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

Take Action for Residential Art Spaces

Dear SAIC Community,

I’m writing to you this afternoon to share news of a proposed ordinance that would significantly impact the ability to show work publicly in houses and apartments in the city. The recently proposed zoning amendment would place restrictions on those seeking to turn their residences into exhibition spaces. You can learn more about the amendment here. The School of the Art Institute of Chicago opposes this ordinance, and I want to let you know what actions the School is taking, as well as the actions you can take, to make our voices heard before the amendment is voted on tomorrow.

In addition to releasing a public statement, I have written a letter to my alderperson, Alderman of the 44th Ward and Chair of the Committee on Zoning, Landmarks, and Budget Standards Tom Tunney, to express my opposition to this ordinance. I firmly believe that these spaces—whether they are long-term preservers of Chicago’s legacy, future world-class institutions, or short-lived creative outlets—are essential to the creative life of our city, and we should seek to support, not impede, them. 

The zoning amendment is scheduled to come before the committee tomorrow, March 23. If you wish to oppose this effort as well, I encourage you to reach out to your alderperson before they meet tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. Together, we can reject policy that threatens the cultural spaces that are essential to Chicago’s thriving community of artists, designers, and scholars.

Elissa Tenny