July 1, 2020

Mayor Lightfoot, DCASE And DPD Announce Artist-In-Residence Opportunity for INVEST South/West Communities

Pilot program will focus on creating public art and community-specific cultural programs in four INVEST South/West neighborhoods

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

CHICAGO – Mayor Lightfoot, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) and the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) announced today the first ever Artist-In-Residence Program as part of the City’s INVEST South/West (ISW) community investment and revitalization initiative. The ISW Artist-in-Residence Program will leverage art and creativity as part of a broad and integrated community and economic development plan to re-activate neighborhood cores that have historically served as focal points for pedestrian activity, shopping, services, transportation, public spaces and quality-of life amenities for local residents.

“Chicago’s artists truly make our city special. Through the art and culture they create, they bring joy to our communities, drive our economy, hold a mirror to our lives, and of course, compose works of incredible beauty,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “The wonderful ISW Artist-in-Residence Program pushes our INVEST South/West initiative in an exciting new direction by helping channel the wealth of talent brimming in our communities by giving our local artists the support they need, as well as a platform from which they can share their work and enrich the lives of Chicagoans from all walks of life.”

As a pilot project, the initial round of the ISW Artist-In-Residence Program will focus on four neighborhoods: Englewood, Auburn Gresham, New City and Austin. Each selected artist will work directly with local planners to identify priority areas for consideration and development. Artists or artist teams will be selected to work directly with DCASE, DPD and other city agencies, local organizations and residents to develop and implement a series of community engagement, public art and site-specific cultural programs that reflect each neighborhood’s history and residents to create spaces that promote the health, happiness and well-being of the entire community.  

“We are incredibly excited to see the artworks and creative strategies our city’s talented artists will bring to this project – working in close collaboration with community members,” said Mark Kelly, Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. "This program addresses the need for urgent cultural investment in neighborhoods on Chicago’s South and West sides – and furthers our ongoing commitments to equity and access to the arts through financial grants, artist commissions and cultural events.”

As embedded members of ISW teams, artists will lead a community engagement program to create and build upon neighborhood-specific cultural plans. At the conclusion of an engagement period, the artist will deliver a plan for a capstone public art project.  In addition, the artist will provide a series of recommendations that will guide the future development of creative projects in neighborhoods. Depending on the nature of the capstone project, each Artist-In-Residence will be engaged for one to two years.  The Artist-in-Residence program represents an over $700K investment in arts programs and cultural infrastructure in ISW neighborhoods.

"INVEST South/West is about revitalizing the front doors to our neighborhoods, where residents can see real changes as they walk from their homes to the park, to the store, to the bus stop," said DPD Commissioner Maurice Cox. "Identifying and subsidizing public, local art is a key component of creating that experience in all of our targeted commercial corridors."

This opportunity is open to professional artists/artist teams who live or work in Chicago. The selected artists/artist teams must have a demonstrated commitment to working with and for the benefit of the public. Artists who live and work within ISW neighborhoods are encouraged to apply. Each Artist-In-Resident project scope should include public engagement, capstone plan development, and documentation at a cost of $30,000. The budget for each capstone project(s), including additional artist fees for oversight and implementation, will be $150,000 and is dependent on community and City approval of the project.

The application period opens today and the deadline for submissions is 11:59 p.m., CST on July 26, 2020. Each artist or artist team must submit an entirely digital application. For more information and to apply visit www.chicago.gov/publicart.

DPD and DCASE are also announcing an RFQ for an artist or artist team to create site-specific artwork for the street level walls and bridge span of the newly refurbished Englewood Line Halsted viaduct at 5800 S. Halsted. The Halsted Gateway Project will include a robust community engagement process, where the artist will work collaboratively with local residents to develop the design for painted street-level artwork and bridge span artwork with a commercially printed, applied vinyl that can be wrapped or applied with adhesive to the coffers.

All finalists will be paid a $1,000 honorarium to develop proposals and the artwork commission will be $65,000, inclusive of all costs and fees for the artist/artist team to execute the murals. Application deadline is 11:59pm CST on Saturday, July 12, 2020. For more information and to access the application visit www.chicago.gov/publicart.

INVEST South/West is an unprecedented community improvement initiative from Mayor Lightfoot to marshal the resources of multiple City departments, community organizations and corporate partners toward 10 neighborhoods on Chicago’s South and West sides. Through this groundbreaking collaborative by government, businesses, philanthropies, and community leaders, the City will align more than $750 million in public funding over the next three years. The initiative will seek to maximize those public investments in order to attract private capital, respond to changing commercial trends and enrich local culture.

About the Department of Planning and Development: As the principal planning agency for the City of Chicago, the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) promotes the comprehensive growth and sustainability of the City and its neighborhoods. The department also oversees the City’s zoning and land use policies and, through its economic development and housing bureaus, employs a variety of resources to encourage business and real estate development, as well as a diverse and stable housing stock throughout the City. www.chicago.gov/dpd.

About the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events: The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors. www.chicago.gov/dcase.