With an increase in applications from CPS students, SAIC donors and friends have created new ways to support local talent.
In the last four years, SAIC has seen a 330 percent increase in applications from Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students. In response to this renewed local interest, the School has provided financial assistance and other support to make enrollment a reality. SAIC scholarships like the Bank of America Scholarship, Walter and Shirley Massey Chicago Scholarship Fund, and the recently established Sacks Family Fund ensure creative and talented students from Chicago have the opportunity to learn and grow in their own practice, while adding to the evolving diversity of SAIC’s student body.
Nathan Knize (BFA 2018), a sophomore at SAIC, is one of the 2015 Massey Fund Scholars. An exceptional student from a selective enrollment public high school, Knize grew up with five siblings in a single parent household. He knew going to SAIC would be a challenge for him and his family. He says, “Receiving the Massey Fund Scholarship was the most important event that has happened to me. The immense stress and uncertainty in my life were immediately resolved.”
Today, he is an SAIC student ambassador and member of the inaugural cohort of First-Year Scholars, an invitational, merit-based program with a focus on intercultural exploration and collaboration. In summer 2015 the group of 30 First-Year Scholars visited Sienna, Italy, to study architecture, geology, and Renaissance art—topics that fueled Knize’s work.
Knize now creates interdisciplinary work within the Printmedia, Ceramics, and Sculpture departments, incorporating processes of etching metal and Xerox printing. He uses rocks, minerals, gems, rhinestones, and marble to experiment with two- and three-dimensional representations. After graduating from SAIC, he hopes to pursue a Master of Fine Arts degree and become a practicing artist.
Jeanette Lopez (BA 2018) is a first-year transfer student in the undergraduate Art Education department and the recipient of the Bank of America Scholarship, which was established with a large donation generated by an art auction of works from the company's collection.
Lopez grew up in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood, a predominantly Hispanic community often portrayed in the media through news clips of gang violence. Lopez says she was oblivious to the violence that surrounded her. She admits, “I grew up unafraid of the world, and I knew I wanted to paint the streets of my neighborhood. Little Village has influenced my personal strength and my eagerness to learn and strive for the best.”
Lopez’s parents emigrated from Mexico before she was born, and she is the first person in her family to enroll in a four-year college program. While she has always been invested in art, she first considered SAIC when her high school art teacher, an SAIC alum, encouraged Lopez to apply. She credits her influences to contemporary female street artists.
Lopez has taken a particular interest in her classes in the Performance and Fiber and Material Studies departments. Seeing art as integral to the process of exploring identity, she plans to take full advantage of the resources of those departments and hopes to be a textile designer before one day returning to her West Side community to teach.
SAIC has provided her with the opportunity to work with likeminded people from different backgrounds. “It has allowed me to shape my own identity, knowing who I am and where I come from,” she says. “But it has also taught me we are still all the same—that people want to do what they love, and that is art.”