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BOLT Residency

BOLT Residency Application Guidelines

BOLT Residency studios
BOLT Residency studios

The 2018-19 deadline for BOLT Residency has passed. Please check back in January 2019 for updated guidelines and application form. Information remains on this page for reference only.

BOLT Residency is a highly competitive, juried, one-year artist studio residency program offering emerging and established artists the opportunity to engage the Chicago arts community and its public in critical dialogue about contemporary art.

Located at the Chicago Artists Coalition’s brand new 6,700-square-foot facility in the vibrant Kinzie Industrial Corridor, BOLT provides workspace, creative community, exhibition opportunities and professional development for Chicago-based, contemporary artists.


  • BOLT Residency is open to artists based in the city of Chicago. 
  • Ideal candidates show significant promise and dedication to their work as a vocation.
  • Artists are at a moment in which access to a studio and supportive environment will be particularly meaningful to their practice.
  • Artists are NOT currently enrolled in a degree-granting program or its equivalent.

2018-19 Jury

Alberto Aguilar: Artist & Educator
Kristin Korolowicz: Writer & Independent Curator
Edra Soto: Artist, Curator & Educator


Application Checklist

  • Completed online application form
  • Up-to-date resume
  • 7 - 11 samples of recent work (within the last 3 years) including short descriptions
  • Non-refundable $15 application fee

Important Dates for 2018

March 15 (11:59 pm)*: Application due via
March 16 -  April 15: Jury deliberations
April 17 - 30: Interviews with CAC staff
May 4 - 11: Selected BOLT Residents are notified via email
May 25: Lease signed and security deposit due
July 1: Studio move-in. All studios are work-only (non-residential)

BOLT Residency Studios (Studio selection will ultimately be determined at CAC’s discretion)

(6) Studios: 200 square-foot workspaces; security deposit required to confirm your participation

Studios are an open-floor plan and work-only (non-residential)

Types of Disciplines

Works on paper, sculpture, painting, photography, new media, installation, film/video, performance, and sound artists are encouraged to apply. 

Program Expectations and Ethos

BOLT Residency serves artists actively in need of studio space and, as such, selected artists are expected to use the studio for a minimum of 15 hours per week. Artists have a flexible schedule and availablity for studio visits Monday - Friday, 10 am - 5 pm, 2 - 3 times a month (occasionally on weekends); as well as, attend monthly meetings Tuesday - Thursday, 6 - 8 pm, to share work in progress with peers and participate in group critiques of solo exhibitions on view.

Chicago Artists Coalition strongly encourages and welcomes emerging and established artists of color and/or LGBTQ+ to apply to the residency program. CAC believes that the arts are essential to leading a full and productive life and affirms its support for making the arts available to all people, including those with physical disabilities.

Our new location at 2130-40 West Fulton Street has ADA accessible galleries and studios. Contact Teresa E. Silva, Director of Exhibitions & Residencies, with accessibility inquiries at or 312-491-8888 x103.

As a commitment to equity, inclusivity and accessibility, CAC is eliminating studio fees for BOLT Residency in an effort to reduce barriers to application and participation. Please note: a security deposit and nominal costs for insurance and key card will be required to confirm your participation. We estimate this to be in the range of $500. CAC offers a small stipend for production costs in preparation for a solo exhibition and a presentation at EXPO CHICAGO (if selected for the booth).

*Application deadline is Thursday, March 15, 2018 at 11:59 PM. We regret that incomplete or late applications cannot be considered.


  • 11-month artist studio rental with 24/7 secure access
  • Six (6) fully subsidized studios, approximately 200 square feet each
  • Free storage, bathroom, shower, slop sink, lockers, kitchen and common areas

Creative Community

  • Open-plan layout to inspire dialogue, collaborations and the development of new ideas
  • Monthly meetings/meals to build meaningful relationships, networks and resources
  • Work with your peers to creatively shape the residency according to your needs
  • Gain exposure and expand your audience through CAC’s public programming

Exhibition Opportunities

  • One solo exhibition in a dedicated, 400-square-foot gallery space
  • Exhibition opportunity for one BOLT Resident at EXPO Chicago
  • Ongoing use of studio to showcase your work at studio visits
  • CAC marketing support, including press releases, website announcement, social media, and postcards

Professional Development

  • CAC works closely with you to develop a customized professional development plan based on your vision and personal goals
  • CAC staff offers occassional private tours of your studio to potential collectors
  • Free access to CAC’s FIELD/WORK program, a series of intensive educational workshops and business consultations (value: $500)
  • One-on-one studio visits with prominent members of the greater arts community

Previous Studio Visitors

Lisa Corrin, Ellen Philips Katz director, Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art
Michael Darling, James W. Alsdorf chief curator, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
Lisa Dorin, assistant curator of contemporary art, Art Institute of Chicago
John Neff, artist and educator
Jeanne Dunning, artist
Tricia Van Eck, artistic director, 6018NORTH
Natasha Egan, associate director & curator, Museum of Contemporary Photography
Karen Irvine, curator and manager of publications, Museum of Contemporary Photography
Steven L. Bridges, Assistant Curator, The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, Michigan State University
Mark Jeffery, associate professor—performance, SAIC
Eric May, director, Roots and Culture Gallery
Monique Meloche, owner/director, moniquemeloche gallery
Janine Mileaf, director, The Arts Club of Chicago
Jessica Moss, associate curator of contemporary art, Smart Museum of Art
Sabina Ott, professor of art, Columbia College Chicago
Jacob Proctor, curator, the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society
Allison Peters Quinn, director of exhibitions, Hyde Park Art Center
Andrew Rafacz, owner/director, Andrew Rafacz Gallery
Dieter Roelstraete, Manilow senior curator, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
Maria Gaspar, artist and educator
Roberto Sifuentes, chair—performance, SAIC
Stephanie Smith, deputy director and chief curator, Smart Museum of Art
Buzz Spector, dean of the college and graduate school of art, Washington University in St. Louis
Lorelei Stewart, director, Gallery 400
Shannon Stratton, founder and executive director, threewalls
Lane Relyea, chair—art theory & practice, Northwestern University
Harold Mendez, 2017 Whitney Biennial artist
Yesomi Umolu, director, Logan Center Exhibitions, University of Chicago
Jan Tichy, artist
Hamza Walker, director, LAXART
Lynne Warren, curator, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
Julie Rodrigues Widholm, director, DePaul Art Museum
Janet Dees, curator, Mary & Leigh Block Museum of Art
Naomi Beckwith, curator, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
Nathaniel Mary Quinn, artist



If you have questions regarding the program or application, contact Teresa E. Silva, Director of Exhibitions & Residencies at 312-491-8888 x103 or