About CAD

Mission Statement: Chicago Art Department (CAD) cultivates new and emerging artists. A 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, the core of what drives CAD is a 12-month residency program for 20 artists.

Here are CAD’s goals for our Resident Artists:

1) to develop studio practice and new works.
2) to participate in exhibitions as exhibiting artists or curators.
3) to engage in monthly dialogues around Resident Artist works.
4) to connect with others in the field
5) to participate in exhibitions, workshops, or learning partnerships.
6) to take on an operations task as part of each residency.

CAD aims to support artists by exploring studio art, exhibition,  and learning opportunities. Through exhibitions, artist residencies, and community building, we are dedicated to cultivating voices, ideas, and practices based in the field of contemporary art. CAD seeks to serve the real-world needs of young artists seeking to establish their personal practice, as well as provide a breeding ground of creative collaboration and exploration. What does this mean? It means ongoing arts collisions between artists and media, interdisciplinary exhibitions, learning initiatives like workshops, and unplanned outcomes - all stemming from our resident artist practices and their time at CAD.

CAD is housed inside of the historic Fountainhead building on South Halsted, in Pilsen. CAD has roughly 7000 square feet of studio, exhibition, and event space, used in many different ways by our artists and audience. CAD hosts an eclectic calendar of exhibitions and events every month. In addition, Resident Artists often work with other organizations to host cultural events such professional development workshops, exhibitions, or fundraisers.. The hosting of outside events is part of an explicit goal to support Chicago organizations while connecting our Resident Artists to other professionals in the field.

Arts Learning and Growth

We encourage our community to “Try It!” CAD is built around the idea of learning through participation.  Resident Artists are encouraged to participate in as many ways as possible. Resident artists have 24-hour access and often learn from bouncing ideas off of each other, while also leading and participating in programs that are extensions of their practices.

We ask our community to “Make It!” An important part of our residencies, programs, and critical dialogue groups is to make! To push to create – not simply experiment - and to strive to finish new works. This has been a core part of CAD’s work since starting in 2004.

We require our artists to “Share it!” Chicago Art Department produces regular exhibitions, programs, and events in order to provide regular opportunities for artists to share work. CAD also pushes others to share via the web, print, and video, all with the goal of seeing  artists connect with audiences.

Please visit our 100+ Image sets to learn more about CAD’s 10-year history.