October 31, 2019

Alumni Jeffrey Gibson and Walter Hood named MacArthur Fellows

School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Left: Jeffrey Gibson (BFA 1995). Right: Walter Hood (MFA 2013). Courtesy John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) is honored to announce that SAIC alums Jeffrey Gibson (BFA 1995), interdisciplinary artist and craftsperson, and Walter Hood (MFA 2013), landscape and public artist, were awarded 2019 MacArthur “genius” grants by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The MacArthur Fellowship is a 625,000 USD, no-strings-attached award to extraordinarily talented and creative individuals as an investment in their potential.

According to the MacArthur Foundation, "Gibson, a member of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and of Cherokee descent, is forging a multifarious practice that redresses the exclusion and erasure of indigenous art traditions from the history of Western art as it explores the complexity and fluidity of identity." Gibson gave the Distinguished Alumni Lecture Series at SAIC on October 28, as part of the Visiting Artists Program, and his solo exhibit CAN YOU FEEL IT runs through December 14, at Kavi Gupta gallery in Chicago.

Hood's work "melds architectural and fine arts expertise with a commitment to designing ecologically sustainable public spaces that empower marginalized communities," according to the MacArthur Foundation. Founder of Hood Design Studio, he presents work at this year's Chicago Architecture Biennial.

Since 2015, five SAIC alums and faculty have received this prestigious honor. Wu Tsang (BFA 2004) received the MacArthur grant in 2018, Trevor Paglen (MFA 2002) received the grant in 2017, and faculty member in the School’s Photography department, LaToya Ruby Frazier, received the honor in 2015.

About the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
For more than 150 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 consistently ranking among the top programs 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—as seen through notable alums and faculty such as Michelle Grabner, David Sedaris, Elizabeth Murray, Richard Hunt, Georgia O’Keeffe, Cynthia Rowley, Nick Cave, Jeff Koons, and LeRoy Neiman. For more information, please visit

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