Artist Catalyst Program

The South Side Community Art Center is pleased to announce receipt of a Public Art & Civic  Engagement (PACE) Capacity Building Initiative grant from the Mural Arts Institute, a program  of Mural Arts Philadelphia! This has enabled the creation of an Artist Catalyst program in which  the SSCAC will commission two artists or artist collectives to produce community murals with  support from the SSCAC and technical support from the Mural Arts Institute. 


*Please note that a capacity building workshop and information session for those interested in submitting a proposal will be held on May 10, 2021, 12-1:30pm via Zoom.

Registration link here:

The first 50 participants to register and attend the May 10th workshop will receive a $30 gift card to a Bronzeville eatery!



The Artist Catalyst program seeks to build the capacity of artists in working with  community to produce socially engaged, participatory public art projects. Selected artists may  be at any career stage: emerging artists, mid-career artists, and master muralists are all invited  to apply.  

Two artists or collectives will be chosen by a jury as Artist Catalysts for this program. One  selection will be made for a project to be completed in 2021 (the current process), and one to  be completed in 2022. Each individual or group will participate in several events, including a  PACE Incubator symposium, Mural Arts Institute Symposia, and learning opportunities in  collaboration with the South Side Community Art Center’s Public Art Manager, Dorian Sylvain  ( Each artist or collective will receive an artist fee and production  funds to produce a mural. Artist Catalysts will also receive project management support to lead  their community-based project and mentorship by a Mural Arts Institute staff artist. Artists will  work with the South Side Community Art Center to explore project ideas, goals, and strategies  as part of the kick-off PACE Incubator hosted virtually in July 2021 by Mural Arts Philadelphia.  

  • Create a socially engaged, participatory public art piece that involves the local community in a specific  neighborhood of the South or West Side of Chicago. Projects connected to the Center’s Bronzeville neighborhood  are especially welcome but we will consider all proposals.  
  • Work closely with the South Side Community Art Center to develop, document, and reflect on the project, its  goals and engagement strategies.  
  • Participate in symposia and learning activities to collectively learn with and from a national network of socially  engaged public art practitioners through the PACE Capacity Building Initiative. 
  • Participate in Mural Arts Institute’s reflection and learning goals and work through specific reflection  assignments and activities tbd with the South Side Community Art Center and Sherman Cultural Strategies, PACE  Initiative Reflection Partner.
COMMUNITY: Selected artists will work with SSCAC to develop a process for engaging the  community in the development of the mural’s design, as well as the actual production of the  mural itself. In this case, the artist will host a number of local neighborhood community  meetings to inform the design process and obtain community approval. The artist will develop a  strategy for community engagement and collaborative theme and/or design development. 



All applicants should try to attend a capacity-building workshop and information session on May 10, 2021, 12-1:30pm Central Time.

If you wish to be placed on a mailing list to be sure to  receive details about this session, please send an email to

Deadline for proposal submissions: May 24, 2021, by midnight 

Selection completed by jury: Mid-June 2021 

PACE Incubator: Late July /Early August 2021  

Artist Catalyst Project: August 1, 2021-August 1, 2022 

Project Completion: August 2022 

Reflection Period: August–September 2022 

Art & Environment Symposium: Summer/Fall 2022  

PACE Final Symposium: Spring 2023 

BUDGET: The artist fee is $15,000; production budget available to the artist is $12,000. The  artist will work with the South Side Community Art Center to detail a final project budget.  Funds can go toward expenses such as supplies, equipment, assistants, community stipends,  space, refreshments, as appropriate for each project. 


ELIGIBILITY: This call is open to established and emerging artists, with priority given to artists  who have a strong connection to the South or West Sides of Chicago and who live in the  Chicago area. Artist Catalysts will also be required to participate in the PACE Incubator  (July/August 2021) and confirm their availability in their application. Individual artists and  teams of artists are welcome to apply.  



Please send us the following elements by email and all labeled with your name: 

  1. Artist/Collaborative Statement of Interest, 2 pages maximum, (a) explaining why you should be selected  for this opportunity, including what you expect to get out of this experience (b) describing relevant experience and  skills that would contribute to your success in completing this project, (c) confirming your availability to participate  in scheduled portions of this program and (d) describing your connection with neighborhoods and communities of  the South and/or West sides and any specific relationships with specific sites that might be chosen for the project. 2. Short version of resume or a bio/artist statement of 1-2 pages. 
  2. Up to 5 examples of your work that give a sense of your skill and approach to this project, submitted as  digital images of no more than 1MB each or as a single PDF.  
Submissions and questions should be addressed to:


The Public Art & Civic Engagement (PACE) Capacity Building Initiative is made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The Mural Arts Institute is supported by the JPB Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

*Dyett Highschool mural image courtesy of artist Dorian Sylvain.