Erika Dudley

2015–2016 Interpreter in Residence

As the Smart Museum's 2015–2016 Interpreter in Residence, Erika Dudley, convenes diverse communities around shared passions—namely, food and art.

Dudley will welcome guests from different walks of life to the Museum through quarterly At the Threshold social hours and regular At the Table tastings, using food and drink to build a space where meaningful conversations around art, community, education, access, and other topics can happen.

In addition, she will work with the Smart’s education staff to design a new syllabus for docents that marries community-building and gallery teaching skills. Newly trained docents will be equipped to become advocates for art and critical issues within their own community and network, using the Museum as a site to convene and dialogue. The Smart Museum’s docent team is made up of University of Chicago students as well as alumni of the Odyssey Project, a free, yearlong course in the humanities for adults living at or below the poverty level. 

At the Threshold

Hosted by the Smart’s Interpreters in Residence, the quarterly At the Threshold social hour features libations and live music and provides common ground for lively conversation surrounding art, culture, and ideas.

At the Threshold
Thursday, October 15, 2015
Featuring drinks, “familiar food in a strange bite,” and a paper fortune teller game that, instead of predicting the future, prompts guests to trace back memories. 

About Erika Dudley

Erika Dudley is the Civic Knowledge Project's Senior Program Manager of the Odyssey Project, Progressive Conversations, and The Educating Community; a professional chef; and a former community organizer. She serves on the Smart Museum’s education advisory committee and, in 2012, she worked with Theater Gates and Michael Kornick to organize a series of soul food dinners at Dorchester Projects as part of the exhibition Feast: Radical Hospitality in Contemporary Art.

About the Interpreter in Residence program

Established in 2013, the Interpreter in Residence is a yearlong program designed as a forum for Chicago-based artists and educators with an interest in social engagement to create participatory art experiences with Smart Museum guests.

The residency, organized by the Smart’s Public Practice department, is informed by art and ideas drawn from the Smart’s collections and exhibitions as well as issues and questions that are critical to the Museum’s institutional practice. The Smart invites artists to participate in the program who approach similar sets of questions in their work. We hope that their engagement at the Museum offers an opportunity for sustained investigation into these questions that benefit both their and our practice.

Through public programs and other ephemeral activities, the interpreters in residence help create a critical commons where we can engage with art, ideas, and one another.