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LAUNCH Program Guidelines

Initiated in 2013, LAUNCH Invitational Retreat is a nomination-based professional development program for artists emerging from Chicago-area undergraduate schools.  

In a series of workshops, artist talks, panel discussions, and site visits, students are exposed to working artists and professionals from a wide array of contexts throughout the city, making this an excellent opportunity to develop contacts outside of academia. Ongoing engagement with a growing alumni network helps students build their community of peers and be proactive about their career development.

2018 Curriculum 

Informed largely by the self-assessments that nominated artists complete during the application process, the LAUNCH curriculum combines structured workshops and conversations, assigned readings, group activities, and focused individual work. 

Monday - Designing a vision for the future + developing a plan for your goals

Future Micro Bio + 3 Goals + BIG Question Share-Out | Brandon Alvendia // Selina Trepp // Penny Duff

Personal Values and How to Use Your Map + Compass | Lee Anderson

Your Inclusive Art World | Felicia Holman // Latham Zearfoss

Tuesday - Compiling Tools for Success + Building Community

Financial Literacy | Sarah Lombardi

Know Your Rights | Patrice Perkins

1821 West Hubbard Street Lofts Site Visit: Sustaining a Creative Practice + Building Community Outside of Academia | Anjali Pinto, Folia Loft // Chad Kouri, Post Studio // Jessica Pierotti, Latitude // Marcela Serment, Spudnik Press

Wednesday - Navigating the system + telling your story

Crafting a Winning Proposal + Artist Statement Best Practices | J. Gibran Villalobos

Group Critique: Artist Statements 

Connecting with an Audience for Your Practice | Sonnenzimmer (Nadine Nakanishi + Nick Butcher)

Thursday - Assessing your resources + finalizing a plan for action

Artist Lifestyles + Funding Models | Alexandria Eregbu // Brandon Alvendia // Huong Ngo // Selina Trepp

The Creative Project Canvas + Next Steps


Applicants for LAUNCH Invitational Retreat must be:
  • Completing a BFA or BA degree program at a partnering school
  • Nominated by faculty through an internal process
  • Able to attend the entire 3-day program

2018 School Partners

Chicago State University
Columbia College
DePaul University
North Park University 
Northern Illinois University  
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
University of Illinois – Chicago 
University of Chicago 


Designed to be supported in part by nominating schools and therefore at no cost to participating artists, tuition includes guest speaker presentations and consultations, all retreat supplemental materials and workbooks, online resource development, and meals throughout the weekend. LAUNCH artists also receive a complimentary 1-year Artist Membership to Chicago Artists Coalition.