Join us for talks featuring today's most influential practitioners and thinkers.

Founded in 1868, the Visiting Artists Program is one of the oldest public programs of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Formalized in 1951 with the establishment of an endowed fund by Flora Mayer Witkowsky, the Visiting Artists Program has featured over 1,000 international artists, designers, and scholars representing more than 70 countries through a diverse mix of lectures, screenings, conversations, and readings. The primary mission of the Visiting Artists Program is to educate and foster a greater understanding and appreciation of contemporary art and culture through discourse. 

An invaluable resource for students, the Visiting Artists Program is central to SAIC's interdisciplinary curriculum. In addition to public lectures, visiting artists engage with SAIC students through studio critiques and roundtable discussions, providing direct access to leading experts in their fields. 

This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

Upcoming Events

Check back soon for the fall 2024 schedule.

Eddie Opara. Photo: Jerzy Rose.

Explore Past VAP Events & Recordings

View a playlist of past lectures from 2013–present on YouTube (closed captions available). Please note, in compliance with the speakers' wishes, not all lectures are available for public release. 

SAIC students, faculty, and staff can watch or listen to the full archive of past lecture recordings from 1977–present on Panopto (SAIC login required).

Audience member asking question.
Emil Ferris

Emil Ferris Lecture, Art Institute of Chicago Rubloff Auditorium, February 2020

Jeffrey Gibson

Jeffrey Gibson Lecture, Art Institute of Chicago Rubloff Auditorium, October 2019

Stefan Sagmeister group critique with SAIC's Visual Communication Design Department

Stefan Sagmeister group critique with SAIC's Visual Communication Design Department students at the Chicago Design Museum

Visitor Information


The Art Institute of Chicago
Fullerton Hall
111 S. Michigan Ave.
(entry via Michigan Ave. only)


All lectures are free, non-ticketed, and open to the general public unless otherwise noted.


Public parking is available in the East Monroe Street and Millennium Park garages. The entrance is on Columbus Drive at Monroe and the garage includes accessible parking. Please call 312.616.0600 for lot and rate information. Limited street parking and public transportation are also available. For more information about visitor parking, visit the Art Institute of Chicago's Directions and Parking.


All events will be live captioned by Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) services. The auditorium is wheelchair accessible and hearing assisted devices are available. For additional access requests, including ASL interpretation or audio description, visit

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Contact Us

Visiting Artists Program

37 S. Wabash Ave., suite 1220
Chicago, IL 60603

Phone: 312.899.5185


Andrea Pierro

Program Coordinator

AJ Mendelsohn