Learning Studio at DePaul Art Museum

Imagining a learning platform inside the DePaul Art Museum.

In partnership with artist Jim Duignan, DPAM seeks to explore the state of learning inside the museum. What are our essential experiences with objects? How does our current technological age improve, impede, or alter exchanges between visitor and exhibition?

Throughout 2023–24, the Learning Studio will serve as a space for conversations with our university students alongside artists, teachers, faculty, writers, performers, scholars, and the public to contemplate the adjustments of pacing, access, and engagement inside this museum. Together we will imagine how the exhibition might become a platform for building relationships and sharing knowledge. 

Can you see me? Weinberg Newton Gallery

Speaking at the opening of the exhibition about the 25 year old story from the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center in Chicago and artist and friend Michael Piazza. (Photo J. Pratt)
Customized sewer plinths and on the wall a selection of actual sewer rubbings over the years from youth, local artists, and SkyART artist contributors, and myself. (Photo WNG)

Learning Studio at DPAM

DePaul Art Museum, in partnership with Jim Duignan and Stockyard Institute, aims to pilot a radical and groundbreaking approach to engagement, learning, and experimentation within our galleries, collection, and beyond. This unique art education model champions intergenerational exchange and experimentation through the mutual sharing of ideas and resources amongst artists and teachers, and a fundamental shift in educational hierarchy, production, and benchmarking. Focusing on families in communities that have historically had little to no access to museum programs and no agency in helping to determine their subject matter or true purpose, this programming will use the Stockyard Institute as a model for radically changing the ways that we conceptualize teaching in museum spaces in order to more authentically and meaningfully engage with and learn from our publics and communities. DPAM’s current exhibition, which runs through February 13, 2022, is intended to set the conditions and develop key guidelines for the museum in order to launch an innovative, inclusive, and timely model of civic museum education in Spring 2022. By providing educational workshops and opportunities for teachers, students in the College of Education and Liberal Arts departments at DePaul University and beyond, DPAM and Stockyard Institute will build a network of families, artists, and educators who, with the museum, will learn how to build a more loving, engaged, and caring city through art.

Stockyard Institute: 25 Years of Art & Radical Pedagogy DePaul Art Museum

Stockyard Institute , an ongoing civic and artistic practice founded in 1995 by artist Jim Duignan in the Back of the Yards community of south Chicago, was influenced by community artists, revolutionaries, youth, activists, and radical teachers. Together, they instrumentalized the arts in Chicago neighborhoods to reimagine social, civic, and personal forms of public engagement. This retrospective brings together for the first time archival material, objects, installations and a radio station that exemplify a subversive art practice on the margins rooted in love, relationships, collaboration, and self-determination.

The first museum publication on Stockyard Institute will accompany the exhibition. Distributed by University of Chicago Press, the exhibition catalogue will feature contributions and essays from Julie Rodrigues Widholm, Director of the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive ; Rachel L. S. Harper, Ph.D. and  Professional Lecturer for DePaul’s Department of Teacher Education; Allison Peters Quinn, Hyde Park Art Center Director of Exhibitions and Residency; Jorge Lucero, artist and Associate Professor of Art Education at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; Jennifer Gray, Curator of Drawings and Archives at Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library at Columbia University; and Nato Thompson, founder of The Alternative Art School.

Work Force Development

Portraits by Faith

During the pandemic Stockyard Institute was gifted dozens of fiberglass planters and soil, plants, and labor from Chicago and Back of the Yards businesses. The aesthetic aspect of the project was developed by Lavie Raven and Jim Duignan. Lavie Raven invited local artists to exhibit their style on sets of planters and local business would / are sponsoring the boxes with funds going to the work force development Arts program., a Stockyard Institute and University of Hip Hop collaborative venture. Ellen Shapiro has built the network and connected local business with area police and architectural and design firms as we imagine a student designed playground in 2022.