The School of the Art Institute of Chicago Opens New Public Art Gallery in the Loop

October 20, 2020

CHICAGO—The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), a global leader in art and design education, announced the opening of a vibrant public art gallery in Chicago’s Loop. Chicagoans will have a new place to see boundary-pushing art from up-and-coming and established artists and designers when SAIC Galleries opens to the public on October 24 with Launch, the galleries’ inaugural exhibition.

The addition of the new SAIC Galleries expands the art and design college’s downtown campus, which includes cutting-edge facilities, classrooms, and residence halls for more than 3,600 undergraduate and graduate students across 12 buildings in the Loop. Located at 33 East Washington Street, SAIC Galleries is part of SAIC’s newly opened gallery, studio, and office space. The SAIC Galleries provides exhibition space for annual student and faculty shows, as well as special exhibitions featuring national and international artists, and offers street-level public access. 

“Chicago has always been SAIC’s campus, and the School’s diverse community of makers and scholars is intrinsically linked to the dynamic communities of our city,” said Trevor Martin, SAIC’s executive director of exhibitions. “By giving Chicagoans an opportunity to make direct connections with the creatives and problem solvers of the future, the SAIC Galleries will further deepen the School’s connection with the city, stimulating a dialogue around art and design that reaches far beyond the classroom walls.”

33 East Washington
After 12 years in the Sullivan Center at 33 South State Street, SAIC moved its main gallery and exhibition space to a new location at 33 East Washington Street. Located at the corner of Wabash Avenue and Washington Street, the nearly 62,000 square-foot facility, with gallery and studio space, provides a significant upgrade over SAIC’s existing facilities in the Sullivan Center. The new four-story space boasts 60 graduate studios; three critique spaces; a lounge and flexible work area; a student workshop; and 26,000 square feet over three floors solely dedicated to exhibitions. With energy-efficient lighting, a brand-new ventilation system, and resurfaced flooring from the building’s 106-year-old floor, the new building is a reflection of SAIC’s mission to create a sustainable future.

SAIC Galleries’ Inaugural Season
The opening of SAIC Galleries is the next frontier in the legacy of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, which has helped shape the careers and cultural contributions of artists and designers for more than 150 years.

Launch: Through November 24
The Launch exhibition, running through November 24, will feature work by 66 Master of Fine Arts and Master of Design alums from the SAIC class of 2020. Quite different in form and scope than a standard thesis exhibition, this show demonstrates the artists’ and designers’ resilience and the adaptability of their practices in this moment of prolonged upheaval and uncertainty.

Fall Undergraduate Exhibition: November 6–19
The Fall Undergraduate Exhibition will showcase the innovative, interdisciplinary work of more than 70 SAIC students completing undergraduate degrees this fall. The exhibition will be on display from November 6 to 19.

New Blood XIV: November 9, 11, and 13
New Blood XIV, SAIC’s annual student festival of performance, live art, and time-based work, will take a new form with performances staged in the public-facing, street-level windows of both the SAIC Galleries and the School’s Sharp Building at 37 South Wabash Avenue. The reimagined festival will take place on November 9, 11, and 13.

Visiting SAIC Galleries
SAIC Galleries welcomes the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) community and members of the public to visit in person by appointment only. SAIC is following all guidelines from the Chicago Department of Public Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other local and national health authorities. We have practices in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19:

  • In order to manage occupancy, we ask that you make a reservation in advance for a timed entry.
  • To protect the health of those both on and off campus, all visitors to SAIC Galleries, including SAIC students, faculty, and staff; families and friends of exhibiting artists; and the general public, must abide by our shared responsibilities, which require everyone on SAIC’s campus to monitor their health, maintain physical distance, and practice good hygiene.
  • Face coverings are required for your entire visit.
  • A six-foot distance must be maintained from those not part of your visiting group.
  • Anyone feeling unwell should postpone their visit for another time.

Members of the public can visit SAIC Galleries every Saturday from October 24–November 21 from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Additionally, the SAIC Galleries will be open on Sunday, November 8, and Sunday, November 15, during the run of SAIC’s Undergraduate Exhibition.

As a reminder, If you are traveling from a state identified on the Chicago Travel Quarantine List, please respect the 14-day quarantine period. Visitors who have not quarantined will not be admitted.

About SAIC Galleries
SAIC Galleries is a vibrant, public art space that features the boundary-pushing work of emerging and established contemporary artists and designers. Opened in the fall of 2020, SAIC Galleries is part of a four-story gallery and studio space at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s (SAIC) 33 Building, located in the heart of Chicago’s Loop at 33 East Washington Street. SAIC Galleries offers 26,000 square feet of exhibition space for annual student and faculty shows, as well as special exhibitions featuring national and international artists, and is open to the public by appointment.

School of the Art Institute of Chicago
For more than 150 years, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) has been a leader in educating the world’s most influential artists, designers​, and scholars. Located in downtown Chicago with a fine arts graduate program ranked number two in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, SAIC provides an interdisciplinary approach to art and design as well as world-class resources, including the Art Institute of Chicago museum, on-campus galleries​, and state-of-the-art facilities. SAIC’s undergraduate, graduate​, and post-baccalaureate students have the freedom to take risks and create the bold ideas that transform Chicago and the world—as seen through notable alumni and faculty such as Michelle Grabner, David Sedaris, Elizabeth Murray, Richard Hunt, Georgia O’Keeffe, Cynthia Rowley, Nick Cave, Jeff Koons, and LeRoy Neiman.

Press Contact
Rowan Beaird