BOLT Residency


Location: Chicago, Illinois

Mission: The mission of the Chicago Artists Coalition is to build a sustainable marketplace for entrepreneurial artists and creatives. As pioneers in advocacy and professional development, we capitalize on the intersection of art and enterprise by activating collaborative partnerships and developing innovative resources. The Chicago Artists Coalition is committed to cultivating groundbreaking exhibitions and educational opportunities, and to building a diverse community of artistic leaders that defines the place of art and artists in our culture and economy.

CAC has been deeply rooted in Chicago’s artist community for 38 years. It was founded in 1974 by a group of artists who sought to create a better environment and future for the artistic community living and working in the Chicago area. In addition to building a supportive peer network for artistic development, the organization has also played an important role in city and regional arts advocacy. CAC was instrumental in the establishment of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs; proved vital in advocating for the Percent for Art Bill (now adopted by cities nationwide); and was directly involved in the creation of both the Illinois Arts Alliance (now Arts Alliance Illinois) and Chicago Artists Month, now celebrating its 16th year. Over the years, as the identity and needs of CAC’s members and artistic community have evolved, so too have CAC’s services and programs as a dynamic and responsive institution. Always endeavoring to be at the forefront of artist advocacy, CAC offers a unique hybrid of educational, professional development,and exhibition programming that empowers artists to realize their full creative potential while nurturing a community inspired by and devoted to them. In June 2011 CAC moved its headquarters to the art-centric West Loop neighborhood, home to many of the city’s leading contemporary art galleries and alternative exhibition spaces. CAC transformed the 8,000 square foot space to comprise nine working artist studios, two exhibition spaces that can also accommodate public workshops,and administrative office space.

BOLT Residency is a highly competitive, juried, one-year artist studio residency program offering contemporary emerging artists the opportunity to engage the Chicago arts community and its public in critical dialogue about contemporary art. Located at the Chicago Artists’ Coalition’s (CAC) 8,000 sq ft West Loop facility, BOLT provides workspace, creative community, exhibition opportunities and professional development for contemporary artists.

Cost: $275 for approx. 260sq.ft.

$400 for approx. 300sq.ft.

Application Fee: $25

Number of Artists: Up to 9 at a time

Accommodations: Open-plan studios and a 500 square foot gallery space dedicated to residents. One-year artist studio rental with 24/7 secure access. 9 subsidized studios, approx 250 square feet/studio. Free storage, two bathrooms + shower, slop sink, full kitchen. Option to share/divide or use space individually.

Monthly potlucks to build meaningful relationships, networks and resources. Work with your peers to creatively shape the residency according to your needs. Gain exposure and expand audience through CAC’s public programming.

Designated 500 square foot exhibition space for one solo exhibition + professionally curated group shows. Juried exhibition opportunity for one BOLT resident at EXPO Chicago. Third party exhibition opportunities such as MDW and EXPO Chicago. Studio as secondary exhibition space to showcase your work to interested parties. CAC’s full marketing support to the press and arts community, including press releases, postcards and
CAC works closely with you to develop a customized professional development plan based on your vision and personal
goals. CAC staff offers tours of your studio for potential collectors in your absence. Discounted access to CAC’s Art.Business.Create (A.B.C), a series of intensive educational workshops and consultations designed to build artists’ professional business skills (worth over $500). One-on-one studio visits with prominent members of the greater arts community.

Length of Stay: 1-year

Demographic/Medium: Painting, works on paper, sculpture, photography, new media, installation and film. Performers and sound artists are encouraged to apply, but may be required to provide applicable technology due to open floor plan.

We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, national origin, color, sex, age, veteran status, or disability.

Benefits: Studio Work Space (healthy and safe, open studio shared work spaces); Exhibition Opportunities (monthly rotating exhibitions of residents’ work in a dedicated gallery, including professional curating and marketing support); Professional Development (one-on-one studio visits from key arts/cultural leaders; free access to CAC’s monthly A.B.C. professional development workshops; and ongoing support from CAC staff); and Creative Community (creative peer/professional development community and environment encouraging and fostering collaboration among residents).

Deadline: 2014 TBA (about February 17)


EW-studioBOLT Resident’s Studio. Paintings by Eric Wall.


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