Arts Education Index

Visual Arts Education Program at DePaul University

About Stockyard Institute


The Stockyard Institute is an artistic and pedagogical collective in Chicago.


As the complexion of our practice has broadened in the last few years, we talk about larger prospects. The Stockyard Institute began and has remained until recently, exclusively an artist project that explored pedagogy as a medium within contemporary art spaces.  Currently there is a small core group of artist/producers/teachers and only a slightly larger group of artists, technicians, graduate students, designers, writers, filmmakers, printers, photographers, teachers, and youth who work alongside us to support our various projects and programs.

There are many reasonable paths we travel as ideas or projects are developed and considered. We respond to invitations for public collaborations with free school movements, experimental community projects, activist maneuverings around socially engaged events, from artist groups and collectives, and towards the significant constellation of cultural production in Chicago. This is our home city where we organize and  situate projects from inside schools, community and public spaces to galleries, experimental cultural centers, youth centers, classrooms and shelters. We regularly use the concepts of educating as a medium to examine how information, curriculum, teaching, culture and the arts offer up the prospect of what constitutes thoughtful work. We progress towards a more creative and engaged city and how the conditions of individuals in a community suffer from the constant collisions with large public or institutional bodies.


We design temporary projects and sustainable programs with the arts and pedagogy that consider people in their many capacities as community producers. Educating and the public space are mediums we explore to develop reasonable prototypes for thinking about the kind of city we want to thrive in.  We are as well a practice. One through the relationships with curators and situation organizers leverages experiences with a range of individuals and groups in the construction of informal education structures within contemporary art spaces for public use and participation.


San Miguel School in the Back of the Yards community at 48th and Damen

St. Michael’s Social Center basement with Neutral Ground & Gene Downes

Abandoned Archdiocese School 4721 S. Damen

Our Lady of Help Christian Church basement in the Austin community on LeClaire

San Miguel School 819 N. Leamington in the Austin community classrooms and radio station

The Austin Town Hall Cultural Center at Lake Street and Central, public office

Hyde Park Art Center, Artist in Residence studio (2007-2008

In a trailer behind the Hyde Park Art Center 2007-

DePaul University 2320 N Kenmore O’Connell 170 work studio 2010

DePaul Art Museum inside the nomadic studio 2010


Carlos Cortez, Sarah Whipple, Jon Mindes, Steve Luecking, Steve Harp, Mathew Girson, Jo Hormuth, Christine Krriegerowski, Janine Patten, Hector Sanchez, Michael Accera, Mike Winn, Lisa Ruth, Ed & Rachel Marzewski, Jeremiah Chiu, Zach, Nick Lama, Michael Piazza, Davion Mathews, Kelsey Moher, Nikki Jarecki, Rosie Presti, Beth Wiedner, Faiz Razi, , Lavie Raven, Bert Stabler, Allison Peters Quinn, Abilgail Satinsky, William Keith Brown, Daniel Tucker, Louise Lincoln, Vasavi Prinz, Melinda Stapleton, Laura Fatemi, Ray Yang, Blake Bradford, Tom McDonald, Brian Sikes, Chris Honeysett, Greg Sholette, Katie White, Gene and Sandy Downes, Nance Klehm, Adelheid Mers, Patrick McGee, Jamie Hale, Mike Omens, Roman P, Ben S, Anthony Elms, Marc Fischer, Brett Bloom, Salem, Lou Mallozzi, Carrie Spitler, Ann Elizabeth Moore, Joby Gardner, Jeff Kowalkowski, Jeremy Baudry, Meredith Warner, Duncan McKenzie, Richard Holland, Amanda Browder,  Dan Peterman, John Preus, Sara Black, Brandy Suvarese, Tanja Nellemann, Ayana Contrares, Sophie Hope, Grete Aargaard, Lise Skou, Kristen Cox, Jacqueline Terrassa, Barb Katzin, Nato Thompson, Josh MacPhee, Watie White, Renee Dryg, Laurie Palmer, Steve Ciampaglia, Kerry Richardson, Jesse Seay, Stephen Haymes, Andrew Patterson, Pedro Lasch, Sophie Hope, Barb Koenen, Chris Hammes, Dan Godston, Dara Henning, Sarah Kanouse, John Arndt, Barn Weisen, Ian Bennett,


Ha Ha, Temporary Services, InCUBATE, pluralplural, DePaul Museum, WBEZ, Austin Town Hall Cultural Center, Chicago Park District, vocalo, iKatun (Boston), Chicago Public Schools, Howard Area Alternative High School, Area Chicago, Austin YMCA, Westside Alternative High School, b+b, Garfield School (Maywood), School of the Future (NYC), rum46 (Denmark), Artadia (NYC), Mess Hall, DePaul University, Hyde Park Art Center, Experimental Sound Studio, Experimental Station, Chicago Underground Library, Neighborhood Writing Alliance, Think tank that has yet to be named (Philadelphia), Bad at Sports, San Miguel Schools, Chicago Amplified, Chicago Cultural Center, Material Exchange, Platypus, Just Seeds, CanTV, Manoa Free University, Lumpen, Chicago Public Libraries, Gallery 400 at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Hyde Park Community High School, Multicultural Arts High School,


Invisible history (1995-2005): for years I wasn’t interested in explaining how the Stockyard Institute fit within the art world in Chicago or our public, private or non tradition educational systems. My interests were never to place the efforts of the Stockyard Institute between the larger, institutional structures and simply provide project models as one example for best practice or a utopian model for the future of art education. I wanted to build an experimental art school, a social settlement that could secure community support and participation from the neighborhood and create a space where folks could come in a build things they needed to use. There was also a hope that an always changing group of individuals could work under the umbrella of the name Stockyard Institute to pursue questions through projects to what the Chicago Police Department had determined that the Back of the Yards was the most violent neighborhood for youth at the time.

When I began to read John Dewey’s Art as Experience and Paulo Friere’sPedagogy of the Oppressed again in the 1990s I imagined the Social Settlement very differently and the prospect of setting up a center for strategic work around art and education became a focus. The space in the Back of the Yards at 4721 S. Damen where I housed the operation initially created a rich and safe space for the youth who were naturally uncomfortable in exposing the violent practices of friends and family. Everyone seemed implicated in gang life for a period of time between 1995-1997. There was certainly a focus on who was doing what and how interrogating individuals may interfere with securing the safety or anonymity of the youth who began to work with us.

We are always surrounded by artists, writers, producers, friends and all those willing to expand and contract with us in a reasonable extension of growth and focus, while circulating respectfully around the city’s quieter quadrants.


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