In Anticipation of Belonging

July 5–August 18, 2016

Odyssey Institute Instructor, Audrey Petty

Top: Sabrina Huchthausen painting the Input/Output wall. Above: Odyssey Institute Instructor, Audrey Petty, reading the poem, "We Wear the Mask" by Paul Laurence Dunbar

How do we create spaces of belonging?

This summer, the Smart Museum will collaborate with the Arts + Public Life's Teen Arts Council, Odyssey Institute Program, Red Line Service, Stockyard Institute, and other cultural and community partners to think critically and creatively about what it means to belong.

In Anticipation of Belonging occupies the Richard and Mary L. Gray gallery in the middle of the Smart Museum. During an initial summit, the partners will use art in the Museum’s collection to spark conversation about the aesthetic, social, and political conditions that either encourage belonging or propagate exclusion. In turn, the partners will investigate how cultural organizations are situated within this dialogue, while also designing plans to physically transform the Smart’s galleries into an idealized space of belonging.

Following the summit each partner will choose and develop their own path of investigation: engaging in conversation, hosting public events, collaborating on art projects, and connecting objects in the Smart’s collection to their own interests and experiences with belonging.

This experimental program anticipates Conversations with the Collection: Belonging, a yearlong project that explores ideas of belonging through objects from across cultures and eras on display throughout the Smart Museum’s collection galleries. It also builds upon a number of projects from the Smart’s recent past, like the arts-based learning space GalleryX, our Interpreter in Residence program, and the conversations around hospitality catalyzed by Feast: Radical Hospitality in Contemporary Art.

Select partner-led discussions, projects, get-togethers, and other events will be open to all (see calendar below, updated throughout the summer).

About our anchor partners

Four anchor partners will have overlapping residencies. Each of these groups is engaged with issues of belonging beyond the Museum’s walls.

Arts + Public Life Teen Arts Council

The Teen Arts Council is a group of 10-15 student leaders who collaborate with Arts + Public Life to develop creative skills, leadership experience, and opportunities for their peers to engage with the arts. The Council members work with university staff and local partners to develop projects at the intersection of arts administration and community engagement. Led by Arts + Public Life at the University of Chicago, this and other in-depth programs cultivate teens’ creativity, social development, and leadership, while inspiring them to make a positive difference in their community through the arts. Teens work alongside professionals to develop original work using real-world processes. All program areas—whether design/build, arts/culture administration, or performance—have a community stewardship and civic engagement focus.Thanks in part to our partnership with After School Matters, all programs are free, and participants are eligible to earn a monetary award.

Odyssey Institute Program

A core program of Illinois Humanities, Odyssey Institute Program, a Bard College Clemente Course in the Humanities, provides college-level instruction in the humanities through seminars led by professors from local colleges and universities for high school students from South Side, neighborhood schools. Students who successfully complete the Literature, US History, Philosophy, and Art History classes will receive 3 college credits in Humanities 101 via the Bard College Clemente Program. To receive an additional 3 credits, students must complete a capstone project in the third summer. The capstone program, for rising seniors, is the culmination of a two-year program of coursework. This three-week course—taught by Professor Rebecca Zorach (Northwestern University)—will allow rising seniors to embark upon a collective research project that relates to the documenting and study of cultural resources on the South Side of Chicago.

Red Line Service

Red Line Service creates cultural experiences for and with Chicagoans concerned about and/or currently experiencing homelessness. Collectively, we have enjoyed informal home cooked meals and conversations on CTA ‘L’ platforms, intimate film screenings, musical performances, and world class lectures in some of the city’s most significant cultural venues. We insist that communal artistic and intellectual enrichment awakens imaginative possibilities in all people, encouraging them to envision, aspire to, and build alternative realities. In partnership with organizations providing direct services and advocating for policy development, we strive to open and expand critical dialogues about poverty, social responsibility, and culture. Simultaneously, we generate change for all participants, and transform the cultural institutions that house our programs. Together, we strive to reshape our society into a more connected—more loving—community of care.

Stockyard Institute

Jim Duignan is a Chicago artist and professor of visual art in the College of Education at DePaul University. He started the Stockyard Institute in 1995 as an artist project and a small community institute in the Back of the Yards neighborhood of south Chicago. From the start, the Stockyard Institute was a community center working to collectively design and organize visual and pedagogical projects alongside youth, artists, teachers, community members, and the public, which speculate on art, education, aesthetics, and the city. The Stockyard Institute was influenced by an awareness of neighborhood histories and an under recognized group of community artists, architects, radical teachers, and local activists where a deep consideration of the social and civic forms of engagement were as critical to their practice as to their lives. The works and ideas of Jim Duignan and Stockyard Institute have been exhibited in the U.S. and Europe including Reykjavik Art Museum, Iceland, ICA, London, Allgirls Gallery in Berlin, Germany, rum46, Aarhus, Denmark, Galeria de la Escuela de Artes Plasticas, Puerto Rico, P74, Llubljiana, Slovenia, Mess Hall, Chicago, and published in the Atlantic Monthly, Prestel Books, New Art Examiner, Chicago Social Practice History Series, Artforum, Chicago Reader, Whitewalls, Proximity Magazine, Palm Press, AREA Chicago, Green Lantern Press, Set Up Tolerance, University of Chicago Press and The New York Times.