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In the Trenches

By Arts & Culture, Uncategorized

A Weekend with the College Art Association

By Ania Szremski

The Chicago art community can count February 10 to February 13 as a lost weekend, thanks to an a­­ll-consuming cultural invasion called the College Art Association (CAA) conference. Thousands from around the country converged on the Hyatt Regency for four intensive days of panel discussions, seminars, career counseling, job interviews and a book and trade fair, not to mention the wealth of associated programming at various cultural institutions throughout the city.

2010 marks the first time in nine years that Chicago has played host to the conference, and this time around SAIC played a special role by helping to organize the conference.

However, while no SAIC student could remain oblivious to the fact that the CAA conference was in town, the College Art Association itself may remain something of a mystery as an institution. The CAA is a professional association founded nearly a century ago, and today counts over 14,000 individual members and about 2,000 institutional members. In addition to producing the largest annual professional conference for artists, critics and art historians in the nation, the institution produces the online publication, as well as Art Bulletin and Art Journal.

Membership to the CAA gives you the chance to propose paper and panel topics for the conference, get into the conference at a reduced rate and a subscription to the institution’s publications, but it doesn’t come cheap: the lowest membership level starts at $60 a year.

For those who missed out on this year’s conference due to scheduling conflicts or the exorbitant price of admission, read on to learn more about it from those who made it in the door, including panelists, professors, students and volunteers. Find more CAA coverage at, and for more information about CAA visit

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