Class Notes

A blue and orange painting of buildings

James Byrne, Long Ago, mixed media digital collage on canvas

James Byrne, Long Ago, mixed media digital collage on canvas


Justin Ortiz (BFA 2020) exhibited his first solo show entitled Pleasure Guttus at Five Car Garage in Los Angeles.

A painting of of disembodied bodies and facial features embracing

Justin Ortiz, Overhang, 2019

Justin Ortiz, Overhang, 2019


Harshitaa Agrawal and Ankita Saigal (BFA 2019) founded spatial design company Studio Rêver based in India and Nepal.

Danny Augustine (BFA 2010) opened a public art studio in the Lincoln Park neighborhood.

Emily Barker (SAIC 2010–15) was highlighted by HuffPost for their art and disability activism. 

Brianna Beck's (MA 2019) illustrations were featured in the first issue of Repave magazine.

Marissa Benedict (MFA 2011) and David Rueter (MFA 2013) have a major work at the São Paulo Bienal. The work has been awarded a Graham Foundation individual grant

Meghan Moe Beitiks (MFA 2013) helped launch Performing Public Health at the Center for Arts in Medicine at the University of Florida: an advisory for safe arts practices, a centering of access for marginalized artists, and a series of conversations about remote cultures. 

Ashley Colangelo (BFA 2010) is featured in the online exhibition Dragon, Crab and Turtle Travels to Italy curated by Katherine Bernhardt (BFA 1998).

Two pieces of fabric with brown, green, and pink lines and squares hanging in front of a blue background

Ashley Colangelo, Squares and Stripes Upside Down and Squares and Stripes, 2021, organic cotton flannel

Ashley Colangelo, Squares and Stripes Upside Down and Squares and Stripes, 2021, organic cotton flannel

Sky Cubacub (BFA 2015) was part of [move semantics]: rules of unfolding at The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts in New York.

Sky Cubacub (BFA 2015), Justus Harris (BA 2013), Justin LeBlanc (MDes 2012), and Andy Slater (BFA 2015) exhibited in Voices Embodied: Extensions curated by Alex Stark (BFA 2016) at OH Art Foundation at the Zhou B Art Center.

Kevin Demery (MFA 2018) has been awarded an Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design two-year post-graduate teaching fellowship at the Kansas City Art Institute.

Shir Ende (BFA 2015) was featured in the University of Illinois Springfield Visual Arts Gallery’s mixed-media exhibition Duet in January and February of 2021.

A gallery with black sculptures on the floor and abstract drawings pinned to a white wall

A gallery view of Shir Ende's Duet at the University of Illinois Springfield

A gallery view of Shir Ende's Duet at the University of Illinois Springfield

Talya Feldman (BFA 2013) presented a solo exhibition titled The violence we have witnessed carries a weight on our hearts at the Jewish Museum in Berlin and exhibited at the Jewish Museum in Frankfurt, Germany, and Odessa Nomadic in Denver, Colorado.

Snow Yunxue Fu (BFA 2011, MFA 2014) was part of the ZAZ Billboard program, which showcased two of her works in New York’s Times Square.

ektor garcia (BFA 2014), Yvette Mayorga (MFA 2016), Nyugen E. Smith (MFA 2016), and Raelis Vasquez (BFA 2018) are featured in El Museo de Barrio’s Estamos Bien – La Trienal 20/21, the museum’s first national large-scale survey of Latinx contemporary art.

Rebecca George (MFA 2012) founded a new artist-run international online gallery: The Art House Gallery

Allison Glenn (MA 2012) made headlines as the guest curator of the Breonna Taylor exhibition at the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky, which included a painting by Amy Sherald.

Katya Grokhovsky’s (MFA 2011) solo exhibition FANTASYLAND at Smack Mellon ran from March to May of 2021. She also recently received a Brooklyn Arts Fund 2021 grant and was featured in Art Fix Daily.

Maggie Hellwig’s (MFA 2015) new book of poetry, Injury, was published by Finishing Line Press.

David Heo (BFA 2014, MFA 2018) has his first solo exhibition with a New York gallery with Demon Time at Tchotchke Gallery.

Walter Hood (MFA 2013) was selected as a 2021 United States Artists Fellow.

Newcity named Hyun Jung Jun (BFA 2014), Li-Ming Hu (MFA 2019), Nereida Patricia (BFA 2020), and Unyimeabasi Udoh (MFA 2019) as 2021 Breakout Artists.

Rodrigo Lara (MFA 2013), Melissa Leandro (BFA 2012, MFA 2017), Alfredo Martinez (MFA 2012), Yvette Mayorga (MFA 2016),and Ramón Mir​anda Beltrán (MFA 2012) were included in DePaul Art Museum’s exhibition LatinXAmerican.

Doah Lee (BFA 2013) exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts’s show Personal Belonging.

Mev Luna (MFA 2017) was hired as assistant professor of contemporary art practice at Parsons School of Design.

Eli Merritt (BFA 2019) exhibited in Mutations at Heaven Gallery. 

Enzo Moscarella (MFA 2014) was selected to participate in a project with From the Ground Up, which trains three individuals for Leadville 100, one of the hardest mountain bike races in the world. The project will be documented on Outside TV.

Rebecca Nakaba (MFA 2017) published her debut short story, “The Mother,” in Joyland magazine on June 28; the story was part of Nakaba’s thesis at SAIC.

Yangbin Park (BFA 2011) was featured in maake's first online exhibition, AFTERIMAGE, curated by Alex Paik. Maake is an independent, artist-run print publication and project space. Park also participated in the Okanagan Print Triennial 2021 at Vernon Public Art Gallery in Vernon, Canada, and his print appeared in Border Crossings magazine, the leading critical art periodical in Canada.

Janelle Rebel (MA 2016) has been selected as a new fellow in Rare Book School’s Society of Fellows in Critical Bibliography.

Ayesha Singh (MFA 2018) presented an online viewing room titled Within Contradiction through Nature Morte (New Delhi, India) in collaboration with Vidisha Aggarwal (BFA 2018). 

Sarah Sulhwa Lee (BFA 2011, MFA 2017) had a solo exhibition of paintings titled The Weight of Night at mh PROJECT nyc.

Anna Mielniczuk's (BFA 2019) work was published in several publications including And Then: Stories About What Happens Next, by Agitator Gallery (2020), as well as Werks, issue three (2021). Her work was shown in numerous shows around the US and Italy, and was on display at the Chicago Public Library for Polish American Heritage Month. 

Perel (MFA 2011) hosted a performance of their ongoing talk show Life (Un)Worthy of Life: A Queer Dis/Crip Talk Show in Chicago.

Sanaz Sohrabi (MFA 2014) had work featured in the International Film Festival Rotterdam

Moki Tantoco (BFA 2014) was recognized for outstanding service in arts and humanity by Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs. 

Norman Teague (MDes 2016) was featured in Curbed about his exhibition From Lawn Road to South Chicago: Progressive Plywood in Times of Change at R & Company in New York. 

Darryl DeAngelo Terrell (MFA 2017) was announced as a Black Rock artist in residence, part of the second cohort of residents of artist Kehinde Wiley's initiative based in Senegal, Africa.

Vincent Uribe’s (BA 2013) Chicago gallery LVL3 was highlighted by the New York Times in the feature “12 Galleries That Aren’t in New York or Even Los Angeles.”

Janna van Hasselt (MFA 2014) won the Zonta Ashburton Female Art Award 2020 and was awarded a solo exhibition at Ashburton Art Gallery. Her solo exhibition Chromasill was on view in March and April of 2021.

Nikko Washington (BFA 2016) designed a limited-edition apparel collection in honor of Black History Month for the Chicago Cubs.

Sarah Wheat (MA 2016) gave a lecture entitled “The Turkis ‘Cosey’ Corner: The American New Woman’s Exotic Imaginary” for the University of Kassel.

Angela Xu (BFA 2018) is pursuing a law degree focusing on environmental law and is currently serving as an executive board member of her university’s American Civil Liberties Union chapter.

A portrait of a young woman posing in front of palm trees

Angela Xu

Angela Xu

The work of Cherrie Yu (MFA 2019) was highlighted in the Newcity article “A Change in Perspective: The Work of Cherrie Yu” and in BOMB magazine.

Rachael Zur (MFA 2019) exhibited in two group exhibitions: What's Different? at SOIL (Seattle, Washington) and Residual Dwelling at Wavelength Space (Chattanooga, Tennessee), which is run by Raquel Mullins (MFA 2018) and also features Laura Drey (MFA 2018). Zur also began a residency with Stay Home Gallery (Paris, Tennessee).

A flat metal sculpture of two hands holding vases pinned to a white wall

Rachael Zur, Posthumous Portrait of a Lamp, 2021, expanded painting, corrugated plastic, plaster gauze, acrylic, acrylic crackle paste, resin, and spray paint

Rachael Zur, Posthumous Portrait of a Lamp, 2021, expanded painting, corrugated plastic, plaster gauze, acrylic, acrylic crackle paste, resin, and spray paint


Jean Bundy (MFA 2007) continues to write for Anchorage Press and is the chair of the Awards Committee for the International Association of Art Critics (AICA International).

Juan William Chávez (MFA 2004), Roberto Lugo (SAIC 2007), and Edra Soto (Post-Bac 1998, MFA 2000) are featured in El Museo de Barrio’s Estamos Bien – La Trienal 20/21, the museum’s first national large-scale survey of Latinx contemporary art.

Julio Chavezmontes (MFA 2009) recently had films in competition at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival: Memoria by Apichatpong Weerasethakul (MFA 1998, HON 2011); Annette by Leos Carax; and Bergman Island by Mia Hansen-Løve.

Mother Cyborg (MFA 2006) was selected as a 2021 United States Artists Fellow.

César Dávila-Irizarry (BFA 2004) composed the theme song for the new Netflix docuseries The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel, produced by Ron Howard and created by Joe Berlinger.

Salvador Dominguez (BFA 2008) was included in DePaul Art Museum’s exhibition LatinXAmerican.

Işıl Eğrikavuk (MA 2005, MFA 2008) completed her PhD at Istanbul Bilgi University with her thesis “Political Protest to an Art Exhibition: Building Interconnectedness through Dialogue-based Art.”

Jill Frank's (MFA 2008) exhibition Celestials was curated by Sean Fader (MFA 2008) and was on view at Antenna gallery in New Orleans.

Narrow rectangles of photographs of eight faces lined up side-by-side with CELESTIALS written on top in orange text

A poster for the exhibition Celestials: Jill Frank curated by Sean Fader

A poster for the exhibition Celestials: Jill Frank curated by Sean Fader

Kadi Franson (BFA 2008) illustrated and voiced characters for Leave No Trace with Randy Ringtail, a cartoon for Junior Rangers at Bryce Canyon National Park.

Idris Goodwin (MFA 2003) was selected as a 2021 United States Artists Fellow. He also participated in the Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville, where his work Ali Summit premiered.

Anna Hovet Dias (BFA 2007) can be seen on a recent episode of HGTV’s House Hunters.

Rashid Johnson (SAIC 2003–04, HON 2018) was featured in the New York Times article “Once Overlooked, Black Abstract Painters Are Finally Given Their Due” and highlighted in MoMA’s online magazine.

Heesun Kim (BFA 2008) developed a virtual project entitled The Grieving Tree, which provides a space to give, mourn, and reflect on loss in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic in a communal space.

Adam Leech (MFA 2000) was selected as the 2020–21 art resident at S.M.A.K. (Ghent, Belgium).

Gwenn-Aël Lynn (MFA 2008) co-edited Olfactory Art and the Political in an Age of Resistance from the Routledge Advances in Art and Visual Studies book series.

Jeff Musser (BFA 2000) is featured in The Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’s A Drawing a Day, a group exhibition documenting the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic through the work of 22 artists.

Erin O’Brien (MFA 2008) was awarded a 2021 grant from the MAP Fund.

B. Ingrid Olson (BFA 2010) and Steffani Jemison (MFA 2009) are featured in the international exhibition The Inconstant World at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

Meg Onli (BFA 2008) was the distinguished alumni lecturer during the spring 2021 season of SAIC's Visiting Artists Program.

Angel Otero (BFA 2007, MFA 2009) was profiled in T: the New York Times Style Magazine, where he tours the church he is using as a studio.

Lindsay Packer (MFA 2002) was featured in a live program titled An Evening with Lindsay Packer as part of MoMA’s Modern Mondays series.

Elise Rasmussen (MFA 2007) has a solo exhibition titled The Year Without Summer at Gallery 44 in Toronto. She was also featured at Dazibao in Montreal with her video A Poetic Truth in a Pathetic Fallacy.

Oli Rodriguez (MFA 2009) exhibited at Iceberg Project with Oli Rodriguez: Papi. The piece surveys Rodriguez’s long-term multimedia project The Papi Project (2010–20), which documents histories of HIV/AIDS in Chicago. 

Joshua Rosenstock (MFA 2004) has been promoted to professor in the Department of Humanities and Arts at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Ursula Sokolowska (BFA 2001) exhibited in Reimagining Hope, an outdoor exhibition that was digitally projected onto the Daniels and Fisher Tower for the Month of Photography Denver festival.

Karen Tam (MFA 2002) curated the group exhibition Whose Chinatown? Examining Chinatown Gazes in Art, Archives, and Collections at Griffin Art Projects.

Wu Tsang (BFA 2004) exhibited a new project at the Guggenheim entitled Anthem. The project is curated by fellow alum and Guggenheim Assistant Curator X Zhu-Nowell (BFA 2014).

Ni’Ja Whitson (MFA 2007) was selected as a 2021 United States Artists Fellow.

Ray Yang (MA 2003) was named the first director of equity, diversity, and inclusion and special initiatives for the National Art Education Association.

Work by Latham Zearfoss (BFA 2008) was presented by Chicago Artists Coalition during EXPO Chicago.  


Alberto Aguilar (BFA 1997) and Dianna Frid (BFA 1991, MFA 2003) were included in DePaul Art Museum’s exhibition LatinXAmerican.

Claire Ashley (MFA 1995) was interviewed to discuss her practice and colorful inflatables for Studio International

Petra Bachmaier (BFA 1999) and Sean Gallero (SAIC 1993–98), part of the artist duo Luftwerk, had an exhibition titled Open Square at the Mattress Factory Museum and Total Space: Landscape Is a Composition at the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich. 

Rolando Chang Barrero (BFA 1990) created an installation at the Consul General of Mexico in Miami for LGBTQ+ Pride Month 2021. 

Yanira Collado (SAIC 1994–97) is featured in El Museo de Barrio’s Estamos Bien – La Trienal 20/21, the museum’s first national large-scale survey of Latinx contemporary art.

william cordova (BFA 1996) was part of Un-Fair 2021, a group show at Sikkema Jenkins & Co (New York). 

Sandra Binion (MFA 1992) published a new book of her collages entitled Memento Mori. Her exhibition Distillé/Searching for Emma opened in May of 2021 at the Centre d’art contemporain de la Matmut near Rouen, France.

Lucia Folk's (MA 1997) business, the Change Agent·cy, was featured in the Nashville Business Journal.

Jeffrey Gibson (BFA 1995) exhibited in the solo exhibition ALL GOOD FIRES at Sikkema Jenkins & Co, New York. 

Pablo Helguera (BFA 1993) presented two works connected to his relationship with Chicago in conversation with Associate Professor Daniel R. Quiles at the DePaul Art Museum.

Richard Hope (MFA 1996) published a review of Desert X in Snezny magazine.

Amy Lawson Smeed (BFA 1997) served as head of animation for Walt Disney Animation Studios’s Raya and the Last Dragon.

Riva Lehrer (SAIC 1993–95) exhibited in Voices Embodied: Extensions curated by Alex Stark (BFA 2016) at OH Art Foundation at the Zhou B Art Center.

Damon Locks (BFA 1991) was featured in the New York Times for his work with the Black Monument Ensemble. 

Laura Mosquera (MFA 1999) participated in the group exhibition Bilingual: Abstract & Figurative at Bruno David Gallery in St. Louis, Missouri.

Claudia Isabel Navas (BFA 1997) created and launched Cultura Orquídea, which brings together multiple disciplines aimed at creation, mutual aid, and human support. She was interviewed about the project on Radio France International. Cultura Orquídea participated in the Venice Art Fair with the exhibition Beyond Borders that features fellow alum Yvette Dostatni (BFA 2015).

Leah Oates (MFA 1997) had work published in the Orenda Arts Journal and The Abstract Elephant Magazine

Shin Yu Pai (MFA 1999) was selected as the new program director at Town Hall Seattle. Pai also had a book of poetry published by Empty Bowl press in August 2021 entitled Virga.

Cecilia Pinto (MFA 1999) was awarded the Clay Reynolds Novella Prize for her book Imagine the Dog.

Angelique Power (MFA 1998) was appointed president and CEO of the Skillman Foundation in Detroit.

Jennifer Reeder (MFA 1996) was selected as a 2021 United States Artists Fellow.

Sean Sauer (BFA 1995) had an exhibition of his paintings at Cerulean Arts in Philadelphia. The exhibition was covered in F Newsmagazine.

Frances Smokowski (MA 1991) produced a video entitled Healing Through Art as part of a series of films that are being screened in primary care waiting rooms across the nation for the next four years. The video also won a Hermes Creative Award.

D. Travers Scott's (BFA 1991) new book Gay Men and Feminist Women in the Fight for Equality: What Did You Do During the Second Wave, Daddy? has recently been published by Peter Lang. After three books of fiction, Scott's second scholarly book researches relationships between two movements across film, alternative press, social networks, and original historiography.

A black and white portrait of a male artist in a white shirt

D. Travers Scott

D. Travers Scott

John Sibley (BFA 1995) wrote A Walk in the Park, a reflection on the artist’s fascination with urban ecology and Washington Park on Chicago's South Side.

Andréa Stanislav (BFA 1990) had a solo exhibition titled Surmatants (Mars Rising), which was an immersive media installation at the Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh.

Swoo Kyung Suh (BFA 1991, MFA 1993) was given the Presidential Service Award by the president of South Korea in recognition of her role as the head of the Space and Planning Committee for the 2019 Association of Southeast Asian Nations Commemorative Summit.

Micheal Swank’s (BFA 1998) studio The Queer Alchemist and Gallery/Residency program are featured in Zonamaco Art Week 2021 online: Latin America's largest and most prestigious art fair. 

Chris Ware (SAIC 1991–93, HON 2019) curated and designed the exhibition Chicago: Where Comics Came to Life (1880–1960) at the Chicago Cultural Center.

Dr. Lee Ann Woolery (MA 1995) is the founder and research director of Citizen Artist, a new participatory science research opportunity employing art-based research methods that empowers citizens from underrepresented groups to have a voice in science and get involved in community-driven issues.


Jude Bartlett (BFA 1989) had a photo feature in Sensi NorCal magazine.

Aimée Beaubien (BFA 1989, MFA 1993) was the recipient of the 2020 San Francisco Camerawork Exhibition Award.

Dr. Laurel Jean Fredrickson’s (MFA 1987) monograph Jean-Jacques Lebel and French Happenings of the 1960s: The Erotics of Revolution was published in March of 2021.

Beatriz Ledesma (MFA and MA 1988) was accepted to the Fulbright Specialist Program.

Carol Neiger (BFA 1980), along with other members of the Jewish Artists Collective Chicago, created Out of the Narrows: The Artists’ Haggadah.

A book cover titled Out of the Narrows: The Artists' Haggadah written above a colorful composite image

Cover of Out of the Narrows

Cover of Out of the Narrows

Mark Van Wagner (BFA 1982) recently had three sculptures selected for the 2020 Long Island Biennial at the Heckscher Museum of Art in Huntington, New York. He is also the founder and director of MARQUEE PROJECTS, a gallery located one hour east of New York City in the village of Bellport.

Two square sculptures—one orange and one gray and white—posed on a white backdrop

Mark Van Wagner, Orange Pond, 2019, natural and pigmented sands on cardboard box, 22 x 25 x 12 inches

Mark Van Wagner, Orange Pond, 2019, natural and pigmented sands on cardboard box, 22 x 25 x 12 inches


Phyllis Bramson (MFA 1973) has a solo exhibition at the Lubeznik Center for the Arts in Michigan City, Indiana.

James Byrne (MFA 1979) had a solo exhibition at the Hopkins Center for the Arts in Hopkins, Minnesota, entitled James Byrne: New Works.

A blue, white, and orange collage of a figure outside of a building

James Byrne, Long Ago, mixed media digital collage on canvas

James Byrne, Long Ago, mixed media digital collage on canvas

Rosalinda Kolb (MFA 1976) is featured in the exhibition Music as Image and Metaphor at the Bartlett Center at the Kentler International Drawing Space.

Turtel Onli (BFA 1978, MA 1989) was featured in the group exhibition Chicago Comics: 1960s to Now at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago as well as the anthology It’s Life As I See It: Black Cartoonists in Chicago, 1940–1980.

A black, white, and pink Future Funk magazine cover with a woman's face on it

Turtel Onli, Future Funk cover, May 1982

Turtel Onli, Future Funk cover, May 1982


Sheila Elias (BFA 1969) had a retrospective at the California Heritage Museum


Richard Hunt (BA 1957) created a monument to Ida B. Wells in the Bronzeville neighborhood, which received notable recognition in the media.

Jim Zver (BFA 1957) digitally projected photography on the Daniels & Fisher Tower as part of the Night Lights Denver during the 2021 Month of Photography Denver festival.

We make a substantial effort to include as many SAIC alum accomplishments in “Class Notes” as possible. Due to the enormous talent and wide reach of the SAIC community, there may be alum updates that were not included. Please click here if you would like to submit your updates, news, and accomplishments for consideration to be included in “Class Notes” in the next issue of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago magazine. Please note, SAIC reserves the right to edit submissions.

In Memoriam

Lucille Ashford (BFA 1953)

Gregory Bae (MFA 2012)

Rodney Baker (BFA 1973)

Leif Brush (MFA 1972)

Diego Cortez (SAIC 1972–73)

Bill Farrell (Professor Emeritus of Ceramics)

Nancy K. Finn (BFA 1990)

Theresa Forgue (SAIC 1944–77)

Roland Ginzel (BFA 1948)

Anton Harazin (BFA 1954)

Richard Heraty (BFA 1960)

Sueko Kawamura (BFA 1964)

Raymond E. McNamara (BA 1950)

Robert E. Meade (BA 1959)

Richard Loving (Faculty Emeritus)

Darrell Moore (SAIC 1978–81)

Jane Parrish (BFA 1950)

Valerie Pell (MFA 2007)

George Rhoads (SAIC 1946–48)

Alan Schaubel (MFA 1974)

Karl Wirsum (BFA 1961, HON 2016)