Sixty Inches From Center Mission
Sixty Inches From Center (SIFC) is a 501(c)3 organization that documents and engages the visual arts in Chicago. We use video, audio, photography, editorial essays, and interviews to document artists and arts events that exist outside of the city’s mainstream cultural institutions. By doing so, we capture the innovative work of artists and communities that might otherwise be missed by traditional art historical narratives.
This documentary material is then featured on our Chicago Arts Archive project website, ensuring that it is available both as an educational resource and as a platform to support the work of local artists. Through our partnership with the Harold Washington Library’s Chicago Artists Archive, we are including our content in their extensive physical catalog of artists files to help them connect with and document 21st century artists.
Through our Collective Project, we seek to establish programming and partnerships that will allow us to use resource sharing as a way to increase access to and engagement with the arts in Chicago.
The name Sixty Inches From Center stems from two things. First, it is a curatorial standard for hanging artwork. Second, it was the name of the 2010 exhibition at Columbia College Chicago highlighting contemporary street art in Chicago, which was curated by Nicolette Michele Caldwell and Casey Champion. We decided to use the name for our organization because it seemed appropriate when thinking of the work we choose to cover–art, practices and people creating work outside of the central institutions in Chicago.
What We Document
Sixty Inches From Center does not give assignments to our writers. We give them the freedom to select the artists, spaces, organizations, curators and events they would like to cover, allowing them to focus on their own personal interests. All of us at Sixty love art, but there are a wide range of interests that bring each of us to the field. We believe that allowing our writers the liberty to cover the art that they love is beneficial in several ways–the biggest two reasons being that the writer gets to stay true to their own passions and also the art that is covered is done so by someone who is genuinely interested in it.
Tempestt Hazel is an independent curator, writer, arts advocate and co-founder of Sixty Inches From Center.
She is currently the Professional Development Manager at the Chicago Artists Coalition where she works to develop programming that is relevant to local artists and will help them build successful careers by connecting them with industry and business experts. Prior to joining the CAC, she worked at the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events as the Marketing and Outreach Coordinator for Chicago Artists Resource, coordinator of the Creative Chicago Expo and on the team for Chicago Artists Month, the city-wide celebration of visual arts in Chicago that happens each October. She also serves on the curatorial committee for The SUB-MISSION, a project space of The Mission Projects, and is on the host committee for the Leadership Advisory Committee at the Art Institute of Chicago. Recent independent projects include The Future’s Past, a curatorial research project and series of public installations which is the product of a fellowship with the Black Metropolis Research Consortium, Locality, the Chicago Artists Coalition’s Hatch Residency exhibition, and The Tipping Point of Me and We, the Contemporary Arts Council‘s 2012 exhibition. Upcoming projects include exhibitions at Terrain Exhibitions, The Salon Series Projects and South Side Community Art Center.
Jennifer Patiño Cervantes is a freelance writer, poet, essayist and curator. She graduated from Columbia College with a degree in Art History and double minors in Poetry and Latino/Hispanic Studies. She is a lover of Chicago’s Visual Arts and Literary communities and lives to explore the links between them.
Jennifer is dedicated to using her skills as a writer and editor to advocate for and promote the arts. She is especially passionate on issues of social class and access to the arts. Her contributions to the archive usually center around the intersections of politics, protest, and art. Jennifer began at Sixty as an Editor and is now currently the Director of Development for the organization.
She recently curated a poetry show for the Palabra Pura Reading Series at the Guild Complex called “Rooster Footed Devils,” which explored and rebelled against the notions of Latino identities imposed on the self by others. Jennifer has written and edited for the Life Style section of Gozamos on diverse topics such as health and sexuality and literature. She also contributed an essay to the catalogue for The Tipping Point of Me and We.
Nicolette Michelle Caldwell is co-founder and co-executive director of Sixty Inches From Cener. Aside from her work with the organization, Nicolette does independent art consulting and makes marketing and communication magic for the visual art community.
Since studying art history at Columbia College Chicago, her interests in art have heavily gravitated towards investigating public art in Chicago, which began with a curatorial project entitled, Sixty Inches From Center: Contemporary Graffiti in Chicago, an exhibition highlighting artwork by Chicago-based artists that also happen to create street art. Currently, Nicolette is working on a curatorial endeavor with Anna Cerniglia of Johalla Projects, which will manifest as a series of public wall commissions in Chicago. Her contributions to The Chicago Arts Archive are centered around the Chicago street and graffiti art community and she is also looking for new ways to forge relationships outside of Chicago in hopes to bring the focus to the artists working here.
Her efforts are also spent working on a variety of other Chicago-based projects. In November 2011 Nicolette became Associate Board Member at Links Hall and is currently serving as co-chair, assisting with the development of the 2012 Annual THAW Fundraiser. Also in November 2011, she curated an exhibition entitled The Wonder of It All, featuring artwork by Sarah Belknap and Joseph Belknap at The MDW Fair 2011 Fall Showcase. Nicolette has also done a generous amount of volunteer work for the Illinois Arts Alliance conducting field research for the Economic Impact Analysis of Art and Culture.
Zachary Johnson grew up in an apartment once inhabited by Mary Todd Lincoln in a town with an affection for windmills. In art making, art writing, and curating, he strives to make art accessible to a wider audience of people. Currently he is an English teacher in Amakusa, Japan, where he works to bring the dynamic artist spirit he witnessed in Chicago to his rural town. He contributes to SIFC as Content Editor and writer to lend his support to Chicago’s art community.
Toby zur Loye grew up in Indiana, studying art history and painting at DePauw University before receiving his MA in art history at the University of Oregon. He recently moved from Portland, Oregon to Chicago and completed a prior-degree program at SAIC, receiving his BFA over the summer. In addition to an active painting practice and various ongoing research / writing projects (largely developed from his graduate thesis on Surrealist automatic theory), Toby is a diehard Colts fan, soccer player / enthusiast, ski bum, and Zelda nerd. While still missing the Oregon forests and coast, he loves Chicago and is thrilled to be working with SIFC as he continues to explore middle America’s thriving art culture.
Reuben Westmaas was born in Des Moines and grew up in Milwaukee, far away from his hundreds upon hundreds of Michigander cousins. He studied Art in college for one semester before realizing he enjoyed writing about it far more than he enjoyed making it. Since then, he’s learned that writing is actually considered an art in some circles. After earning his Bachelors in Philosophy at the University of Vermont, Reuben moved to Chicago in part because he missed the Midwest and in part because he wanted to live in a big city, and worked with middle- and high-schoolers through the Chicago Public Library for about four years. Today he writes for his day job, and practices being a snob about scotch whisky at night.
Caitlin Bruce grew up in New York City, learning about public art by working for a non-profit outdoor theater group, Moose Hall Theater Company. After moving to Chicago for college and then grad school, she stumbled into the Chicago public art scene and has been held in thrall ever since, documenting muralism and graffiti. She is currently completing her PhD in Communication Studies at Northwestern University. Caitlin joined SIFC to widen her knowledge of the Chicago arts scene and to share her passion for public art with a wider audience.
Kate Korroch (pronounced “core-rock”) is an artist, critic, curator, and educator with an MA in Visual and Critical Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Korroch was reared a short distance from the historic Jamestown Settlement in Williamsburg, Virginia. Since leaving Virginia in the early 2000′s Korroch has lived in the Midwest, Europe, and Asia. Her practice focuses on the body, gender, and contemporary art by artists from South Korea. Korroch joined Sixty to investigate and connect with Chicago’s global arts community and to get to know the lovely people at Sixty.
Colleen Kujawa has worked on the copy desk for a Northwest Indiana daily newspaper since 2006 and is quite happy to be language’s mistress. She is bedazzled by people who are skilled at harnessing the enlightening power of words, images or sounds. She is glad life is strange, sometimes very sad, joyful, demanding and populated by unassumingly bold and loving people because she would not want to live in a sitcom world. She is writing for SIFC to expand her knowledge of the arts and support them as best as she can.
Jenny Lam is an independent curator, freelance writer, artist agent, poet, painter, illustrator, sculptor, troublemaker, and all-around nerd. She graduated from Columbia University in the City of New York, where she earned a BA in studio art, crammed a thousand drunken college kids into a Brooklyn bathhouse for an underground music and multimedia festival, ran an art gallery that prided itself in audience-participatory public projectile painting happenings, and tried to not get arrested while tagging. She likes to think she’s a part of SIFC because she’s exactly sixty inches tall.
Andrew Mortazavi writes fiction and nonfiction. He is the recipient of an Iowa Review Award, the Beverly Rogers Fellowship from the University of Arizona MFA program, and the Carol Houck Smith Fellowship from the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing. He has taught creative writing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Southern Methodist University, Texas Woman’s University, the University of Arizona, and elsewhere.
Sophia Nahli was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. Initially studying theatre she is now a photographer and arts educator based in Chicago. Using photography and video as a method of educating and inspiring youth she is a teaching artist with Marwen and a photography instructor with Street Level Youth Media. Continuing her education at Columbia College Chicago, she is a recipient of the 2013 Albert P. Weisman Award for her long term photographic project on youth violence. Sophia is very happy to call herself a SIFC photographer and writer! In love with the magic of visual storytelling, she is thrilled to have the opportunity to document Chicago art.
Sierra Nicole Rhoden grew up in Aiken, South Carolina. She studied art history at Winthrop University. Upon moving to Chicago in 2008, she found that what the city lacked in decent sweet tea and warm weather, it made up for with an overwhelmingly bustling arts community. She hopes to learn more about local artists by writing for Sixty. She also enjoys drawing, comics, ballet, reading and watching Netflix, and is currently working toward her M.A. in New Arts Journalism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Lydia Shepard was born and raised in a small industrial town near a stinky lake in Wisconsin. After a few years of living in New England, and earning a BA in English from the University of Vermont, she moved to Chicago and quickly fell in love with the art scene. She joined SIFC to become better acquainted with the city of Chicago, as well as its art. Her favorite part about being a writer for SIFC is all of the amazingly talented artists and wonderful people she has had the privilege to meet.
Jes Standefer is a recent graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she studied Art History and Fiber Material Studies. Aside from being a very proud Texan, Jes can also give you a run down of the history of the CTA, teach you how to two step and provide random BCS stats. Jes joined SIFC to become more connected to the Chicago art scene.
Brian Willard is a painter and writer with a BFA from Columbia College Chicago. When he’s not painting or researching depictions of gender in art, Willard is usually busy reading up on the Scottish Highlands and body modification. Writing for SIFC, Willard hopes to shift the public’s perspective on classical painting and hierarchy in the contemporary art scene.
Advisory Board Members
Dawoud Bey - Photographer, writer, curator and educator at Columbia College Chicago
Bob Blandford – Associate Professor of Visual Arts Management at Columbia College Chicago
Jim Duignan - Founder and Director of The Stockyard Institute & educator at DePaul University
Don Hall - Events Coordinator for WBEZ
Andrew Huff - Founder of Gaper’s Block
Faheem Majeed - Artist and Director of Undergraduate Studies at UIC Department of Art & Architecture
Eric May - Director of Roots and Culture Contemporary Art Center
Crystal Pernell - Community Service Advisor for The University of Chicago
Abraham Ritchie - Communications & Social Media at MCA Chicago, Former Editor of ArtSlant Chicago
Andrew Roddewig – CFO of Clarion New Media
Angelique Williams-Power - Senior Program Officer, Culture at The Joyce Foundation
Lindsey Anderson grew up in Granville, Ohio. She attended Colby College, in Waterville, Maine, and graduated with a degree in Art History in 2010. Lindsey is new to Chicago, and she joined SIFC to better acquaint herself with the city’s lively arts community. She currently works full-time as freelance writer and part-time as a performer in a Lord of the Rings themed burlesque show creatively titled The Fellowship of the Boobs.
Pat Elifritz is a writer, exhibition-maker and vibraphonist living in Chicago. He is completing an undergraduate degree in Art History from Columbia College Chicago, developing research on contemporary curatorial practice. He works for the Museum of Contemporary Photography, and contributes research to the Summer Forum for Inquiry + Exchange, a text-based residency program. He writes exhibition reviews for Newcity and SIFC. For Sixty, he intends to promote a style of art writing which is responsive while remaining close to the source of content.
Ray Figlewski is a writer, poet, editor, and a tosser of clay. The East Coast is his native land but he migrated to the Windy city to attend DePaul University and to see what life has to offer in the central time zone. His path crossed with SIFC in a shared appreciation for all that sprouts from the creative conscious and to broaden his grasp of the English language.
Margaret Hankel is a Champaign-Urbana native who has lived in Chicago since 2006. A graduate of Columbia College, she holds a degree in Art History and a minor in Photography. She currently freelances in Chicago.
Danielle Jackson is a writer and curator, born and raised in Chicago. After studying sculpture and architecture at Illinois State University, Danielle returned to Chicago and started lending her savvy interviewing skills and art knowledge to capturing the words and ideas of a wide range of Chicago artists. As of fall 2012, Danielle has been pursuing a graduate degree in curatorial studies at California College of the Arts.
Miles Johnson returned to Chicago after four years of art school in Savannah, GA, quickly joining up with Sixty in order to learn more about all that the Chicago art scene had to offer. As a lover of comics, Miles is particularly interested in unearthing all of the great cartoonists that call the Windy City home. In September 2011, Miles moved to Minneapolis to teach computer literacy as a member of AmeriCorps, and serves a three year board position with Altered Esthetics Gallery as their artist relations coordinator.
Amanda Mead hails from Sonoma, California where she grew up with vineyards and salt-water. She made the move to the Midwest four years ago to attend Beloit College. Having just graduated in May with a degree in creative writing and art history, she is new to Chicago. She joined SIFC to exercise the fusion of her interests – writing and art – and to better acquaint herself with what this grand city has to offer.
Jennifer Nalbantyan moved to Chicago in November 2009 from Atlanta, GA. She has enjoyed learning about the art scene(s) in Chicago and developing her own art practice. Jennifer is currently a resident artist with the Chicago Art Department. Considering the possibility of multiple peripheries within Chicago, she is interested in making sense of artists and their art wherever possible and is excited to be contributing to SIFC in this capacity. Now in the graduate school at UIC, Jennifer will act as an occasional contributor to Sixty.
Joseph Scapellato was born in the suburbs of Chicago and earned his MFA in Fiction at New Mexico State University. He reads (most things), writes (fiction), and teaches (English and Creative Writing as an adjunct professor at Susquehanna University and Bucknell University). His work appears/is forthcoming in The Kenyon Review Online, Post Road, Gulf Coast, Unsaid, the Collagist, and others. He’s thrilled to be in Chicago contributing to SIFC and hopes that his contributions, like his homemade sauerkraut, will ferment well with time. While he moved out east, we still consider him a part of the Sixty team.
Andrea Sparr-Jaswa is a bleeding heart for small, furry creatures and dilapidated buildings. She experiences a certain romantic nostalgia in her travels to destinations rich in architectural history – particularly after taking in local cuisines and drinking customs. Knowing Chicago was one of the two cities from which she never wanted to return home (and Paris could wait), she made the move and completed her degree in the Art History at Columbia College. Andrea is also a strong advocate for the development of art and culture in Logan Square where she resides and coordinated her curatorial debut at the 2011 Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival.
Gan Uyeda calls Honolulu his home, yet now happily finds himself in the city of Chicago. A recent graduate of Brown University, he is pursuing dual master’s degrees in modern art history & theory and art administration & policy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Through SIFC, he hopes to share his explorations of art in Chicago while experimenting with different ways of documenting artistic practice.