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Mission & History

Mayumi Lake, "Unison" (installation view), 2017
Mayumi Lake, "Unison" (installation view), 2017


Established in 1974, the Chicago Artists Coalition (CAC), is a non-profit organization that supports emerging Chicago artists through education, artist residencies, and exhibitions—providing them with the resources to live, work, and thrive in the city. CAC is committed to building a diverse community of artist leaders who define the place of art in our city’s culture and economy, and to cultivating a wide-reaching civic, philanthropic, and public support network that enhances the impact of contemporary artists in Chicago.

The Chicago Artists Coalition is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. All contributions and donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.


Over 40 years ago, CAC began as a small group of artists advocating for rights, support and visibility in the city’s cultural landscape and economy. Small in size but mighty in impact, CAC was critical to the formation of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs, the development of Chicago Artists Month and the passing of the Percent for Art Ordinance.  The latter designates 1.33% of new construction or renovation budgets of public buildings to a public art fund dedicated to the commission, purchase and maintenance of public art in Chicago. 

Since then, the organization has evolved and grown to meet the needs of Chicago’s artists, moved into the West Loop in 2011, and launched its groundbreaking residencies and professional development programs.  CAC was the first to offer a residency with a curatorial component (HATCH Projects) and is still one of the only residency programs that offer onsite studio space and a guarantee of a solo exhibition to its 10 BOLT residents.  60 BOLT artists have had solo shows, 288 HATCH artists have participated in group shows, 2,950 artists have participated in professional development programs, and 24 curators have further developed their curatorial and exhibition making skills. 

In January 2018, CAC announced that it would be moving to a new home in the Kinzie Industrial Corridor in Spring of 2018.