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Announcement
December 10, 2021

Toward an Anti-Racist Art Ecosystem

School of the Art Institute of Chicago

From left: Allison Glenn, Brendan Fernandes, Deana Haggag, Nancy Marie Mithlo, and Sampada Aranke.

This fall, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) hosted the second of a three-part series of discussions aiming to identify ways of making the art and design world more inclusive and equitable. This discussion, part of the School’s Toward an Anti-Racist Art Ecosystem conference series, shifted the dialogue from a local to a national perspective and featured a panel of nationally renowned experts: artist Brendan Fernandes; Allison Glenn, senior curator and director of public art at Contemporary Arts Museum Houston; University of California Los Angeles Professor Nancy Marie Mithlo; and Deana Haggag, program officer in arts and culture at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; and was moderated by SAIC Assistant Professor Sampada Aranke.

“These are precisely the kinds of conversations we should be having––ones generated by cultural leaders who work tirelessly to make sure art is at the center of advances for more egalitarian forms of community and society,” said Aranke. “Our goal with this conversation was to offer key and candid insights about the inner workings of institutional work, what kinds of practices inspire us, and where and how we source our energy to keep going, and I am so incredibly excited to be a part of this project.”

Following the first panel discussion that focused on Chicago’s history of segregation within the arts community, the second installment of this conference series focused on the national impact of racism and segregation in the arts. The conversation explored bright spots in anti-racist work that can serve as guiding lights and how we can work together to remove barriers to entry for Black, Indigenous, and people of color. Visit here to watch the full event.

This series of community dialogues is among the direct outgrowths of the work being done by SAIC’s Anti-Racism Committee, formed in the summer of 2020 to support and extend the work of the School’s existing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts and catalyze DEI and anti-racist work throughout all areas of SAIC.

Co-chaired by Interim Dean of Graduate Studies Delinda Collier and Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Academic Affairs Jefferson Pinder, SAIC’s Anti-Racism Committee’s charge includes identifying and implementing initiatives that will bring meaningful change in the short term as well as establishing a comprehensive, long-range plan to substantially improve the School’s operations and the lived experience of all of its community members.

The Toward an Anti-Racist Art Ecosystem conference series is generously supported by Hindman Auctions. It is free and open to the public. The final event in the series will take place in spring 2022 and will feature internationally-based leaders in the arts. To be notified of future event details, join SAIC’s Public Events mailing list.

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. For more information, please visit our website.

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