A Statement from President Elissa Tenny on Residential Art Spaces
The following statement from School of the Art Institute of Chicago President Elissa Tenny comes in response to an ordinance proposed by Alderwoman Sophia King which would place restrictions on those seeking to turn their residences into exhibition spaces. SAIC opposes this ordinance.
Chicago is a vibrant ecosystem of art makers and art lovers. This community thrives because of the scores of house museums, artist-run spaces, and apartment galleries. These spaces allow artists to take risks, develop audiences, and—sometimes—establish galleries, museums, and art centers that become cornerstones of the city’s cultural life. For example, the DuSable Museum of African American History, founded in 1961 by School of the Art Institute of Chicago alum Dr. Margaret Burroughs and her husband Charles Gordon Burroughs, was originally housed on the ground floor of their home in Bronzeville. Residential art spaces, whether they are future world-class institutions or short-lived creative outlets, play a critical role in shaping the creative and cultural community in our city. Art and design are most powerful when they are intimately tied to our experiences, and the proposed ordinance threatens artists’ ability to create work for everyone, comment on our cultural and political lives, and make sense of the world around us in their uniquely Chicago tradition. The city should never seek to dampen the creative spirit of its citizens.