Artist Mierle Laderman Ukeles invited representatives of maintenance—custodians, security, and engineering staff—of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) to be very special honored guests at a beautiful lunch in the Sullivan Gallery on September 25, 2019 between 1:00–3:00 pm.
These workers, whom Ukeles calls MAINTAINERS, represent the large number of people whose ongoing work makes it possible for the art students and faculty at SAIC to pursue learning, and proceed with realizing their visions and their creative work in a clean, safe and healthy environment. Every day. These MAINTAINERS are the people who bring the thirst of making into a realm of reality. The lunch was served by a selected group of SAIC students and others, called SERVERS, who wished to offer a gesture of loving thanks for the endless work by the MAINTAINERS. The heart of this action was to create an atmosphere of pleasure and ease and enjoyment for the MAINTAINERS.