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Arts Specialist - Chicago

Arts of Life, a 501C3 nonprofit, advances the creative arts community by providing artists with intellectual and developmental disabilities a collective space to expand their practice and strengthen their leadership. Founded in 2000, Arts of Life is realizing its vision of a working, person-centric, artistic community that provides a work environment of equality. Today, we represent over 60 artists at two professional art studio locations in Chicago and Glenview, IL.

The Opportunity

The Arts Specialists work one-on-one with Arts of Life’s artists to ensure they are active members of the Arts of Life community. This position supports artists in developing their creative practice, facilitating art material use, and implementing professional development plans. As needed and in collaboration with other staff, this position also aids with artist personal care, including toileting and mealtime assistance. The Arts Specialists help plan, support, and facilitate on and off-site programming and are responsible for the day-to-day supervision of our interns and volunteers.

The Role

  • Collaborative Programming: Plan, support, and facilitate on and off-site programming, including transportation needs and the supervision of Program interns and volunteers. Monitor supply levels, advise the Studio Manager on needs before they arise, and assist with order fulfillment.
  • AofL Culture: Develop a strong sense of belonging that emphasizes radical vulnerability and candor and promotes transparency and collaboration within your team and artists.
  • Artists Leadership: Ensure artists are key contributors to your program development by providing leadership opportunities and including them in critical relationships and decisions.
  • Administration and Documentation: Maintain accurate and timely records and reporting, ensuring Arts of Life meets all licensing requirements and expectations. In collaboration with the Programming Team, support artists’ plans and maintain communication with the Community Resources Coordinator with case management updates.
  • Personal Care Support: Assist artists of all genders who require personal care in the bathroom, appropriately report any medical issues observed, and ensure that the bathroom(s) remain sanitary, organized, and inviting. Support artists who need assistance eating and ensure that food items are appropriate for each individual’s dietary needs.
  • Artistic Mentorship: Facilitate artmaking by assisting artists in accessing art supplies for their projects and developing and maintaining adaptive supplies as needed. Give artists technical assistance related to their projects and provide daily written documentation on the artists with which you work. Assist artists with social media and basic technical support.
  • Exhibitions & Events: Attend and provide support at occasional Circle Contemporary events, Arts of Life events, and external exhibitions. Assist artists with transportation to/from external events.
  • From time to time, you may be assigned other job-related duties within your scope of practice.

What You’ll Need to be Successful

  • Bachelor’s degree in fine arts with an emphasis in painting, drawing, or mixed media, a comparable active (at least two years) arts practice, or commensurate experience in the arts.
  • Registered Direct Support Person (DSP) in the state of Illinois or willing to pursue registration through The Arts of Life.
  • A valid driver’s license and proof of insurance are preferred.
  • Ability to bend and lift to assist with a one or two-person manual transfer. Experience with Hoyer lifts is preferred
  • Ability to perform basic physical moves such as kneeling, reaching, crouching, bending, and twisting
  • CPR and First Aid certification or willingness to pursue certification through Arts of Life upon hire.
  • Fully vaccinated (2 Pfizer/Moderna or 1 J&J) + boosters as recommended against COVID-19
  • Fully vaccinated against this season's flu

Knowledge, skills, and behaviors:

  • An excellent skill set in abstraction, realism, or mixed media arts and a broad familiarity with art materials.
  • Knowledge of proper artwork handling preferred.
  • Takes initiative; is dedicated and creative, with strong organizational and time management skills.
  • Commitment to the process of artistic skills development as an avenue for growth and independence for people with intellectual/ developmental disabilities.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills.
  • Analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Proficiency in Google Drive required
  • Skilled at establishing and cultivating strong relationships with peers across different levels of the organization and externally
  • Experience delegating to and supervising interns or volunteers.

Compensation & Benefits

  • $17.30/hour
  • Health
  • Dental
  • Vision discount program
  • FSA (after 12 months of service)
  • Generous PTO and sick days
  • Parental Leave
  • Costco Membership
  • Retirement Savings Plan


This is a full-time (40 hours) in-person position. Generally, a weekday, daytime position with hours approximately from 8:30 am - 4:30 pm. However, Arts of Life is an operating art studio, and your hours may occasionally fluctuate during events, exhibitions, or other times. Your workload may call for you to work longer days or weekend hours to complete your job duties. You will work together with your supervisor to come up with a schedule that meets your needs and the needs of the studio.

Our Culture

Arts of Life is proud to foster a culture of collaboration and respect. We strive to function under a relatively flat hierarchy, with collective decision-making at the heart of our initiatives. Work is typically done in small teams, and Leadership is enthusiastically accessible to all employees. Work-life balance is highly encouraged, and employees are welcome to use the studio facilities after hours and on weekends.

Be Yourself

Arts of Life is firmly committed to building a diverse team that reflects the communities we serve. We value your unique experiences and strongly encourage People of the Global Majority, LGBTQIA+ individuals, women, trans, non-binary people, people with disabilities, system-impacted people, veterans, and people of all ages to apply.

Interested candidates should apply at

Contact Info:
Adelina Feldman-Schultz
Job Type: Permanent
Location: Chicago, IL