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Teaching Artists Summit 2016

Saturday, April 2, 2016 - 9:00am to 3:30pm

Chicago Artists Coalition & Hyde Park Art Center are pleased to present a day-long convening bringing together teaching artists from across the city for professional development and community-building around critical issues in teaching artistry today.

Teaching Artists Summit arose from a shared desire to provide new opportunities for teaching artists from throughout Chicago to come together to develop their professional practice and connect with others. With an overarching focus on strengthening the relationship between studio practice and teaching practice, the Teaching Artist Summit will feature a keynote talk by Sabina Ott, teaching artist-led workshops, and an interactive curriculum slam. 

Teaching Artists Summit is open to practitioners from all disciplines, geographic areas, and age groups looking to inspire lively and meaningful dialogue with practical implications in the classroom and studio. Our hope is that the Teaching Artists Summit will be an open and inclusive gathering that fosters a sense of community and mutual support for teaching artists that will continue to grow through informal meet-ups throughout the year.

** Organizations that would like to be included in a new online directory of organizations working with teaching artists can complete a brief survey using this link by March 14, 2016. Hosted on the Chicago Artists Resource website, the directory will be a resource for teaching artists working in all disciplines that will be debuted at the Summit.

Learning Objectives

  • Leverage the classroom as a lab for your own creative practice
  • Strategize ways to share our practice with our students while simultaneously encouraging their own authentic voices
  • Develop a set of practicable strategies to implement the creative hook in your own classrooms, while avoiding potential pitfalls, to ensure inspired learning at all levels
  • Examine official and unofficial ways of defining a curriculum while exploring the distinction between a creative practice and a teaching practice, and how the criteria for evaluation of each impact the outcomes of our efforts
  • Create an approach to documentation and marketing that is authentic to your experience, easy to update across platforms, and capable of extending the life cycle of your students’ work


  • 9:00 - 10:00 am | Welcome and Keynote Talk with Sabina Ott
  • 10:00 - 11:40 am | Teaching Artist-Facilitated Micro Workshops
    • Copycat Paranoia with Nick Briz
    • Documentation & Marketing for Your Teaching Practice with Sara Black
    • Bringing Your Philosophy into the Classroom with Benji Hart
    • What is a Curriculum? with Rachel Harper
  • 12:00 - 1:00 pm | Lunch
  • 1:00 - 3:00 pm | Curriculum Share + Build
    • Samantha Hill: History inspired Art Projects utilizing Archives & Photography Collections
    • Elizabeth Johnson: Science Choreography
    • ​John Neff: Curator in the Classroom
    • Jessi T. Walsh: The Botanical Realm as Studio and Classroom
    • Krista Wortendyke: Stop the Violence!
  • 3:00 - 3:30 pm | Final Share and Wrap Up
  • 3:30 – 4:30 pm | Happy Hour (optional)


Sara Black has worked broadly as an artist, artist-teacher, arts organizer and curator. Within her practice she works both individually and collaboratively. She was a founder of the artist group Material Exchange that was active in Chicago until 2010 where she worked closely with artists John Preus and David Wolf, and has since been engaged in a number of collaborative works with artists Jillian Soto, Raewyn Martyn, Amber Ginburg, Lia Rousset and others. Her work uses conscious processes of carpentry, wood-working, and repair as a time-based method, inherited building materials or other exhausted objects as material, and create works that aim to expose the complex ways in which things and people are suspended in worlds together.

hi, my name is nick briz && i'm a new_media artist / educator / organizer living + working in chicago, IL. i'm critically obsessed w/the Internet + all my work is re:to digital culture; specifically: digital literacy + ecology, netizen rights, glitch art, net art, remix. i organize events on these topix ( GLI.TC/HNO-MEDIA, etc ) && teach on these topix (SAICMarwenwww ) && produce work on these topix ( independently && commercially w/Branger_Briz ). my work's been shown internationally ( FILE Media Arts Festival, the Images Festival, the Museum of Moving Image, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, etc. ) && i've been featured in on/off-line publications around the world ( VICE,Rhizome.orgFast CompanyEl MundoNeuraletc. ). my work is distributed through Video Out Distribution as well as openly and freely on the web.

Rachel Harper is an artist in Chicago who serves as Curriculum Specialist for the Teacher Institute at the Museum of Contemporary Art and teaches educational design for arts and music at DePaul University.  For her work at the intersection of arts and curriculum, she was awarded the 2012 Schubert Fellowship from UIC, where she is a doctoral candidate in Curriculum Studies, and the 2011 Fellowship in Arts Education from SAIC, where completed schooling required for degrees of BFA and MA.  Rachel has consulted on curriculum for the Chicago Public Schools, the Arts Incubator of the University of Chicago, and the Art Institute of Chicago, where she teaches in Museum Education.  Her first curriculum book, “Rethinking Sexism, Gender, and Sexuality.” was published last month, and her artist project Seen + Heard, advancing the cultural works of children ages 0-12, is currently supported by a residential fellowship at Chicago Art Department.

Benji Hart is an activist, artist, and youth worker dedicated to radical education. Much of his work focuses on using the dance form of vogue to teach Black and Brown queer history, sex positivity, and prison abolition, and to empower poor and working queer communities in creative and celebratory ways. He strives to combine arts and education to unite oppressed collectives and plan direct action. Currently he is a drop-in worker at the Broadway Youth Center in Chicago, a community space for trans and queer youth experiencing homelessness. His writing has been published in Salon Magazine, The Socialist Worker, Truthout, and his own blog, Radical Faggot.

Samantha Hill is an artist/educator based in Chicago, IL with an emphasis on archives, oral story collecting, social projects & art facilitations. She creates multi-media installations and performance interventions within historic & public locations. The purpose of these interventions is to create an ephemeral memorial to a historic moment, which reflects significant components of a region’s culture through community engagement.

Elizabeth Johnson is a socially engaged dance practitioner and educator. Elizabeth connects communities through choreography, creating dance that promotes civic dialogue, and designs participatory experiences that apply artistic practices in multiple contexts. She has a particular interest in working with youth and elders, developing embodied structures for science learning, and promoting leadership development through the arts. Elizabeth holds a BA from Connecticut College and a MFA from Arizona State University.  She has taught and performed internationally, and was the Associate Artistic Director of the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange in Metro DC for over a decade.  She worked at Arizona State University as the Coordinator of Socially Engaged Practice, collaborating with an interdisciplinary team to create new curricula focused on training artists to work in, and engage with, diverse communities. She is currently working with Project AIM through Columbia College Chicago and Dance Exchange while doing projects with Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, Hubbard Street Dance, and Mesa Arts Center.

John Neff produces artworks, organizes exhibitions, and works as a teaching artist. He currently serves as a curatorial board member at Chicago’s Iceberg Projects and as co-director of the Ravenswood Elementary School Curatorial Practice Program.

Sabina Ott is known for her broad range of work—from painting to installation to sculpture—and her central role in the art world as teacher, administrator, and recently, as the founder of the exhibition space Terrain, which invites artists to create installations and performances using the exterior of her Oak Park home. She earned both her BFA and MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. Exhibiting since 1985, Ott has participated in over 100 solo and group exhibitions at institutions in Sao Paulo, Brazil; Auckland, New Zealand; Melbourne, Australia; and many cities across the US. Her work is in numerous museum collections including The Whitney Museum of American Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Oakland Museum of Art, and has been reviewed in Art in America, Art Forum, New Art Examiner, The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times, among other publications. Most recently she has completed a public art commission for the Chicago Transit Authority and a solo exhibition at the Chicago Cultural Center. She is Professor of Art at Columbia College Chicago.

The daughter of a potter and a painter, Jessi T. Walsh grew up studying marine biology in the Gulf of Mexico sanctuary waters of Florida. Her formative artist practice began with physical earthen and saltwater materials, then grew toward image- and time-based representations of corporeal discourse: drawing, sculpture, photography, installation, film/video, movement and performance art. Walsh has been a teaching artist, education activist and mentor for 15 years, serving young artists K-12 and college-level in all disciplines. Over time, cultural travel and residency in Europe, México, Belize and the American High Desert Southwest, marine science has morphed into inquiry of the botanical realm, where she became devoted to grafting healing tenets of bioregional plant medicine, mythologies and traditional ceremonial experiences into her performance work.

Krista Wortendyke (b. 1979, Nyack, New York) is a Chicago-based conceptual artist. She received her MFA in Photography from Columbia College in 2007. Her ongoing work examines violence through the lens of photography. Her images are a result of a constant grappling with the mediation of war and brutality both locally and globally. Her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Schneider Gallery and David Weinberg Gallery in Chicago, the Griffin Museum in Boston, and many other venues across the United States. Additionally, Krista’s work is part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and the Museum of Contemporary Photography. Krista is currently an adjunct professor of photography at Columbia College Chicago.


A concise online application must be completed by all teaching artists that wish to attend the Summit. Applications are due by Thursday, March 10, 2016. Candidates will be notified of application status by Monday, March 14, 2016.

Please note that applications are now closed.


As part of Chicago Artists Coalition’s partnership with Hyde Park Art Center, ​registration fees​ for the 1st annual citywide Teaching Artists Summit ​are being waived. We ask​ instead​ that all teaching artists accepted into the program contribute as they are able.​

A suggested tuition donation of $20 may be made online or at the door the day of the Summit and goes directly to cover costs associated with the program.​ Any contribution in excess of the suggested donation helps cover the costs of fellow teaching artists for whom tuition would be cost-prohibitive. Information about making a tuition donation will be sent to all accepted applicants.