RE-TOOL 21, a collaboration between SAIC and the Joyce Foundation was featured in the Chicago Tribune. The program seeks to provide opportunities for traditionally underrepresented groups in the art world, including women, immigrants, people of color, the formerly incarcerated and LGBTQIA, to receive training in art preparation and handling. Adjunct Professor Michael Ryan (Arts Administration and Policy), who is the lead faculty member of RE-TOOL 21, says “When you look around at the different crews around the country, it generally looks like white males. I’m a white male and that needs to change. My goal is to get participants to a stage where I can put them on a crew.”
The participants who attend 14, six-hour sessions are learning a variety of skills to help prepare them for the field. In addition they receive behind-the-scenes tours of local galleries, opportunities to network with art-handling museum professionals, and a $1,500 stipend for the duration of the program through the Joyce Foundation. Tracie Hall director of the Joyce Foundation's culture program, says “I’m excited about growing the list of people that we could be calling to install and prepare artwork. It’s one thing to see the problem, but where the alchemy happens is when you find a partner that is bringing the resources, empathy, and honesty to the situation and we found that in SAIC. In talking with everyone, they’re talking about these are skillsets that they didn’t even think they could acquire, that they could be taught and they have immediate application.”
“I always saw it as something that I wanted to do, but never had a clue about how I would end up doing it,” Matt Ford, 24, of South Shore said. “Without this program, I don’t know how I would have acquired any of these skills at all.” An exhibition of RE-TOOL 21 students’ work is on view at SITE Columbus through Saturday, December 14.