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High School Students to be Immersed In Chicago Art World

A dozen top students will trace “life cycle” of art in college prep seminar

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July 17, 2014 | by Megan Fellman

EVANSTON, Ill. --- A dozen promising high school students selected by Northwestern University from across the country and the globe will be in Chicago July 21 to Aug. 1 for an interactive adventure with some of the most intriguing people and spaces in Chicago’s art world. 

Students participating in Northwestern’s new college preparation seminar will visit and talk to key professionals at EXPO Chicago, the international contemporary art fair at Navy Pier, the Art Institute of Chicago, Christie’s, Theaster Gates’ Dorchester Spaces in Hyde Park, The Conservation Center, the studios of artists and Northwestern alumnae Jessie Mott and Anna Kunz, and some of Chicago’s most illustrious private collections, among others. 

The IN FOCUS seminar, titled “Explorations in Art and Culture,” will trace the “life cycle” of works of art from the studio through its sale and distribution in galleries, art fairs and at auction and look at how art is collected and cared for by individuals and institutions, so students understand the value of art from a variety of perspectives.

“This is the first seminar of its kind for Northwestern’s College Preparation Program, and we are proud to partner with some of Chicago’s top art organizations to offer this highly dynamic and experiential course,” Stephanie Teterycz, director of Summer Session at Northwestern, said.

In addition to field trips, the seminar includes readings, image-based discussions, reflective assignments and guest speakers. Goals of the seminar are: 

  • Provide a foundation for understanding the culture industry more broadly while revealing an insider’s view of the art world in Chicago as a basis for further individual exploration
  • Empower students to participate as agents of change in the arts and culture
  • Offer an overview of opportunities in the art world so that students may be precise and discerning in their academic and career pursuits

In addition, the seminar goes behind the scenes to explore the arts and cultural fabric of Chicago at a time when the city of Chicago is emphasizing cultural tourism. The “Choose Chicago” website reports 46 million visitors annually and $12.8 billion in direct spending, figures that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has promised to increase, in part through programming from courses such as this seminar that highlight Chicago’s many cultural resources.

Course professor Cynthia Noble, also adjunct lecturer at the Art Institute of Chicago and owner of Noble Private Art Tours and Events said, “With EXPO Chicago in its third year and the Chicago Architecture Biennale announced for 2015, Chicago rightly can stake a claim for the relevance of its arts and culture scene internationally.”