The Billboard Project

Curated by Karen Indeck

Artists: Yvette Brackman, Michael Glass, John H. Greiner, Arturo Herrera, Bonnie Hughes, Diane Lea, Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, Brooke Multack, Sungmi Naylor, Veronika Romero, Susan Sensemann, and John Terdich

The Billboard Project is a juried exhibition that takes place not only in Gallery 400 but also on the streets of Chicago. The gallery displays seventy competition entries, from which ten designs were chosen to be posted on billboards across the city, conveying varied public service and artistic messages. The winners of the contest—eleven students, faculty, and alumni from UIC's School of Art and Design—relay messages concerning AIDS, education, safe driving, and art, among other topics, and are on display for a month on billboards, courtesy of the Patrick Media Group, one of the nation's largest providers of outdoor advertising.

The idea for The Billboard Project grew out of a discussion about how UIC artists could exchange ideas with the community. John Terdich, a UIC graduate working at Patrick Media Group, suggested bringing his employer into the project. In keeping with Gallery 400's desire to connect the arts to other parts of the Chicago community, The Billboard Project was conceived as an intersection—an educational and artistic exchange among businesses for the benefit of a wider metropolitan audience. Since the billboards will be seen by an audience that might not choose to visit the gallery, the billboards are a vital new avenue into communities, and they provide the participating artists with a unique opportunity to work within an uncommonly public and larger-than-life format.

Competition winners include undergraduates Diane Lea, Brooke Multack, and Veronika Romero; graduate students Yvette Brachman and Sungmi Naylor; School of Art and Design alumni Arturo Herrera and Bonnie Hughes; UIC associate professors of art and design Michael Glass, John H. Greiner, and Susan Sensemann; and UIC adjunct assistant professor Inigo Mañglano-Ovalle. The ten billboards (two of the eleven winners collaborated on one design), are on view for a month beginning the first week in November. The billboards address such varied topics as AIDS and safe sex, anti-gang sentiments, Native Americans, the promotion of literacy, or artistic concepts. Lynne Sowder, a curator who has worked on public art awareness campaigns in Chicago and San Francisco, will speak at the reception. A bus tour of the billboards, sponsored by the school's alumni organization, is available following her presentation.