Art Design Chicago—an initiative of the Terra Foundation for American Art in partnership with local artists and arts organizations—is a citywide collaboration and series of events and exhibitions that highlight the voices and stories that are part of the city’s unique artistic heritage and creative communities. Continuing into 2025, more than 50 Chicago-area arts organizations across 30 Chicago neighborhoods and several suburban communities showcase the work of hundreds of artists.
“Art Design Chicago exemplifies the Terra Foundation’s mission to expand narratives of American art, focusing on Chicago’s cultural communities and the stories they tell,” says Sharon Corwin, President and CEO of the Terra Foundation for American Art. “The city’s artists and designers have and continue to influence visual culture within and beyond our city. The exhibitions and events supported through this initiative–some featuring art and design that rarely or never has been exhibited before–invite us to learn more about Chicago through the art, culture and history in our own backyards, through the lens of some of the city’s most dynamic artistic communities.”
The events and exhibitions emphasize visual art and design and feature media including but not limited to, painting and sculpture, photography, printmaking, ceramics, fiber arts, graphic design, commercial art, furniture, textiles, and video. Many projects feature voices, cultures, and communities whose creative contributions exemplify the full richness and complexity of Chicago’s artistic production.
Four exhibitions that are a part of Art Design Chicago are on view now—and into 2024—at arts organizations throughout the city. At the National Museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen, Carlos Cortéz 100 AÑOS is a centennial exhibition that celebrates the legacy of Cortéz (1923–2005), a twentieth century Chicago-based social justice artist. In Hyde Park, Ruth Duckworth: Life as a Unity at the Smart Museum of Art showcases the art of Duckworth (1919–2009)—earthy vessels, large-scale clay-tile murals in high relief, bird-like stoneware figures, and nearly translucent porcelain sculptures—created during her nearly half-century-long career in Chicago.
The newly formed downtown Center for Native Futures—an epicenter of Native creativity that fosters Native artists of all backgrounds—presents Native Futures, an inaugural exhibition featuring more than a dozen established and emerging Native artists in the Great Lakes region. entre horizontes: Art & Activism Between Chicago and Puerto Rico at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago in Streeterville examines the affinities and relationships between the social-justice and anti-colonial movements and artistic production of the Puerto Rican diaspora in Chicago from the 1960s to the present.
“The intent of Art Design Chicago is to not only tell the stories of Chicago’s creative past and present, but also contribute to the vibrancy of the city’s arts ecosystem,” says Jennifer Siegenthaler, Senior Program Director of the Terra Foundation for American Art. “Art Design Chicago promotes new research, innovative approaches to community engagement that can be applied to future partnerships, and an enhanced understanding of the role artists play as problem solvers in their communities and interpreters of the city’s history and the current moment.”