A wide shot of a ceramics studio, featuring students working with pottery wheels and other tools.

Art Connects Us, Volume 19

At the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), our community has responded to the current moment as true citizen artists.

Their work demonstrates a belief in our interconnectedness as people and our shared responsibility to make positive change. We know headlines may be overwhelming these days, so below you’ll find good news highlighting the incredible efforts of SAIC’s artists and designers to forge and deepen connections with our communities.

We hope it inspires you for the week ahead.

Volume 1
Volume 2
Volume 3
Volume 4
Volume 5
Volume 6
Volume 7
Volume 8
Volume 9
Volume 10
Volume 11
Volume 12
Volume 13
Volume 14
Volume 15
Volume 16
Volume 17
Volume 18

Didier William, We Owe Black Women Everything, 2020. Image courtesy of the artist and Blum & Poe

Protest Sign Auction Raises Money for the Families of Black Women Killed by the Police
Several SAIC community members, including Rashid Johnson (SAIC 2003–04, HON 2018) and Marley Freeman (BFA 2008), contributed to Show Me the Signs, a live auction and exhibition held to benefit the families of Black women killed by the police. Over 100 artists from across disciplines designed powerful pieces in the form of protest signs, and all of the proceeds went to the African American Policy Forum #SayHerName Mothers Network. read more

Benny Andrews, Portrait of the Portrait Painter, 1987. Image courtesy of Benny Andrews Estate/Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS) and Michael Rosenfeld Gallery

The New York Times Explores the Power of Alum Benny Andrews’s Portraits
In a review of a recent exhibition at the Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, the New York Times writes about alum Benny Andrews’s (BFA 1958) portraits. His paintings portray subjects that often weren’t painted, such as janitors, blacksmiths, and those without homes, as well as figures depicting conditions of marginalization. “He portrayed his world and his values,” the review stated. “Which may be the most you can ask of any artist.” read more

Ethel Peterson, The River Gihon, 1999, oil on canvas, 22 x 28 inches. Image courtesy of Soumya Netrabile

Alum Soumya Netrabile Reflects on the Changing Nature of Art During a Pandemic
As part of a series of articles for Hyperallergic where artists reflect on their collections, alum Soumya Netrabile (BFA 1995) discussed a painting by alum Ethel Peterson (BFA 1994) and how it’s shifted during life under stay-at-home orders. “Now I look at this messy painting as a reflection of our messy world and take comfort in one thing that can create a thread through time—stories,” Netrabile shared. read more

Girls outside of a brick building
A parklet built by Girls Garage. Photo by Bryan Meltz

Alum Emily Pilloton’s Nonprofit Empowers Girls Through Design
Forbes interviewed alum Emily Pilloton (MA 2005) about her nonprofit Girls Garage, which teaches program participants woodworking, metal-working, printmaking, art, and design skills. All classes are free and designed to empower through power tools. “My female students had tools taken from them and weren’t taken seriously,” Pilloton shared. “Girls Garage was founded in response to that.” read more