Loft Teen Arts Project

THE LOFT TEEN ARTS PROJECT

A Visual Arts Commission for Chicago Youth

Chicagoland youth groups and individuals are invited to create an original piece of artwork for Steppenwolf Theatre’s new dedicated Arts and Education Center, The Loft. The theme for artwork is “The Future I See: Creating for Community.”  Youth submissions open April 21 and will be accepted until July 1, 2021.

This juried competition welcomes visual artists in all mediums (mural, photography, sculpture, graphic design, printmaking, collage, graffiti, etc.) between 14–22 years of age to submit their work for an opportunity to be exhibited in The Loft. Selected by a jury of celebrated local artists, creatives and curators in collaboration with Chicago youth and Steppenwolf Education staff, the winning entries will be displayed for one year at Steppenwolf, receive a $1,500 cash prize ($2,500 for group submissions) and receive a stipend for supplies and materials.

Who is eligible?

  • Artist or group of artists must be between 14–22 years of age
  • Artist or group of artists must reside in the Greater Chicago area
  • All entry forms must be submitted by July 1, 2021

Timeline

  • April 21 – July 1, 2021: Submission period
  • July 30: Winners selected and announced
  • Mid-September: Artwork installed in The Loft during the week of September 12
  • October 2–3: Artists invited to the new building opening celebration to see their work on display
  • Artwork exhibited in The Loft for one (1) year

Guidelines

The jury is interested in artworks that explore the unique feelings of joy, hope and diversity, which are often found in relationship to community. Artists are encouraged to reflect on what the future of Chicago’s communities could look like and submit artworks that feel authentic to themselves. The exhibition space is in The Loft on the fourth floor of Steppenwolf Theatre's new Arts and Education Center at 1650 N Halsted St.

  • The artwork must reflect the theme “The Future I See: Creating for Community”
  • The artwork must be suitable for public display for all ages at The Loft
  • The artwork must not include any logos, slogans or other forms of advertisement
  • The artwork must be original and unpublished
  • The artwork should be no larger than 5 feet in height, 10 feet in width and 4 inches in depth
  • Sculptural artwork should be no larger than 6 feet in height, 4 feet in width and 2 feet in depth

All eligible artwork received during the submission period will be subjectively judged by a panel of local artists, creatives and curators in collaboration with Chicago youth and Steppenwolf Education staff based upon the following criteria:

  • Creativity
  • Alignment with the theme and guidelines
  • Originality

Jury panel

The panel consisting of celebrated members of Chicago’s artist community in collaboration with Chicago youth and Steppenwolf Education staff will review portfolios of the artists' work.

ABOUT THE JURY PANELISTS 

Nick Cave (b. 1959, Fulton, MO; lives and works in Chicago, IL) is an artist, educator and foremost a messenger, working between the visual and performing arts through a wide range of mediums including sculpture, installation, video, sound and performance. Cave is well known for his Soundsuits, sculptural forms based on the scale of his body, initially created in direct response to the police beating of Rodney King in 1991. Soundsuits camouflage the body, masking and creating a second skin that conceals race, gender and class, forcing the viewer to look without judgment. They serve as a visual embodiment of social justice that represent both brutality and empowerment. Throughout his practice, Cave has created spaces of memorial through combining found historical objects with contemporary dialogues on gun violence and death, underscoring the anxiety of severe trauma brought on by catastrophic loss. The figure remains central as Cave casts his own body in bronze, an extension of the performative work so critical to his oeuvre. Cave reminds us, however, that while there may be despair, there remains space for hope and renewal. From dismembered body parts stem delicate metal flowers, affirming the potential of new growth. Cave encourages a profound and compassionate analysis of violence and its effects as the path towards an ultimate metamorphosis. While Cave’s works are rooted in our current societal moment, when progress on issues of global warming, racism and gun violence (both at the hands of citizens and law enforcement) seem maddeningly stalled, he asks how we may reposition ourselves to recognize the issues, come together on a global scale, instigate change, and ultimately, heal.

Liz Flores is a Chicago based painter and muralist. Her work experiments with how the human condition—with its interplay between emotion and memory—can be represented abstractly. She engages everyday human experience and the female body by using shape, color and form as a mode of visual storytelling. Flores, who grew up in Berwyn, IL, made the leap from corporate America into the art world six years ago. In this time, she has shared her story on the TEDx stage, CreativeMornings Chicago, and helped bring an interactive art installation titled ‘The World We Want’ to Michigan Avenue. Her mural work can be found throughout the Chicagoland Area and New York City. In addition to working with private and commercial clients, she has exhibited in galleries throughout Chicago and is driven by her interests in womanhood, belonging and inner life. 

Silvia Gonzalez is a multi-disciplinary artist, cultural worker, and educator in Chicago actively participating in spaces where collective wellness takes on critical dialogue, art making, and community building.  Her visual and audio work are a ballad to nostalgia--the borderline between myth and memory. Silvia has curated and facilitated workshops to address structures of power, imagination, play, confinement, and freedom. Her work has been exhibited at The National Mexican Museum of Art, Woman Made Gallery, Hyde Park Art Center, ACRE, and local grassroots art spaces. She is a member of the Chicago ACT Collective, Multiuso, and the 96 ACRES Project. As an organizer and administrator for the group POC (People of Color) Artist Space, she connects artists of color from across Chicago to resources through meet-ups and development opportunities. Gonzalez went to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and received degrees in Photography and Art Education. She has a master’s from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she wrote a  Thesis on the work done with The 96 Acres Project. She was awarded with the 3Arts Make A Wave Award in 2018 and the CAC + OtherPeoplesPixels Maker Grant in 2020.

SANTIAGO X (Chamoru/Koasati) is an Indigenous Futurist, multidisciplinary artist and architect specializing in land, architectural, and new media installation. His work illuminates the liminal space between the ancestral plane and our accelerating post-human world. X’s upcoming large-scale permanent earthwork, The Coiled Serpent, will debut in Chicago later this year, alongside his augmented reality application in development entitled, Augment Earth.

Alex Garcia is a Chicago-based documentary photographer and director. He worked on staff at the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune before starting his own production company, Three Story Media which specializes in authentic storytelling. Along the way, his awards have included the highest in the editorial and advertising worlds: a team Pulitzer Prize and a team Titanium Lion at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity.  He was called by HarperCollins "one of the world's leading photojournalists." His blog while at the Tribune became the basis for a book "Depth of Field: Tips on Photojournalism and Creativity", which formed a part of teaching programs around the country.  He has served on the board of the National Press Photographers Association and as an adjunct professor at the Northwestern University Medill Journalism program and the School of Visual Arts - NY. After traveling to Cuba for twenty years as a Tribune foreign correspondent, New York Times Journeys tour leader and family member, he started a company called Cuba Workshops which brings creatives to the island on authorized trips to photograph and build-bridges across cultural boundaries.

For more information on anything related to LTAP, please contact Manager of Education Partnerships Rae Taylor (she/they) at rtaylor@steppenwolf.org.

 

Apply now

Chicagoland youth groups and individuals are invited to create an original piece of artwork for Steppenwolf Theatre’s new dedicated Arts and Education Center, The Loft. Submissions will be accepted from April 21 through July 1, 2021.

APPLY NOW

THE LOFT

The fourth floor of Steppenwolf’s new Arts and Education Center, also known as The Loft, is a brand-new space designed to house all of Steppenwolf Education’s programming and inspire the next generation of theater learners, makers and appreciators. The Loft includes three dedicated learning spaces for young people to explore and create within, as well as gallery walls that will feature artwork created by Chicagoland youth. Steppenwolf's Loft: just bring yourself.

FAQs

You've got questions? We've got answers!
Be sure to check out our page of FAQs to get more detailed information on the logistics of the the commision, the artwork and all things Loft Teen Arts Project (LTAP).

LEARN MORE

Apply now

Chicagoland youth groups and individuals are invited to create an original piece of artwork for Steppenwolf Theatre’s new dedicated Arts and Education Center, The Loft. Submissions will be accepted from April 21 through July 1, 2021.

APPLY NOW

THE LOFT

The fourth floor of Steppenwolf’s new Arts and Education Center, also known as The Loft, is a brand-new space designed to house all of Steppenwolf Education’s programming and inspire the next generation of theater learners, makers and appreciators. The Loft includes three dedicated learning spaces for young people to explore and create within, as well as gallery walls that will feature artwork created by Chicagoland youth. Steppenwolf's Loft: just bring yourself.

FAQs

You've got questions? We've got answers!
Be sure to check out our page of FAQs to get more detailed information on the logistics of the the commision, the artwork and all things Loft Teen Arts Project (LTAP).

LEARN MORE