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The Ripple Effect of SAIC’s Open Studios…

Caitlin Cherry & Jes Standefer

Last night SIFC had our first public outing as part of an extended invitation of an extended invitation.  Parking Space, “a collaborative project initiated by artists Andrew Greene, E.J. Hill and Matthew Schaffer that seeks to create a broader discourse and exchange of ideas within the Chicago arts community”, invited Sixty Inches From Center to participate in Art World Chicago at Sullivan Galleries, a project initiated by John Riepenhoff of Green Gallery in Milwaukee.  We were among a few others, including the Happy Collaborationists.   The thought was to have a public, informal conversation over drinks about the issues lying on that line between almost great and unquestionable greatness–the place where some feel Chicago art rests.

This general idea brought up other topics such as the fight or flight that either keeps artists, curators and educators in Chicago or causes them to flee to other art capitals, or why our art communities are so segregated and void of real collaborative efforts.  At the level of the participants in this discussion, mostly current students and recent grads, these are definitely issues that are constantly at the back of our minds.

Speaking for myself, as an art historian, I was pushed softly, but constantly, to move to New York for grad school or curatorial opportunities, etc.  In the defense of my amazing mentors, you go where the opportunities are and the opportunity to study near people like Thelma Golden, Kellie Jones or Deborah Willis is something that I would jump at in an instant.  But…there’s still something about Chicago.  I see the work being done by the people in my own network of friends and realize that it’s pretty incredible.  And this is only a small fraction of it.  There’s something here, bubbling under the surface in small pockets across the Windy.  SIFC would like to open the sutures and be the facilitators of links that bring together these disparate communities that groups such as Parking Space seek to activate.  This conversation needs to happen more often, and with more people.  How can we do that?  SIFC is willing to collaborate on making that happen.

Meanwhile, SIFC would like to wish the best to SAIC Alum and soon-to-be Chicago Artist At Large, Caitlin Cherry (left), who will be blazing a trail to Columbia University to do great things.  Here she is pictured with Jes Standefer (A Sixty Inches From Center Arts Reporter and SAIC BA/BFA student) at last night’s Open Studio at Sullivan Galleries.

We look forward to seeing what you come up with.  Please keep us posted!

You will be missed!

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