UIC’s Gallery 400 and Jane Addams Hull House Museum earn Terra Foundation grants for joint exhibit

Hull House Museum
Jane Addams Hull-House Museum and UIC’s Gallery 400 awarded grant from Terra Foundation for American Art.

In a first-time partnership, the University of Illinois Chicago’s Gallery 400 and Jane Addams Hull-House Museum have been awarded research and development grants by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

The grants total over $50,000 in support of a joint initiative of work toward the creation of two linked exhibitions to be presented in fall 2024 as part of Art Design Chicago, a Terra Foundation initiative exploring and elevating Chicago’s rich art and design histories and diverse creative communities.

The initiative, “Learning Together: Art, Education, and Community,” is a project that explores Chicago’s history of arts education. Considering the central role that education settings have played in the self-recognition, cohesion, and self-determination of numerous communities across the city of Chicago, the paired exhibitions will examine how pedagogical art practices in Chicago have constituted a democratic practice, whether in small classroom and informal learning settings, or in neighborhood groups or communities.

The Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, or JAHHM, will present new research that places a network of women at the center of Hull-House Settlement’s historic arts and education innovations of the late 1800s and early 20th century that continue to enrich communities in Chicago today. The Hull-House Settlement is associated with the theory of art, education and social reform of the Arts and Crafts Movement advocated by men like John Ruskin and William Morris. Lesser known is the role and impact of women, who made pragmatic art programs and advocated for the role of arts and education in society.

Gallery 400’s research will center on the progressive art pedagogy of disparate Chicago artist-educators in the later 20th century, with additions by practitioners in the contemporary period. The exhibition tells the history of progressive art pedagogues and their relationship to artworks co-created by educators and their students and those educators’ studio works that informed their pedagogy. A key aspect of the research will center on the contributions of immigrant artist educators and the diasporic practices of African American, Latino/a, and Asian artist educators, as well as the exchanges across cultures. Gallery 400’s 2024 exhibition will present the history of the city’s art pedagogy and practice that has laid the ground for that capacity, while also pointing toward bright possibilities of the future.

The Gallery 400 images.
Gallery 400 Credit: Tom Van Eynde

“Learning Together” aims to draw out the distinctive nature of arts education in Chicago, laying the groundwork to make arts education as emblematic of Chicago as labor rights or architectural innovation. The project will utilize a process that prioritizes collaboration, reciprocity and shared authority. Thus, a central element of the project is to convene arts educators, scholars and practitioners to advise and guide how the research will unfold. The first of two such gatherings will be held remotely in June 2021. Through this grant, JAHHM has invited Annie V.F. Storr, a resident scholar at Brandeis University’s Women’s Studies Research Center to join Terra Foundation for American Art’s Research Fellows and support her decades-long inquiries into the early art education efforts at Hull-House Settlement and the life and legacy of Hull-House co-founder Ellen Gates Starr.

Author and oral historian Mark Larson will advise both a JAHHM oral history assistant and a Gallery 400 Terra Foundation for American Art Research Fellow on capturing the disparate histories that are critical to the project.

“Both Gallery 400 and the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum are doing very important work in Chicago’s educational and cultural landscapes, and I am so pleased to see these two wonderful units in the College of Architecture, Design and the Arts partner for the first time on this timely shared initiative, made possible by the Terra Foundation,” said Rebecca Rugg, dean of the College of Architecture, Design and the Arts.

Gallery 400 director Lorelei Stewart added, “Gallery 400 is thrilled to be partnering with Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, the Terra Foundation and Art Design Chicago on this critical research toward what will be a set of impactful exhibitions. Arts educators are a backbone of the development of our society and of our amazing Chicago community. Our plan is to develop these first-ever exhibitions to tell the full story of pedagogy and art practice — rooted in the work of early progressive educators such as John Dewey and Ellen Gates Starr and then shaped and formed by the contributions of disparate educators who came to Chicago across the 20th century — to not only celebrate and educate on historical work but to uplift and support the everyday work of Chicago’s brilliant K-12 arts educators.”

“Jane Addams called the Hull-House Settlement ‘a protest against a restricted view of education.’ Women at Hull-House combined arts and education to create vibrant democratizing initiatives and pioneering approaches for women, children, and immigrants. The museum is excited to engage, for a second time, as an exhibition partner with The Terra Foundation for American Art’s Art Design Chicago initiative. The support will allow the Museum to work with Gallery 400 to connect historical arts education initiatives to present-day protest for equitable education and arts access,” said Ross Stanton Jordan, interim director and curatorial manager of the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum.

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