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You Could Make Art at SAIC


In December, F Newsmagazine addressed the lack of art-making opportunities for Master of Arts students at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). After reading Who Can’t Make Art at SAIC?, several members of the SAIC administration got in touch to offer options and answer readers questions. Here, we compile the art making opportunities for MA students.


Illustration by Magdalena Wistuba.

Engage Your Creativity

Take a Studio Class

All MA students have elective courses. They have the right to select whatever they like among graduate level courses. Though they may need the approval of the professor teaching the course, they do not need approval from any department.

Learn with Lynda

SAIC students have free access to all of the tutorials on The website offers a wide range of video tutorials in various subjects: audio, photography, graphic and web design, video editing, typography, drawing and many more.

Start your own group

If there is a particular art form students absolutely want to focus on, they can always create their own student group. When students find an instructor among SAIC students or staff, they can organize weekly, bi-weekly or monthly classes for their group. Starting a group is easier than one might think:

• Pick up a copy of the Student Group Handbook at the Neiman Center. It contains all of the information you needed on how to start a student group, from completing the online application to applying for funding and developing advertising.

• Find an advisor and another student who will manage the student group with you. The student group advisor should be a full-time or part-time faculty member.

• Go on, click on the “Register a New Organization” button on the left hand side, and follow the instructions.

Note: Alternatively, you can request a pdf version of the Student Group Handbook via email:

Improve Technical Skills

SAIC has several places where students can learn technical skills. Although the following locations don’t offer “creative workshops,” they do provide students with practical skills involving different media and materials.

Visit the Instructional Shops

All students can be authorized to use the wood shop and the metal shop. The authorization consists of an orientation and basic training on how to use the machines safely. The authorization lasts for two years.

The instructional shops also offer specific workshops:

Wood Shop     Metal Shop
Lathe     Cold-Fastening Systems
Stretcher/Panel     Power Hammer
Frame Making     Blacksmithing
Art Installation     Hossfield Blender

Students can also get authorized for the Colombus Digital Fabrication Studio where they can do laser cutting. Charges apply for laser cutting.

Walk-ins: $0.15 per minute
Reservations: $5.00 for 45-minute blocks of time.

Use the Media Center

The Media Center lends basic audiovisual equipment, including cameras, lights, video projectors and sound equipment. Students can get authorized to use more complex equipment. This semester, the Media Center launched a workshop called Art Documentation Workshop teaching students how to set up and light artworks for photographing.

A complete list of authorization and workshops is available here.

Note: Restrictions apply, as departments have priority on
their resources.

Other Options

Slide Social

This is an opportunity for graduate students to present their work to their peers in 60 seconds with up to three slides. Although there is no art-making involved here, it is a great way to share projects and ideas and to hear about other students’ current practice.

Crit Week

Students can apply to be panelists during Crit week or attend crits as a spectator. This could be a way to meet students involved in art practices.

Dean’s House Salon 

Hosted by Dean of Graduate Studies Rebecca Duclos, the periodic Dean’s House Salon is an evening dedicated to discussion and idea sharing. Coalescing around a theme and an invited artist, the Salon is a great place to meet graduate students from other departments and get partnerships started.

Future Offerings

The department of Graduate Studies is currently working on developing summer “crash courses,” short, intense seminars to develop basic fabrication skills. The courses would be open to all graduate students to study the subject of their choice and would be worth 1.5 credits. They would offer a condensed version of the 2000-level art-making classes which usually require a dean’s permission. The department is still exploring the feasibility of the crash courses.

F Newsmagazine has also been informed that the office of Student Affairs is considering organizing similar workshops available to all SAIC students.

F Newsmagazine would like to thank Rebecca Duclos; William M.Newhouse, Executive Director of Resources Allocation; Craig Downs, Executive Director of Media & Instructional Resources; Tom Buechele, Vice President of Operations and Facilities; and Allie Markland, Assistant Director of Campus Life.

Interested in art-making workshops? Keep an eye on the upcoming Graduate Creative Workshops (MaWorks) student group. Designed to offer bi-weekly art-making classes to SAIC student, MaWorks will be up and running soon. Email for more information.

One Response to You Could Make Art at SAIC

  1. Claribel says:

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    you shared this helpful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this.
    Thanks for sharing.

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