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Art & Art History

San Miguel Arts Project

Saturday, June 05, 1999–Friday, July 02, 1999

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The San Miguel Arts Project served the children and young adults in the Back of the Yards community of south Chicago. Based out of San Miguel School and San Miguel Center, this program, in conjunction with a team of professional Chicago artists and DePaul University students, provided participants with arts training, mentorship, and resource support. The project began during the summer of 1997, when the realization of a permanent school space was underway. As a means of introducing a future Arts Curriculum at the school, 120-125 artists, musicians and cultural workers were contacted to participate in transforming the school’s environment. The proposed and installed artworks in the school were initially intended to provide a visual means for the San Miguel students to engage and complicate their assumptions of traditional and contemporary artworks on a daily basis. The result has served to provide both students and artists with a forum for critical explorations as well as a way to manage and apply a site-specific, creative literacy through meaningful production and intelligent dissemination of information and ideas.

The exhibit at Gallery 400 documented the results of this ongoing collaboration between Chicago artists and project participants, and showcased the artists ’, cultural workers ’ and DePaul Education and Art students ’ work created for the San Miguel School. Included in the show were works by artists who had been involved with San Miguel in the past, including a soft sculpture of a hairy birthmark by Sarah Whipple. Artist Michael Piazza worked with students to create the piece “In (Con) sequence.” Piazza had students highlight lines in found books, which were lined up on the gallery floor to create a new narrative. There were also other collaborative works by students, including a colorful narrative quilt that usually hangs in the school’s hallway. A host of artists provided a donation of their work to transform, elevate, inspire, and activate the aesthetic of the interior and exterior school community space. This show documented through photography, video, text, and actual pieces the results of the collective creative practice happening within the school since its inception. Also on display were proposals by artists for future projects at the school. The San Miguel Arts Project lasted for two years.


Miguel Accera

Study for Mural for the Virgin of Gaudelupe, 1997
Watercolor, 22 x 15 in.

Leticia Aldama

Kahlo Study, 1999
Linoleum cut on paper, 12 x 12 in.

John Arndt

Rough-Legged Hawk, 1999
Vinyl window decal, 19 x 13 in.

Brett Bloom

Proposal for a Place to Breath Easy, 1999
Booklet, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 in.

Cindy Bojorquez

Untitled, 1998
C-print, 20 x 16 in.

Patrick Collier

Instruction, 1999
Mixed media, dimensions variable

Carlos Cortez

Mineros de Nuevo Mexico, 1991
Woodcut on paper, 20 x 16 in.

Claire Blanche Dougal

Art Teacher, 1999
Cra-paz on paper, 36 x 24 in.

Lisa and Michele, 1999
Cra-paz on paper, 36 x 24 in.

Celeste Duignan

Untitled (Bird Houses), 1999
Mixed media, dimensions variable

Jim Duignan

delirium, 1998
Wood, pencil, 30 prose-poem, digital recordings, 18 x 14 x 5 1/2 in.

Renee Dryg

Dear Ms. Dryg, 1999
Paper, dimensions variable

Anthony Elms

Proposal I, 1999
Newspaper clippings and paper, 30 x 22 in.

Proposal II, 1999
Collage and ink on paper, 30 x 22 in.

Marc Fischer

Book Plate Proposal, 1999
Ink and colored pencil, 11 x 8 1/2 in.

Liz Goss and Josh McPhee

Peoples History Project, 1999
Five woodcuts, dimensions variable

Steve Harp

San Miguel Triptych, 1999
Digital inkjet prints, each 18 x 12 in.

Aaron Higgins

Althea, 1998
Plaster, 27 x 13 x 13 in.

Jo Hormuth

Untitled Multiples (Clouds), 1998
Cast concrete and paint, dimensions variable

Christine Kriegerowski and Ulrich Schlotmann

Untitled, 1997
Copies, dimensions variable

Steven Luecking

Saint Michael ’s Light, 1999
Proposal – Ink jet prints and mirror
Permanent Installation: Stainless steel and mirror, 5 panels 12 x 8 1/2 in. ;1 panel 9 1/2 x 11 in.

John Mindes

Untitled, 1998
Black and white photograph, 8 x 10 in.

Louise Nelson

D I and D II, 1969
Etching, 17 x 11 in.

Huddled Massed, 1970
Etching, 13 x 12 in.

Snips and Snails, 1969
Etching 23 x 13 in.

Janine Patten

Blue Dot Dress, 1999
Oil on canvas, 41 x 48 in. diameter.

San Miguel Students

San Miguel Angels, 1995-96
Mixed media on cloth, 10 x 6 ft.

Michael Shea

Rome, 1998
Black and white photograph, 16 1/2 x 20 1/4 in.

Prague, 1998
Black and white photograph, 16 1/2 x 20 1/4 in.

Jane Stevens

Clouds in Sky, 1998
Black and white infrared photographs, 20 x 28 in.

Passing Clouds, 1998
Black and white infrared photographs, 20 x 28 in.

Jacqueline Terrassa

Untitled, 1998
Embroidery on cloth, 27 x 116 in.

Sarah Whipple

Birthmark, 1998
Vinyl, 30 x 60 x 44 in.

Watie White

Corner of Argyle and Sheridan, 1999
Oil on canvas, 29 x 74 in.


Weismantel, Patricia. “Coming Full Circle: Integrating Life, Work, and Art.” UIC Alumni, June 1999, pp. 24-25.


San Miguel Arts Project is made possible by the School of Art and Design, the College of Architecture and the Arts, and supported in part by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.


Postcard: San Miguel Arts Project – Opening Reception


San Miguel Arts Project

Gallery 400
Chicago, IL
June 5–July 2, 1999

Opening Reception: Saturday, June 5, 1999, 12–4 pm

The month long exhibition will showcase the artists, cultural workers and DePaul education and art student’s work in the San Miguel School. To date, some 75 artists have created site-specific works, submitted proposals for future projects and worked alongside the students in the school to produce pieces in the form of books, video, photography, drawing, painting, sculpture, tapestry, and sound art. A host of artists have provided us in the form of a gift, a donation of their work to transform, elevate, inspire, and activate the aesthetic of the interior and exterior school/community space. This show will document through photography, video, text and actual pieces, the results of our collective creative practice within the school over the last four years. It will also introduce the larger arts community to our efforts as well as provide an invitation to participate and recognize the current group of artists who will present their proposals for future projects.