The halls of the museum and the School of the Art Institute are constantly refreshed with an influx of new work as special exhibitions open and close and the permanent collection rotates into the galleries. What most museum-goers and school-attendees don’t often get to see though is the driving force behind the institution itself: the creativity of the staff and faculty.
Interested in a peek behind the scenes—and into the minds of the Art Institute community? Then ArtWork 6 is your chance. This exhibition features new works in all media created by school and museum employees, from Security and Museum Education to Painting and Drawing and the Dean’s Office.
As I entered the packed opening reception last Friday evening, it struck me that while there were 160 of my colleagues participating in the show, I had only known that a few were artists. To come across a spoken word piece, a film projection, and a large-scale wooden sculpture created by people I see in weekly meetings was thrilling; art runs deep at this place in ways I hadn’t expected.
Patti Mocco—who’s just finishing her 15th year in the accounting department—confirmed the sentiment. She has exhibited work in the 2003 and 2008 shows, this time submitting an examination of a lotus pod, a drawing she made while looking at the abstract in nature.
“I’m in accounting, but I love using the other half of my brain. It's so nice to speak to my fellow colleagues about my work, sharing my experience. It introduces the commonality that we have working here.”
Assistant Director of Academic Administration Jaclyn Jacunski agrees. "Though we all do so much here at the school and the museum and play so many different roles, the exhibition is an insight that I am working with artists every day. That beyond what we do at work, we leave this place making the choice to work more in the studio and to show those expressions and thoughts.
It is nice that in some formal way we recognize each other as artists and acknowledge our contributions."
ArtWork6 is truly a product of common interest and effort. A do-it-yourself grassroots production from the first show in 1998, this rendition was organized by an all-volunteer committee from both sides of Michigan Avenue: the museum and the school.
To check out the exhibition (which is open to the public), visit the Sullivan Galleries located on the 7th floor of 33 S. State Street, Tuesday through Saturday from 11:00am to 6:00pm. Artwork6 is on view until February.
2 days 19 hours ago The Art Institute of Chicago #tbt Artist Otto Schneider’s etching of the Art Institute offers us a glimpse of the hustle and bustle of early 20th-century Chicago.
See this and other rarely exhibited works in Homegrown: The School of the Art Institute in the Permanent Collection, closing February 14.
Image: Otto J. Schneider. Facade of the Art Institute, n.d. (detail). Joseph Brook Fair Fund.