The School of the Art Institute of Chicago to Honor Angelique Power, George E. Lewis, and Lee Bul at Its Commencement Ceremony

April 27, 2022

Angelique Power will speak at SAIC's 2022 Commencement.

Angelique Power will speak at SAIC's 2022 Commencement.

CHICAGO—The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), a global leader in art and design education, will welcome alum and celebrated cultural and civic leader Angelique Power (MFA 1998) to deliver the Commencement address on Sunday, May 22, at the Wintrust Arena. Power will receive an honorary doctorate alongside two other celebrated artists: George E. Lewis and Lee Bul.

Power has dedicated her career to racial equity and is currently the chief executive officer of the Skillman Foundation, a nonprofit supporting the youth of Detroit. Composer George E. Lewis’s electronic music, computer-based multimedia installations, and scholarship, which have expanded how music is made and whose contributions are celebrated, have been honored with a MacArthur Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Doris Duke Artist Award, among other accolades. Lee Bul’s wide-ranging multimedia work, which explores the intersections of myth, folklore, and human consciousness, has been featured in collections like the British Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Walker Art Center.

“All of this year’s distinguished honorees exemplify the visionary qualities that leaders in cultural fields must possess,” said SAIC President Elissa Tenny. “They reshape media, disciplines, and structures through their practices, inspiring our graduating artists, designers, and scholars to use their talents and skills in shaping our shared society for the better.” 

Since 1938, SAIC has awarded honorary degrees to an elite group of individuals who have made significant contributions to art, design, and scholarship. Past recipients include Mel Chin, Albert Oehlen, Jeff Koons (SAIC 1975–76), members of the Hairy Who, Tania Bruguera (MFA 2001), Yoko Ono, David Sedaris (BFA 1987), Theaster Gates, Patti Smith, founding members of AFRICOBRA, Marina Abramovic, Philip Glass, and Jeanne Gang.

In addition to remarks from President Elissa Tenny and Power, the event will include messages from faculty, alums, and students, all in honor of the class of 2022.

Angelique Power

Angelique Power [15] is president and chief executive officer of The Skillman Foundation. Born and raised on the South Side of Chicago by a white, Jewish mother who was a Chicago Public School teacher and an African American father who was a Chicago police officer, Power has an intense passion for catalyzing new ways of thinking about racial justice and systems change. Prior to The Skillman Foundation, Power was president of the Chicago-based Field Foundation where she helped the organization center racial justice, changing how and who it funds through its grant-making and investment portfolio. Under her leadership, the Field Foundation funded BIPOC artists, organizers, journalists, and storytellers. Power also co-founded Enrich Chicago, an organization dedicated to anti-racism organizing, and helped to found Just Action, a collaborative focused on helping institutions make their 2020 racial equity statements real. She chairs the board of 6018North and sits on the board of the Julian Grace Foundation. Power has a master of fine arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Michigan. She lives in the Detroit area with her husband Sean and their 12-year-old daughter, Sadie Louisiane.

George E. Lewis

George E. Lewis, Edwin H. Case Professor of American Music at Columbia University, is an American composer, musicologist, computer-installation artist, and trombonist. A member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, Lewis is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy, and a member of the Akademie der Künste Berlin. Other honors include the Doris Duke Artist Award (2019), a Guggenheim Fellowship (2015), and a MacArthur Fellowship (2002). His music is performed worldwide, and he is widely regarded as a pioneer in the creation of improvising computer programs. He is the author of A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music (University of Chicago Press) and co-editor of the two-volume Oxford Handbook of Critical Improvisation Studies. Lewis holds honorary doctorates from the University of Edinburgh, New College of Florida, and Harvard University.

Lee Bul

One of the foremost contemporary artists in Korea today, Lee Bul creates works that reflect her philosophical exploration of 20th-century cultural history. Exploring issues ranging from societal gender roles and the perceived failure of idealism to the relationship between humans and technology, she produces genre-crossing works rooted in critical theory, art history, and themes from science fiction. Lee was academically trained in sculpture but her interest quickly diversified into other techniques including performance art. Through her mesmerizing installations, she investigates how visionary narratives and notions of progress affect the way our world is structured both in the present and future.

School of the Art Institute of Chicago

For more than 155 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, and adults, teens, and kids in our Continuing Studies classes have the opportunity to explore their creative sides, build portfolios, and advance their skills. Notable alumni and faculty include Georgia O’Keeffe, Nick Cave, David Sedaris, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Cynthia Rowley, Michelle Grabner, Richard Hunt, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, and Jeff Koons.

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