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George Lucas at SAIC

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Getting down with the art school kids

The late John Kurtich, a much-loved SAIC faculty member for 35 years, had one final gift for SAIC students. Throughout his time at the school, he strove to provide one very special guest visit. That guest is film director, producer and screenwriter George Lucas, who will speak at SAIC November 5.

Kurtich, who died in 2004, was a Renaissance man. He worked in interior architecture, theater arts and cinematography, and taught in SAIC’s Architecture, Interior Architecture and Designed Objects program (AIADO). He had a way of understanding what each student had to offer, according May Hawfield, a faculty member of AIADO and a former SAIC student.

Wishing to fulfill Kurtich’s dream, Hawfield was instrumental in organizing Lucas’ visit. Kurtich was the first chair of the Mitchell Lecture Series at SAIC and was responsible for deciding who the first speaker would be. His ambitious first choice was Lucas. “John believed there were no boundaries … that your only boundaries were your own,” Hawfield said.

This philosophy matches Lucas’ own work, particularly the boundaries the filmmaker broke with the debut of Star Wars in 1977. According to Hawfield, Kurtich was deeply inspired by the Star Wars characters, who all overcame incredible odds and took leaps of faith. Star Wars itself was a leap of faith for Lucas, who faced harsh criticism during the project’s initial phase.

Although Kurtich and SAIC were unable to bring Lucas to campus during Kurtich’s lifetime, Hawfield and her colleagues did not stop trying and are thrilled a visit has been confirmed.

Event details

George Lucas is giving an informal lecture and question-and-answer session on November 5 at the Rubloff Auditorium, Art Institute of Chicago, at 5:30 p.m. There will be no late seating.
The event is open only to the SAIC community and is ticketed but free.
Due to limited seating, priority is given to SAIC students. They may pick up tickets from October 15 to October 26 at the Articard Office, room 214, Sharp Building, 37 S. Wabash Ave. One ticket per ID, and tickets must be picked up in person. After October 29, tickets will be available to the rest of the SAIC community.

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