Garland Martin Taylor (BA 2005, MA 2007)
Sarah Vowell, Photo: Bennett Miller
Giving back to SAIC is important to helping maintain SAIC’s ongoing position as one of the most influential art schools, something we can continue connecting with as alumni. This also means helping to ensure that SAIC is able to grow technologically and educationally in relation to its fine arts focused curriculum.

—Brenna Quinn (BFA 2011)

Challenging Perceptions. Impacting Communities.

Our graduates move on to do great things; more than 17,000 alumni impact the world and their communities through their work, scholarship, teaching, and service. As artists, designers, entrepreneurs, curators, writers, historians, filmmakers, musicians, educators, administrators, community leaders, activists, and preservationists, SAIC's alumni use their interdisciplinary education to challenge the status quo. They provide creative and innovative solutions that have a positive impact on every aspect of our lives.

Their accomplishments are many and diverse. Whether it is winning a prestigious arts grant award (Julia Rhoads, MFA 2004) or helping young women from the Chicago community find their voices through art (Scheherazade Tillet, MA 2005)—SAIC's alumni impact our cultural landscape in powerful ways every day.

Julia Rhoads (MFA 2004). Photo: Benjamin Wardell

Lucky Break
Julia Rhoads dances her way to a successful nonprofit.

Sixteen years ago, SAIC alum Julia Rhoads (MFA 2004) founded Lucky Plush Productions, an acclaimed dance theater company known for its innovative choreography and engagement with contemporary culture. Under Rhoads’ artistic direction, Lucky Plush recently won the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, a $200,000 grant that positions organizations for long-term growth and impact.

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Conversation Peace
Garland Taylor is packing a message.

Garland Martin Taylor (BA 2005, MA 2007) is a sociocultural critic who writes with his sculptures. In 2015, he toured the country with his sculpture Conversation Peace, a 400-pound steel .38-caliber revolver stamped with the names of children from Chicago who died as a result of gun violence. The piece was presented at Ideas Week in this past fall and was exhibited as part of the Museum of Science and Industry’s Black Creativity juried art exhibition in Chicago.

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Jerks and Oranges
Sarah Vowell masterfully crafts the art of writing history.

Sarah Vowell (MA 1999) began her prolific writing career as a student of Art History, Theory, and Criticism. Since then, she has become a New York Times–bestselling author of seven nonfiction books on American history and culture—covering subjects that include the Puritans, the Americanization of Hawaii, and the Marquis de Lafayette. From 1996–2008, she was a regular contributing editor of NPR’s This American Life.

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Meat, Science, Art
SAIC alum feasts on the meat of his creative education.

Craig Goldwyn (MFA 1977), better known by the persona “Meathead,” runs, one of the world’s most popular barbecue and grilling websites. Before he became a barbecue guru with the launch of the site in 2005, Goldwyn taught art courses to aspiring chefs at Chicago’s Le Cordon Bleu culinary school and was a wine critic for the Washington Post and Chicago Tribune.

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Say Her Name
Scheherazade Tillet weaves the stories of black women from Chicago communities.

Scheherazade Tillet (MA 2005) is the co-founder and Executive Director of A Long Walk Home, a Chicago-based national nonprofit that uses art to educate and empower young people to end violence against women and girls. Tillet, a graduate of SAIC’s program in Art Therapy, draws from her experiences as an artist and counselor to help young African American women and girls give voice through art and tell the stories of those who are no longer able to speak.

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Diane Simpson (BFA 1971, MFA 1978). Photo: Ken Simpson Source/Material 
Diane Simpson draws lines between sculpture, architecture, and the body.

Diane Simpson (BFA 1971, MFA 1978) creates sculptures and drawings inspired by architecture and the body in space. Her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art-Chicago, the Chicago Cultural Center, the Jewish Museum in New York, and renowned galleries across the country. She recently returned to SAIC to participate in the School’s Visiting Artists Program.

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Fashion Meets Philanthropy
Eva Wittels decks her runways with pumps and pups.

Eva Danielle Wittels (BFA 2004), an alum of SAIC's Fashion Design program, is the designer of the high-end fashion line Eva Danielle™ and a rescue-animal advocate. Wittels has spent the past three years organizing Fashion Tails, an initiative to educate the public about the plight of homeless animals through high fashion photography and celebrity endorsement.

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