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Building upon the SAIC Experience

What changes and/or improvements would you like to see at SAIC? The administration has many plans and projects already in progress; however, as a sounding board for the SAIC community, F is compiling ideas directly from you — the people who will be most affected by the decisions made.

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F Newsmagazine asked SAIC students, faculty and staff, “What changes and/or improvements would you like to see at SAIC? The administration has many plans and projects already in progress; however, as a sounding board for the SAIC community, F is compiling ideas directly from you — the people who will be most affected by the decisions made.”
Here, we present some of the responses we received. We will be sharing all with the administration; some may result in change, some may not. Regardless, we want your voices to be heard. We encourage comments on, or you may continue sending your responses to [email protected].
In our supplement on changes at SAIC (to be on in-school news stands May 7) we will be publishing responses on departmental improvements directly from the department chairs themselves, along with in-depth articles and an exclusive interview with outgoing President Wellington “Duke” Reiter. 

cgrimm_f0510-questiondet10webI believe our school lacks school pride/spirit.
I think it’s time people started wearing school hoodies, sweatpants, key chains, stickers, etc. I mean we’ve got great artists here. Let them design things. Goodies for students, by students.

We even have a school mascot (Arty the Lion) and school colors (Gold and Teal) that nobody really knows about.
So why aren’t we promoting these things? Does it have something to do with us not having a sports program here?
Kazuki Sebastian Guzman Anno
3rd Year Undergrad

cgrimm_f0510-questiondet09webSAIC prides itself on making students the best artists they can be; but, that is a paradox if my chief preoccupation coming out of school will be “where in the world can I find the $600 a month to pay back my student loans?”
SAIC also prides itself on valuing diversity, but how diverse can a school be when the only people that can attend come from a highly privileged background?
[I think] the way the school functions needs to be re-evaluated if its core values are to be fulfilled. What about making programs smaller and introducing tuition waivers for people that are the first to go to college in their families? What about childcare facilities or affordable family housing?
What about offering different models to “make it” as an artist besides competing against one another for gallery representation and grant money?
Painting and Drawing

cgrimm_f0510-questiondet08webI think space is a major issue for students. It seems rather odd that the advanced painting students have larger studios than the advanced sculpture students. Artists need studios to work and space to store work in progress. This basically doesn’t exist so people don’t explore scale the way a student should.
Most importantly, the base space is great but it is virtually impossible to get access to it (after faculty and grads have their priority sign up). There has to be some kind of space for installation that is accessible for undergrads. One or two smaller sites would make a big difference. That’s all I can think of now that Duke is gone.
S.O.B. (Studios Over Branding)
3rd year Undergrad

cgrimm_f0510-questiondet07webHaving a secure place to store bikes in the Sharp Building.
Robert T. Rasmussen
Telecommunications Technician
The Art Institute of Chicago

Sometimes simple changes can make huge differences. I’d love to see coat hooks in classrooms, clocks in public areas, and lots and lots more storage available.
Jill Frederickson
2nd Year Undergrad

[I would like to see] a stronger framework for better communication internally between the departments and the student body.
[Also,] a stronger partnership between the museum and the school, allowing for more cross programming. Like SAIC-only events at the museum and a more developed internship program specifically between the museum and the school.
MaryLou Ibadlit
Arts Administration and Policy
1st Year Grad

cgrimm_f0510-questiondet04webThe most basic thing that the student population at SAIC needs [is] space. Speaking on behalf of many students who have voiced the same opinion, we are severely lacking in both studio and classroom space.
In many cases, classrooms are packed beyond limits, where people are forced to sit on the floor or take notes on their laps because there are not enough desks. As far as studios go, space is at a minimum as well.
In my experience in the fiber and sculpture departments, there is hardly enough space to conduct a class because there is not enough physical space to allow all the students to be working at once. Whether this [is] because the room is not big enough to accommodate the larger class size, or because the room is used as storage for all five weekly classes it holds, I find it simply unacceptable that SAIC allows students to experience such conditions.
With talk about ways to raise our retention rate, I think it’s important to look at the student experience and consider that for the amount of money students pay to go to SAIC every year, some might not find it worthwhile to stay at a school that doesn’t even have enough room for them to work. That, in fact, this lack of space might legitimately be hurting our learning experience and the development of our work.
Emily Kozik
Fiber and Material Studies
3nd Year Undergrad

I would like to see a much larger computer lab, especially more 11×17 scanners!
Trinnace “Nace” V. Sayles
Painting and Drawing
BFA 2010

cgrimm_f0510-questiondet06webI began in the Painting and Drawing Department, but moved quickly to Animation and Photography. Why? Because my teachers did not support me in my painting endeavors. Nor did they teach me any technical skills.
I am not an artist yet, I am training to become an artist. That is why I am at SAIC. The only teachers I learned any technical skills from in my past three years of being at SAIC are Richard Deutsch and, in hand-drawn animation, Matthew Marsden and Chris Sullivan. This is a problem.
Conceptual thinking is helpful when instructors are supportive of you and your ideas — it is not fun when an instructor wants to see you make their project. [In my opinion] Ann Chen and Freedom Lialios are wonderful at supporting your ideas, no matter what they are. They want to help you convey the message you’re trying to convey effectively.
Also, much of my work is based on my emotions while making the work. The pieces themselves are products of my desire to feel good while making work. Having emotional releases such as making artwork is vital to my survival in a cramped city such as this. It is my way of letting go, but for most teachers, this is not important. This is hard for me.
I am not saying that they are wrong. [Just that] the well-being of students should be a priority.
I’ve also dealt with lots of teachers picking favorites, and just helping those students intensely. In some cases it has been me, and I have been incredibly grateful. However, when it is not me, I get the short end of everything. Insight is lacking when talking about my work and the teacher has little interest in anyone other than his or her favorites.
Mark McWilliams
Film, Video and New Media (Animation); Photography
3rd Year Undergrad

cgrimm_f0510-questiondet05web I would really like to have a longer spring break. I think we are all students that work very hard and deserve more than four days — including the weekend — off. A significant break (one week) would be really nice, and much appreciated. Not to mention less slave-driver-esque.
Chris Pinter
Visual Communications
1st Year Undergrad

One simple thing, create a 3D view of the campus, that has the different departments and offices color-coded with a key. So that, when we need to go to a certain office or location, we can simply access the 3D model, spin it around, click on the key that denotes the department, or
class location and it is highlighted.
This is a very simple task that can [probably] be done through the AIADO Department to create the 3D map; the CRIT people to set up a web page for the map (or who ever does that here); and the VISCOM people, or others, can organize it. How great would it be to see the actual campus, with all the various buildings, color-coded in a 3D map?cgrimm_f0510-questionweb
A progressive art school located in a metropolis area should have this. It is not complicated to achieve and can be done internally. Not only can this help new students and faculty, but it can also act as a selling point that demonstrates some unity within the school between the various art disciplines — even though it may seem like segregated elements it can be displayed as a united group in this urban setting.
Paul Dean
Interior Architecture and Designed Objects
Part-time Faculty

It would be great if the bloody smokers didn’t hover around the doors  — there is nothing subversive about smoking, it is possibly the most conventional lemming-like behavior and it would be great if we didn’t have to walk through the cancer stink-field to get to class!!!!
Fiber and Material Studies
MFA 2010

I want to see our money go towards our studios instead of televisions on every floor of the buildings ­— is that really necessary?
Abigail Dreier
Fiber and Material Studies;
Art Therapy
2nd Year Undergrad

Illustrations by Colin Grimm

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One Response to Building upon the SAIC Experience

  1. anonymous says:

    I strongly agree that our school doesn’t have a school spirit/pride. I talked to some people at the All Students Meeting about this, and they said that it’s an art school, students are trained to be individual and unique. And so I thought…. yes individuals that’s true, but can’t we still be individuals while belonging to a group? I know a few other art schools with really strong school pride such as Parsons and RISD. If other art schools can, why can’t we? Even though we have a high drop out and transfer rate, it could still be worked out with the right strategies.
    In regards to alumni donations, and the fact that everyone thinks that our school is always out of cash, I think that when a student enjoyed their time at SAIC, and are proud to be an SAIC graduate, they will naturally want to give back since it’s their alma mater. Time and money can be saved from building alumni relations.

    By the way, did anyone see the SAIC brochure that’s available at the museum? No offense, but really? I was expecting more from our school’s marketing department.

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