Art Design Chicago to Take Spotlight in 2018

Joy Bivins of the Chicago History Museum discusses an exhibit that will be installed as part of the new Art Design Chicago initiative. (Maya Miller / Chicago Tonight)Joy Bivins of the Chicago History Museum discusses an exhibit that will be installed as part of the new Art Design Chicago initiative. (Maya Miller / Chicago Tonight)

A new art initiative in Chicago will include dozens of exhibitions and hundreds of public programs in 2018.

The Terra Foundation for American Art, in partnership with the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, announced Tuesday the launch of Art Design Chicago, a $6 million-plus program to elevate Chicago’s profile in the art world.

“We’re here today to announce this major yearlong initiative that will explore and celebrate Chicago’s art and design legacy,” said Elizabeth Glassman, president and CEO of the Terra Foundation.

The exhibitions will feature the work of Chicago muralists, photographers, sculptors and others who were active in the city’s art and design scene from the Great Fire of 1871 to the close of the 20th century. 

  • Ken Josephson's "Chicago, 1972." (Courtesy of the Terra Foundation for American Art)

    Ken Josephson's "Chicago, 1972." (Courtesy of the Terra Foundation for American Art)

  • Dorothy and Otis Shephard, Cubs Scorecard, 1953. (Courtesy of the Terra Foundation for American Art)

    Dorothy and Otis Shephard, Cubs Scorecard, 1953. (Courtesy of the Terra Foundation for American Art)

  • Yasuhiro Ishimoto, "Untitled, Chicago (El Over River)" 1950. (Courtesy of the Terra Foundation for American Art)

    Yasuhiro Ishimoto, "Untitled, Chicago (El Over River)" 1950. (Courtesy of the Terra Foundation for American Art)

A number of the exhibitions are expected to travel nationally and internationally, according to Glassman. “Charles White: A Retrospective,” highlighting the work of the Chicago-based artist who explored race and social divides, is scheduled to travel to Los Angeles following a three-month showcase at the Art Institute of Chicago in summer 2018.  

“We believe that art has the power to distinguish cultures and unite them,” Glassman said. The traveling exhibits will allow the city “to be represented as it should be around the country,” she added.

The program will also include the publication of scholarly articles on the city’s art scene as well as a four-part documentary series. Kenneth Josephson, Karl Wirsum and Lee Godie are among scores of artists who will be highlighted.

The impetus for the initiative came amid growing calls from Chicago artists and industry leaders to spotlight local work, Glassman explained. It also stemmed from the current social climate in the U.S. 

“We could not think of a better moment to launch this initiative, when reconnecting with who and what comprises the American story is so essential and immediate,” Glassman said.


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