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 for over 40 years, 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.
The Chicago Artists Coalition was founded in 1974 by a group of artists who sought to create a better environment and future for the local artistic community. From its inception, the organization has played an important role in artists' professional development and advocacy. Historically, the Coalition 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.
Over the years, as the identity and needs of Chicago's artistic community have evolved, so too have the Coalition's services as a dynamic and responsive institution. Always endeavoring to lead new efforts of artists' advocacy and support, the Coalition's current programming includes professional development, online resources, and residency initiatives. In June 2011, the Coalition relocated to Chicago's West Loop neighborhood, home to many of the city’s leading contemporary art galleries and alternative exhibition spaces. It currently operates in an 8,000 square foot historic building with a lofty gallery and program space, artist residency studios, and administrative offices.
In 2012, the Coalition significantly expanded its programs and outreach by acquiring the Chicago Artists Resource website, known as CAR, from the City of Chicago. The Coalition was identified early on by the City and other stakeholders as the exemplary candidate to assume ownership of CAR because of the organization's long commitment to providing direct services to individual practicing artists and helping to build networks and resources for a thriving creative marketplace within the community. The acquisition of CAR fulfills important strategic goals for the organization, including serving artists in any and all creative disciplines, enhancing other programs and outreach for more diverse populations, and positioning the Coalition for national growth.