Dear Managing Editor Sophie Lucido Johnson,
Samuel Schwindt’s article “Homan Square: The Corner of Corrupt Cops, Occupy Protesters, and … SAIC?” included concerns about [The School of the Art Institute of Chicago] in Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood and specifically Homan Square. As the coordinator of SAIC’s Homan Square programming, I would like to take the opportunity to address these concerns and provide clarity.
Our platform is to strengthen both North Lawndale and our SAIC community through the arts and arts education. Community members have a voice in shaping our programming to make it relevant to them, including the development of courses in viable career fields including graphic design, audio production and podcasting, and fashion. SAIC degree-level courses offered at the tower are influenced strongly by the interests of faculty and students, who may request courses in particular disciplines.
I would like to emphasize that SAIC has no affiliation with the Chicago Police Department, aside from the Nichols Tower’s proximity to the adjacent CPD facility. When the Let Us Breathe Collective protested at Freedom Square, our team supported them with food donations, use of our classroom space, youth art workshops and engaged discussions with the Artists in Residence at the tower. Our goal is to be an open resource to all members of the community.
Finally, I work with an incredible team of people in Continuing Studies, the Shapiro Center, the Office of Engagement, SAIC students and across SAIC at large, in addition to our partners in North Lawndale, to make our programming happen. SAIC is honored to be part of such a dedicated group who are now welcome members of our SAIC campus.