Engaging communities, one art piece at a time – Announcing the Shaw Artist Commission

Pictured here: Urban Gateways artist Mirtes Zwierzynski works to install a mosaic mural at Pershing West Middle School. Urban Gateways artists have frequently developed community- and school-based art pieces; the Shaw Commission offers a broader opportunity for community engagement through the visual arts.

If you know Urban Gateways, you know that our mission is to educate and inspire Chicago’s youth through the arts. The places where our students live – their communities and neighborhoods – represent an important piece of that puzzle, because without a vibrant and healthy community it’s that much harder for young people to feel connected, feel supported, and achieve their fullest potential. Which is why exhibited works of art specifically designed to engage Chicago communities are of major interest to us.

You may not have heard quite as much about another aspect of Urban Gateways’ mission: To give Chicago-area artists the opportunity to advance their practice and develop their professional portfolio. To this end, we at Urban Gateways are excited about a brand new $10,000 award this school year: The Julie Reynolds Shaw Memorial Artist Commission.

This award offers one Urban Gateways visual artist, or a team of visual artists, the chance to design and implement an art piece that will provoke community conversation and excitement through public display.

Are you a visual artist on the Urban Gateways roster? We want your proposal! It’s due November 29. You can access the RFP with full proposal guidelines HERE.

Not an artist? Don’t worry. There is plenty to love about this upcoming project. We are asking that our artists design an artwork that provides cultural relevance, community engagement, and easy public viewing to get people excited and talking. Read more about it. The project will be completed by August 31, 2014, and rest assured that we’ll be sharing lots of information.

The opportunity to offer a Julie Reynolds Shaw Memorial Artist Commission came to Urban Gateways through its recent merger with Art Resources in Teaching, which the Urban Gateways and A.R.T. communities celebrated in style at the Art Institute on September 12. Check out photos of the merger celebration!