Artist Catalyst Program
The South Side Community Art Center is pleased to announce receipt of a Public Art & Civic Engagement
(PACE) Capacity Building Initiative grant from the Mural Arts Institute, a program of Mural Arts
Philadelphia. This has enabled the creation of an Artist Catalyst program in which the SSCAC will
commission two artists or artist collectives to produce community murals with support from the SSCAC
and technical support from the Mural Arts Institute.
The Artist Catalyst program builds infrastructure
The South Side Community Art Center is pleased to announce receipt of a Public Art & Civic Engagement (PACE) Capacity Building Initiative grant from the Mural Arts Institute, a program of Mural Arts Philadelphia. This has enabled the creation of an Artist Catalyst program in which the SSCAC will commission two artists or artist collectives to produce community murals with support from the SSCAC and technical support from the Mural Arts Institutute Symposia, and learning opportunities in collaboration
with the South Side Community Art Center’s Public Art Manager, Dorian Sylvain. Each artist or collective will receive an artist fee and production funds to produce a mural in a process that involves working with community members. Artists will work with the South Side Community Art Center to explore project ideas, goals, and strategies as part of the kick-off PACE Incubator.
The First Artist Catalyst was awarded to Cecil McDonald, Jr., an artist interested in the intersections of masculinity, familial relationships and the artistic and intellectual pursuits of Black culture revealed through photography, video, dance, and performance. Please join us in an Artist Catalyst workshop and information session for all applicants on January 10, 2022.
To attend please email:
This call is open to established and emerging artists who live in the Chicago area. Individual artists and teams of artists are welcome to apply. The final work will be a community-informed mural or public art piece, but artists working in any medium(s) are encouraged to apply. The selected artist is required (no
exceptions) to participate in a two-week PACE Incubator hosted in April 2022. Week 1 of the PACE
incubator will be a virtual experience, while Week 2 will feature in-person activations in Philadelphia (Covid permitting). If there are specific resources that would enable your participation in the Incubator (for example, funds for a substitute instructor if you have teaching commitments, or childcare expenses) please include this information in your application; we expect to be able to make reasonable accommodations to facilitate participation.
● Create a socially engaged, participatory public art piece to be displayed in a specific neighborhood
of the South or West Side of Chicago. Projects connected to the Center’s Bronzeville
neighborhood are especially welcome but we will consider all proposals.
● Create and execute a public engagement strategy to include the local community of the South or
West Side of Chicago in the mural’s design as well as the actual production of the mural itself.
● Work closely with the South Side Community Art Center to develop, document, and reflect on the
project, its goals and engagement strategies.
● Participate in symposia and learning activities with a national network of socially engaged public
art practitioners through the PACE Capacity Building Initiative.
● Collaborate with the Mural Arts Institute, the South Side Community Art Center and Sherman
Cultural Strategies (a PACE Initiative Reflection Partner) on specific reflection assignments and
The artist fee is $15,000; Production budget is $12,000 (supplies, equipment, assistants, community
stipends, space, refreshments, as appropriate for each project)
● January 10, 2022, 12-1:30pm CST: Artist Catalyst workshop and information session: To
attend please email email@example.com.
● January 21, 2022, by midnight: Deadline for proposal submissions
● Early February 2022: Finalists announced
● April 18, 2022 - April 22, 2022: Week 1 PACE Incubator (Virtual)
● April 25, 2022 - April 30, 2022: Week 2 PACE Incubator (In-Person)
● May 1, 2022 - May 1, 2023: Artist Catalyst Project
● Summer/Fall 2023: Art & Environment Symposium
● Spring 2024: PACE Final Symposium
How To Apply
Please send the following to firstname.lastname@example.org by January 21, 2022 by midnight.
1. Statement of Interest, 2 pages maximum
(a) outlining a general concept for the creation of a mural and corresponding public engagements
that you would like to realize during the Artist Catalyst program
(b) explaining why you should be selected for this opportunity, describing relevant experience and
skills that would contribute to your success in completing this project
(c) describing your connection with neighborhoods and communities of the South and/or West
sides and any relationships with specific sites that might be chosen for the project
(d) confirming your availability to participate in scheduled portions of this program
2. One page CV/resume
3. Bio/artist statement of 1-2 pages
4. Up to 5 examples of your work that give a sense of your skill and approach to this project, submitted as
digital images of no more than 1MB each or as a single PDF.
There is no fee to apply.
Submissions and questions should be addressed to: email@example.com
About the South Side Community Art Center
Founded in 1940, the South Side Community Art Center is the nation’s only continuously operated community art
center of the more than one hundred founded as part of the Federal Art Project of the Works Progress Administration.
It nourished the careers of many important American artists—Charles White, Elizabeth Catlett, Gordon Parks, Eldzier
Cortor, Margaret Burroughs, the artists of AFRICOBRA, and many others. The Center has a long history of working
with muralists, from the OBAC Visual Artists Workshop who created the Wall of Respect, to meetings of the Chicago
Mural Group (the forerunner of the Chicago Public Art Group), and the installation of William Walker’s Wall of Love on
the Center’s facade. Today, the SSCAC continues its mission of conserving, preserving, and promoting the legacy
and future of African American artists while educating the community on the value of art and culture. The institution
maintains a deep engagement with its community in all aspects of its work. In 2017 the SSCAC was designated a
National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, adding to its Chicago Landmark status. Grant funds
from the City of Chicago, the State of Illinois, the Andrew Mellon Foundation, and the African American Cultural
Heritage Action Fund have enabled the SSCAC to begin major renovations to its historic building while also planning
an ambitious expansion. The SSCAC maintains an active slate of exhibitions, classes, and public programs. The past
decade has seen between four and eight exhibitions per year, including such innovative highlights as Demise of the
South Side Community Art Center (2009); AFRICOBRA: Prologue (2013); Looking forward with Love: Lessons
Learned from Our Past, an exhibition of the Black women artists’ collective Sapphire and Crystals (2018); Change the
Canvas, Change the World: A Landscape of Cultural Diversity (2018), part of the Terra Foundation’s Art Design
Chicago program; and Dear Jazz: A Visual Love Letter to Jazz Music in Two Suites, a collaboration with the Jazz
Institute (2019). In 2020, we hosted three exhibitions and curated a broad range of (primarily remote) programming,
intensified our social media presence, and enhanced communications with members and stakeholders.
Follow on social media: @southsidecommunityartcenter on Facebook and Instagram, @sscartcenter on Twitter
About Mural Arts
The Mural Arts Institute was established in 2017 as an initiative of Mural Arts Philadelphia, the nation’s largest public
art program dedicated to the belief that art ignites change. The Institute is dedicated to advancing research on and
development of participatory and socially-engaged public art practices and centers its approach around connection:
building networks, developing partnerships, and convening artists, community and partners to collaborate around
participatory, socially engaged public art practices. Our work is in service to a larger movement that values equity,
fairness and progress across all of society. We bring the Mural Arts model to other change oriented cities across the
country to help build their capacity to sustain community-driven public art projects. We work with artists, activists, arts
organizations, cultural institutions, municipal governments and more with the goal of igniting change with public art.
Follow on social media: @muralarts on Twitter and Instagram, and @MuralArtsPhiladelphia on Facebook