFA ShowProposal due January 28, by 11:59 p.m. Submit your proposal via SlideRoom.
Fall BFA Show dates
November 18–December 8
Spring BFA Show Dates
March 10–30, 2018
What are the important deadlines for participating artists?
Fall BFA Show 2017
September 12: Register to participate in the show online by midnight
October 8: Proposal Deadline for Individual Installation spaces or Group spaces only—Lottery spaces do not require proposals.
November 2: Info. Session & Space Claim A (Install, Group, Lottery Wall spaces): 4:30–7:30 p.m.
November 3: Info. Session & Space Claim B (Capstone class, Lottery Combo and Lottery Floor to Ceiling spaces): 4:30–7:30 p.m.
November 4–5: Space Preparation, 10:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
November 6: Space Preparation, 10:30 a.m.–2:00 p.m.
November 6: Installation, 2:00–8:30 p.m.
November 7–10: Media Equipment Pick-Up at Sullivan Gallery, 10:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
November 7–11: Installation 10:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
November 12: Installation 10:30 a.m.–8:30 p.m.
November 17: Ticketed Reception 5:00–8:00 p.m.
November 18–December 8: Open to the Public Monday–Saturday, 12:00–6:00 p.m.
December 9–11: Deinstallation and Work Pickup, 10:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
December 18: Classes End
Spring BFA Show 2018
September 12, 2017: Register to participate in the show
January 28: Proposal Deadline for Individual Installation spaces or Group spaces ONLY—Lottery spaces do not require proposals.
February 22: Info. Session & Space Claim A (Install, Group, Lottery Wall spaces): 4:30–7:30 p.m.
February 23: Info. Session & Space Claim B (Capstone class, Lottery Combo and Lottery Floor/Ceiling spaces): 4:30–7:30 p.m.
February 24–25: Space Preparation, 10:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
February 26: Space Preparation, 10:30 a.m.–2:00 p.m.
February 26: Installation, 2:00–8:30 p.m.
February 27–March 2: Media Equipment Pick-Up at Sullivan Gallery, 10:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
February 27–March 3: Installation, 10:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
March 4: Installation, 10:30 a.m.–8:30 p.m.
March 9: Ticketed Reception, 5:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m.
March 10–30: Open to the Public Monday–Saturday, 12:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
March 31–April 2: Deinstallation and Work Pickup, 10:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
If you elect to participate in a BFA Show at the Sullivan Galleries, you will be required to attend an Information 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 Information 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 Information Session but do not have to stay for the lottery space claim.
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.
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 Information 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.
If you registered for a Lottery space (wall, combo, floor to ceiling) and you do not attend Space Claim, you will forfeit your place in the BFA Show. Forfeited "lottery" spaces will be reallocated to waitlisted 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”
Will gallery staff install my work for me?
You are responsible for installing your own work. Gallery staff will not install it for you. 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 installation to support participating artists in the following ways:
- 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 the gallery, where to hang materials from the ceiling (or where you can't hang something!).
- Mount projectors or monitors on the wall or the ceiling, or teach you to mount them safely yourself. Be prepared to tell staff exactly where they should be mounted when you sign up for assistance.
- Check whether your installation is secure, i.e. 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
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, for eample, building a wall, sanding materials, or painting 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 or 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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com.
What if I want to hang a dead cat from the ceiling or show something that might be considered dangerous?
Maybe you can, maybe you can't.
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 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, you can't:
- Spray paint or aerosol
- Permanent markers (e.g. Sharpie) or permanent ink on walls, floors, windows, etc.
- Marking or 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:
- Exceeding your space demarcations
- Performance (let staff know if you plan to perform at your Information 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're wondering if you may be doing something that requires special permission, or is prohibited or restricted, follow your instincts and ask.
In addition to materials prohibited in Sullivan Galleries only, 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. This list is for the entire campus. The governing body reviewing practices that may fall under these rules is called 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 figure out how to share your work with the SAIC community and the public 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or to a trusted faculty member. Or you can drop by BFA Office Hours at Sullivan Galleries to chat with us about your project.
The best rule of thumb, 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.
Please consult the following list, 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 email@example.com if you have further questions about Media Center equipment.
You will write a label for your work, including your publicity name*, the title of your work, the year your work was completed, and the medium or materials of the work. If you would like to include a brief didactic text, you can do so at the time that you submit your label. Didactic text should be limited to approximately 140 characters. Labels can include text, emoji, and should be formated exactly as you want them to appear. You can submit your label to saic.edu/bfalabel during the installation period.
*Publicity Names may be the same or different from your name as it is listed with the school. For instance, "John Doe" could prefer to show work under the name "John F. Doe" or "Johnny Sparkle". We will collect your publicity name at the mandatory Information Session.
2018 BFA Performance Festival Information forthcoming.
Who is eligible to participate?
Undergraduate students completing degrees in Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018 or 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.
Students who are taking on dual degrees may register for an academic symposium in the Spring and the BFA Show in the Fall, if they wish to exhibit both their academic and artistic practice. The Spring BFA Show is not available to students participating in an academic symposium since each of those take place in the Spring semester.
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 by the Sept. 12 deadline. 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 September 5. Registration will be available from September 5—12. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. For all questions about the BFA Show, contact saicBFAshow@artic.edu.
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.
Saturday, April 7, 7:00 p.m.
Performance Space, 280 S. Columbus Dr., Room 012 (lower level)
Each student participating in a BFA show will receive a total of three (3) tickets to Friday's ticketed Preview 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. No student will receive more than four (4) extra tickets. If you have a large group, please plan for them to attend Saturday's Public Opening Reception.
Please send all other inquires to saicBFAshow@artic.edu, with the subject line "ANSWER NOT FOUND." We will respond to your request as soon as possible, typically 24-48 hours. We are staffed Monday—Friday, so please allow extra time for any emails sent outside of normal business hours.
You are also welcome to stop by the LeRoy Neiman Center BFA table September 5 - 8 and 11 from 12:00 – 3:00pm or visit the Sullivan Gallery during BFA Show Office Hours on Mon. from 12:00 noon - 1:00pm and 4:00 - 5:00pm & Wed. from 4:00pm - 5:00pm.