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Terra Foundation for American Art Announces more than $300,000 in Grants for New Art Design Chicago Projects

March 29, 2018

Chicago, IL—The Terra Foundation for American Art announced today that following its March board meeting, it has awarded more than $300,000 in grants to support public and academic programs for Art Design Chicago, a wide-ranging initiative spearheaded by the Foundation and developed in partnership with more than 60 cultural organizations to explore the ongoing influence of Chicago’s art and design history. Grants awarded in the latest cycle enhance further the roster of public programs available throughout 2018 as part of Art Design Chicago and contribute to ongoing research into ideas spurred by the initiative that will extend well beyond this calendar year. To date, the Terra Foundation has given 90 grants to 64 organizations, totaling approximately $5.6 million, to support the development of exhibitions, academic and public programs, publications, and a four-part television series for Art Design Chicago, which kicked off in January and will continue through December.

“Encouraging and expanding public engagement with Chicago’s cultural community is a core focus of Art Design Chicago. Barriers to access come in many forms, from financial obstacles to a general sense that cultural experiences can be intimidating or exclusionary,” said Amy Zinck, Executive Vice President of the Terra Foundation. “Our vision, and that of our partners’, is to start breaking down some of these barriers, by providing a wide-range of events on a diversity of subjects; ensuring that programs are taking place throughout the year and across the city’s many neighborhoods; and also helping to make many of those experiences free or affordable. There’s an important slow build with this initiative that takes into account the time necessary for people to engage with opportunities in ways that are meaningful to them.”

Among the organizations receiving grants in this cycle are Chicago Film Archives, Chicago Park District, Edgar Miller Legacy, Glass Curtain Gallery at Columbia College Chicago, Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago, the Museum of Vernacular Arts and Knowledge, Sixty Inches from Center, South Side Projections, and the University of Chicago. A selection of project highlights developed by these grantees follows:

  • The Chicago Park District is organizing a series of public programs and exhibitions, collectively titled “The Art of Flocking: Cultural Stewardship in the Parks,” which will be available to large and diverse audiences from June to August. The series will celebrate Chicago’s legacy of community-based art practice through the lenses of local artists Hector Duarte and Sapphire & Crystals, whose works exemplified community engagement. Events and interactive activities for children as young as three, teens, adults, and families will be featured across more than 20 sites, with the project expected to reach approximately 2,500 participants from at least 40 Chicago zip codes.
  • The Chicago Film Archives will host four film screenings, between September and December 2018, that explore Chicago as a powerhouse of industrial, corporate, educational, and sponsored filmmaking from the late 1940s through the 1970s, and highlight the city’s artists, studios, and interconnected histories of commercial and artistic film production. The screenings will be timed to compliment several of the Art Design Chicago exhibitions, including those at the Block Museum of Art, Chicago Design Museum, and Chicago Cultural Center. South Side Projections will also present a five-part film series, which will examine Chicago’s Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Each program will include a moderated discussion among scholars, artists, and activists who have topical expertise as well as individuals involved in making the films.
  • The Museum of Vernacular Arts and Knowledge, a new non-profit based in Chicago, will lead a program titled “Art Bikes: Chicago’s Innovative Structures of Address.” The project is based on grass-roots models from the late 1960s and 1970s for disseminating information about black art to residents on the South Side of Chicago. Reimagined for today by art scholar and educator Romi Crawford—whose recent research focuses on Chicago’s rich history of DIY-inflected, informal strategies for disseminating art—the program will enlist teams of experienced arts educators with strong ties to Chicago communities to deliver outdoor, in-the-streets lessons on lesser-known Chicago artists and genres, predominantly on the South and West Sides.
  • Sixty Inches From Center, an arts publication and archiving initiative supporting non-mainstream artists, will host a multi-day public festival celebrating archives and special collections. As part of their ongoing Chicago Archives + Artists Project, Sixty will commission three contemporary Chicago artists to create original artworks for debut at the festival, each artist responding to an archival collection with strong ties to Chicago’s artistic legacy. Putting out the call to #GetArchived, the festival will invite the public to participate in preserving artists’ voices including their own.
  • The Glass Curtain Gallery at Columbia College Chicago will establish a collective research project on the integral role of feminism and women-run art activities throughout Chicago’s history, from the late-19th century to the present. The project will include a symposium, the creation of a participatory-research space within an installation environment, the presentation of several related programs documented through a publication, and the development of an archive representing the history of women-run spaces in Chicago.
  • The Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago will host a multi-tiered academic project led by Amy Mooney, professor of art history at Columbia College Chicago, on the under-recognized impact of African American commercial photographers working in Chicago from 1890 through the 1930s. The research project will begin with a public conversation between Mooney and celebrated artist and photography historian Deborah Willis, and also includes a scholarly workshop and two sessions at which the public is invited to share photographs and other pertinent source material. It will ultimately culminate in the creation of an interactive, digital exhibition and publication that will enhance the history of photography.
  • Jane Addams Hull-House Museum will present the exhibition Participatory Arts: Crafting Social Change at Hull-House, launching September 6 on Jane Addams’ birthday, in conjunction with a two-day symposium (October 23–25), “Participatory Arts: The Legacy of Chicago’s Hull-House Artists,” also supported by an Art Design Chicago grant. The exhibition and symposium, along with four weeks of artist workshops, explore the Hull-House as an influential site in early Chicago for visual and performing arts. The exhibition will feature artworks and artifacts from the Museum’s and University of Illinois’ collections that have rarely, if ever, been publicly displayed, and that reveal the early and significant impact of the historic Hull-House Settlement’s art programs on Chicago’s art and design legacy.

These programs, events, and exhibitions join a robust roster of public programs already in development, including a series of Neighborhood Days, which will draw visitors to cultural hubs in Chicago’s West Side, South Side, and North Side. Each Neighborhood Day will include tours of nearby cultural organizations and public art as well as live performances and interactive activities, providing a day’s worth of activity for individuals and families and creating opportunities for people to experience cultural assets in a variety of neighborhoods. Other events include tours of Art Design Chicago exhibitions, local artist studios, and private collections. Among the tours is a series being organized by 6018 North, a nonprofit led by former MCA Chicago curator Tricia Van Eck, that will highlight the work of designer and sculptor Richard Bock (1865–1949), a German immigrant to Chicago. Van Eck will also curate Living Architecture, an exhibition at 6018 North of works by emerging Chicago-based immigrant artists, highlighting the ongoing importance and influence of the immigrant community to the development of art and design movements and innovations in Chicago.

The Terra Foundation is also working in collaboration with Art Design Chicago partners to develop talks and special projects that further engage contemporary practitioners. In partnership with the MCA Chicago and in conjunction with that museum’s Art Design Chicago exhibition on Kenneth Josephson, the Terra Foundation will present a program in May titled “Common Practice: Legacies in Art and Design,” which will explore creative connections across generations and feature late-career artists in conversation with representatives of the next generation of creatives. The Terra Foundation is also partnering with the Chicago Design Museum on the development of a special series of posters created by a team of leading Chicago-based artists and designers, which hearken back to the tradition of Container Corporation’s influential “Great Ideas” advertising campaigns of the 1930s–1950s. The historic series featured designs by some of the foremost artists and graphic designers of the period. The Art Design Chicago series will be presented as part of “Great Ideas of Humanity: Out of the Container,” an exhibition at the Chicago Design Museum opening in April.

A comprehensive roster of currently confirmed Art Design Chicago programs, projects, and exhibitions can be found at

About Art Design Chicago

Art Design Chicago is a spirited celebration of the unique and vital role Chicago plays as America’s crossroads of creativity and commerce. Spearheaded by the Terra Foundation for American Art, this citywide partnership of more than 60 cultural organizations explores Chicago’s art and design legacy and continued impact with more than 25 exhibitions, hundreds of events, as well as the creation of several scholarly publications and a four-part documentary presented throughout 2018.

Support for Art Design Chicago is provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art and Presenting Partner The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation. Additional funding for the initiative is provided by Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Joyce Foundation. The Chicago Community Trust, Leo Burnett, Polk Bros. Foundation, and EXPO CHICAGO are providing in-kind support. #ArtDesignChicago

About Terra Foundation for American Art

Since it was established in 1978, the Terra Foundation for American Art has been one of the leading foundations focused on the historical art of the United States. Headquartered in Chicago, it is committed to fostering exploration, understanding, and enjoyment of American art among national and international audiences. To further cross-cultural dialogue on American art, the foundation supports and collaborates on innovative exhibitions, research, publications, and educational programs. Recognizing the importance of experiencing original works of art firsthand, the foundation also provides opportunities for interaction and study through the presentation and ongoing development of its own art collection in Chicago. Implicit in such activities is the belief that art has the potential both to distinguish cultures and to unite them.