2022 Season

Stockyard Institute 25 Years of Art and Radical Pedagogy

Stockyard Institute

On View

Mar 12–May 07, 2022

An expansive exhibit including archival material, objects, installations and a radio station that exemplify a subversive art practice on the margins.

ON VIEW: Mar 12 - May 7, 2022

Rooted in love, relationships, collaboration, and self-determination, this retrospective of the last 25 years of community collaboration was presented in 2021 at DePaul University in Chicago and is now traveling to The Union.

Stockyard Institute is an ongoing civic and artistic practice founded in 1995 by Chicago artist Jim Duignan. Influenced and shaped by youth, radical teachers, and local activists, this continually growing network of collaborators instrumentalized the traditions of conceptual art and grassroots community organizing to collectively respond to the needs, questions, and hopes of those involved.

A truly "lived practice," Duignan's projects emerge organically from early, formative experiences in Chicago's neighborhoods and alleys, public schools and parks, and his encounters with artists working outside of the mainstream. Operating on the margins of institutions, Stockyard Institute utilizes artistic processes to create utopian spaces of radical equality. This exhibition presents a retrospective look at Duignan’s practice through objects, ephemera, and documentation and brings together key collaborators, past and present, to imagine alternative futures for the city.

Radical Pedagogy

At the core of Stockyard Institute is a radical rethinking of our traditional concept of education. Putting into practice community-based, egalitarian pedagogical strategies for teaching and learning inspired by activists and educators such as Jane Addams, John Dewey, and Paulo Freire, Stockyard Institute facilitates active collaboration with young people and those often excluded from institutional decision-making processes.

Lead Participants
JIM DUIGNAN was born and raised in Chicago. He is an artist and professor and chair of Arts Education in the College of Education at DePaul University. He started the Stockyard Institute in 1995 as an artist project and a small community institute in the Back of the Yards neighborhood of south Chicago.

RACHEL HARPER, PhD is an artist, philosopher, and educator in Chicago. She currently teaches art and music in the College of Education at DePaul University and leads the Teacher Institute at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Rachel consults nationally on arts program development, curriculum design, and pedagogy education for museums, schools, school districts, universities, and artist projects.

JULIE RODRIGUES WIDHOLM is a curator, writer, and arts administrator in Chicago. She is currently Director of Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive and formerly the Director and Chief Curator of DePaul Art Museum, where she led the strategic and artistic vision to promote equity and interdisciplinary exhibitions, collections and programs in art museums. Prior to DPAM, Widholm was a curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. During the last 20 years she has organized more than 100 solo and group exhibitions.

Learn More About The Stockyard Institute

3D Tour of the Exhibit

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  • While COVID-19 spread remains high in our community, The Union requires masks be worn in the building at all times. Capacity is limited to 5 guests at one time in the Wanda D. Ewing Gallery.