Playing and Reality
If artists are going to make something, they should make change. This has been the guiding philosophy of ACRE, an artists’ residency based in Steuben, Wisconsin, and Chicago. Few other efforts have had such a significant impact on the strengthening of Chicago’s artists’ community than ACRE (Artists’ Cooperative Residency and Exhibitions), which is now in its fourth year. It’s not the typical plein-air painting type of residency. Many Chicago and Midwest artists who attend the two-week retreat return intellectually nourished by ACRE’s focus on social and political art practices. ACRE’s founders and directors, Nicholas Wylie and Emily Green, are also artists, and the energy of their program is fueling the current conversation about contemporary Chicago art. Wylie is also the director of the new Mana Contemporary in Chicago, soon to be a stronghold of artistic pedagogy under his tutelage.