Chicago Art Department (CAD) provides space and resources for civically-minded artists to grow their practice while questioning the city we live in. CAD accomplishes this mission by providing artists with equitable and accessible opportunities for artistic development through subsidized Studio Residencies, Think-Tank Cohorts, Community Events, and contemporary Exhibitions and Programs. 

For 19 years CAD has advanced creative Chicago voices that otherwise might not be heard. Collectively founded in 2004 and rooted in Pilsen since 2005, CAD’s physical space features 11,000 square feet comprising two public galleries, private studio space for 20 artists, and community event areas. In 2019 (pre-pandemic), CAD hosted over 120 community events for close to 10,000 people.

Since starting the Studio Residency Program in 2012, CAD has worked with over 100 Resident artists, and through our partnerships and exhibitions, has exhibited works by over 1,000 artists. CAD aims to be a collective of diverse communities tied to each Resident artist and public program, creating a rich tapestry of community and culture working toward change.

With a mantra of TRY IT, MAKE IT, SHARE IT—CAD stands by advocacy for a more just society, and is committed to providing resources for the betterment of the city and culture we live in and call home—Chicago.


Chicago Art Department (CAD) has always been and continues to be committed to diversity, equity and inclusion. CAD is open to all artists, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, age, ability, gender identity, citizenship, geographic location, and income. Our board members, staff, and volunteers reflect our diverse community and are lead by a majority of BIPOC voices. CAD participates in equity workshops and  makes subsidized and fully-funded opportunities available to artists of color, non-binary people, and those with disabilities. CAD stands by advocacy for a more just society, and is committed to providing meaningful resources for the betterment of the city of Chicago.