8 May 2024
Open Letter from AIC Staff in Support of SAIC Protesters’ Demands

On the afternoon of Saturday, May 4th, the Art Institute of Chicago (AIC) engaged the Chicago Police Department (CPD) to remove members of a nonviolent protest made up of students and faculty of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), as well as allies, in AIC’s North Garden. The museum assisted members of a CPD SWAT team by providing them access to AIC’s offices and the roof of the Ferguson office building.

As employees of AIC, we condemn AIC and the CPD’s excessive and violent response against nonviolent demonstrators, many of whom we consider community members. The museum’s alarming decision to call upon the CPD while SAIC was in negotiations with students resulted in the violent arrest of 68 demonstrators. This direct police violence bloodied two people so seriously that they were taken to the emergency room, and many more were held in jail for hours without access to food, water, or phone calls. As of this writing, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability has opened an investigation into the excessive use of force by police during this incident.

The students, faculty, staff, and allies had a clear purpose for their demonstration on Saturday: to demand the museum end any financial support of the Palestinian genocide, direct or indirect. We demand that the museum end CPD access to our campus. Working with heavily armed law enforcement officers, including a SWAT team, was a completely disproportionate response to suppress an unarmed, nonviolent group of art students. The museum’s statement uses the language of safety to justify its actions, yet the museum is the party who escalated the situation into violence by instrumentalizing the police.

The museum has been silent on the ongoing humanitarian disaster in Gaza and the complete destruction of Palestinian civil society and cultural institutions, including the razing of numerous libraries, museums, and universities. Museum leadership’s inaction on this crisis is unacceptable. As such, we support the demonstrators’ demands that:

—The museum begins the practice of publicly disclosing all of its funding and investments.

—The museum divests from all entities and individuals financially supporting the occupation of Palestine, including the Crown Family.

—The museum makes its first statement regarding its stance on the genocide of Palestinians.

—The museum rescinds and does not press charges against any protesters involved in the action on May 4th, 2024.

As one of the leading cultural institutions in Chicago, the city with the largest Palestinian population in the United States, AIC has both the power and the responsibility to end any and all ways in which it supports this humanitarian and cultural crisis. We expect the museum to honor its responsibility to the city of Chicago and us, the employees who work and live here, by taking meaningful action to oppose this ongoing genocide.

Signed,

Acassia Ferreira da Cunha, Technician, Arts of Africa | Arts of the Ancient Mediterranean and Byzantium

Amber Woodruff, Assistant Director, Data Management and Training, Advancement Operations

Amina Khan, Editor, Communications

Anna Feuer, Acquisitions & Collection Manager, Ryerson and Burnham Libraries

Armando Román, Digital Production Coordinator, Publishing

Atticus Bikos, Senior Enterprise Systems Analyst, Enterprise Software and Analytics

Ben Bertin, Senior Production Coordinator, Publishing

Chris Wood, AV Systems Manager, AudioVisual Solutions, Experience Design

Christina Warzecha, Technician, Modern and Contemporary Art

Christine Huck, Specialist, Art Installation

d. Wright, Facilitator, Ryan Learning Center

Daisy Wong, Technician, Frames Conservation

Dan Meyer, Assistant Director, Donor Stewardship

Devonne Radford, Cataloging and Records Associates, Ryerson Burnham Libraries

Elizabeth Upenieks, Production Coordinator, Publishing

Esther Espino, Technician, Textiles

G. Vicente Robinson, Project Manager, Institutional Philanthropy

Gillian Marcus, Assistant Conservator, Paper, Conservation & Science

Grace Scott, Cataloging and Records Associate, Ryerson and Burnham Libraries

Grace Wellin, Writer, Donor Stewardship

Hayley Hinsberger, Production Specialist, Imaging

Izzy Sheffield, Project Manager, Philanthropy

J Thomas de la Torre, Access and Reference Archivist, Archives

Jack Kinsella, Technician, Modern and Contemporary Art

Jenn Smith, Reference Librarian, Ryerson and Burnham Libraries, Research Center

Jonathan Worcester, Specialist, European Decorative Arts

Jordan Megna, Senior Business Analyst, Philanthropy

Josephine Maria Yanasak-Leszczynski, Rights & Reproductions Specialist, Publishing

Juan Molina Hernández, Photographer, Imaging

Kim Nucci, Audio Visual Technician, AudioVisual Solutions, Experience Design

Kloie Rush-Spratt, Learning Partnerships and Resources Educator, Ryan Learning Center

Kristen French, Assistant Director, Gallery Activation, Interpretation

Liam Collier, Museum Educator, Ryan Learning Center

Lucia Calderon-Arrieta, Student Experiences Educator, Ryan Learning Center

María Cristina Rivera Ramos, Assistant Conservator, Paper, Conservation and Science

Mary Broadway, Associate Conservator, Paper, Conservation and Science

Miguel Perez, Associate Director, Engagement Programs

nikhil trivedi, Director of Engineering, Experience Design

Nora McGreevy, Assistant Editor, Publishing

Rebecca Barresse, Associate Director, Collections-Collections and Loans

Ryan M. Pfeiffer, Technician, Collections and Loans

Salina Tsegai, Manager, Public Affairs

Sheila Majumdar, Editor, Publishing

Sofia Canale-Parola, Ray Johnson Project Cataloger, Archives

Taylor Healy, Assistant Conservator, Media, Conservation and Science

Thomas Huston, Technician, Architecture and Design

155
signatures
139 verified
  1. Lilliana Reinoso, Teaching Assistant, Printmedia MFA
  2. Emma Dreyfuss, Museum Educator, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago
  3. Pamela Granda, Museum Educator
  4. Sara Carminati, Former Employee, Publishing, Art Institute of Chicago
  5. Anneli Goeller, Lecturer, Film, Video, New Media, Animation Department
  6. David Norris, Academic Advisor/Lecturer, EIS, SAIC, Chicago
  7. Campbell Harvey, Public Relations, St. Louis
  8. Alberto Ponce, Academic and Career Coach, SAIC
  9. Melody Miller, International Student Advisor & SEVIS Analyst, SAIC, Chicago
  10. Liz Medoff, Academic Advisor, SAIC, Chicago
  11. jina valentine, professor, printmedia SAIC, Chicago
  12. Nesse Noss, Data Engineer, Minneapolis
  13. Né McNeal, Psychotherapist, Alumni, Chicago
  14. Haley Gallina, Photographer, N/A, Chicago
  15. Naomi Abraham, Student, SAIC
  16. Kristi McGuire, Professor, Adj., VCS/SAIC, Chicago
  17. Miriam Wright, Graduate Student, SAIC, Chicago
  18. Sid Branca, Assistant Professor Adjunct, FVNMA, SAIC, Chicago
  19. Mary Patten, Professor, FVNMA, SAIC, Chicago
  20. Grace Eickmeyer, Consultant, Chicago
  21. Abbey Fenbert, Writer, Chicago
  22. misha poklad, MFA VisCom
  23. Sarah Bastress,, Lecturer, CP, SAIC, Chicago
  24. Eric Leonardson, Professor, Adj., AT/SP SAIC, Chicago
  25. Catie Rutledge, Former employee, Exhibitions, Art Institute of Chicago
  26. Aiya Sakr
  27. Catie Burrill, Office Coordinator, SAIC, Chicago
  28. Michael Korzeniowski, Receiving and Distribution Specialist, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago
  29. Kelly Xi, Lecturer, SAIC, Chicago
  30. Kat Tae, Educator, Ryan Learning Center, Chicago
  31. Kaitlyn Fultz-Campion, Production Specialist, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago
  32. Elyse Allen, Assistant Director of Production, Imaging, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago
  33. Paige Naylor, AudioVisual Technician, AudioVisual Solutions, Experience Design
  34. Ashley Collins, Student, MFAW, SAIC, Chicago
  35. Molly Szymanski, Former employee, Art Institute of Chicago
  36. Fay Jenson, teacher, CPS, Chicago
  37. Erik Akerman, Teaching Assistant, Light Lab SAIC, CHICAGO
  38. Ruthie Rolfsmeyer, objects conservation graduate intern, Art Institute of Chicago
  39. Emnet Abera, Program Coordinator, Society for Contemporary Art, Chicago
  40. Sam White, Project Manager, Philanthropy, Art Institute of Chicago
  41. Lisa Ackerman, Associate Conservator, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago
  42. Peixuan Ouyang, Technician, MCA Chicago, Chicago
  43. Leila Mustafa, Hiring Advisor, Chicago
  44. Heidi Richter, 1987, San Jose
  45. Achaia Moore, Marketing Operations Manager, Art Institute of Chicago, Forest Park, IL
  46. Hai-Wen Lin, Lecturer, SAIC, Chicago
  47. Nikki Geslani, Former employee, Art Institute of Chicago
  48. Lily Clouse, MAVCS Alum, SAIC
  49. Reevah Agarwaal, Student, MFA, Printmedia, SAIC, Chicago
  50. Noelle Velasco, Museum Educator, Chicago
  51. Ále Campos, Lecturer, SAIC PERFORMANCE
  52. Loren Wright, Assistant Director, Interpretation, Art Institute of Chicago
  53. Jonathan Austin, Manager, Dark Matter Coffee, Chicago
  54. Claire Anderson, artist
  55. savanna li, Designer, student, SAIC, Chicago
  56. Misael Arrieta
  57. Ruby Que, Audio Visual Technician, Art Institute of Chicago
  58. Seth Kim-Cohen, Professor, SAIC, Chicago
  59. Leani Pinzon, Student, SAIC, Chicago
  60. Benjamin Javellana, Art Storage Manager, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago
  61. Jacklyn, Student, SAIC, Chicago
  62. Ben, APM, Indianapolis
  63. Schetauna Powell, Graduate Student, School of the Art Institute Chicago, Chicago
  64. Barbara Escobar, Associate Director, CRP, Art Institute, Chicago
  65. Veronika Kunath, Milwaukee
  66. Aidan Anne Frierson, Graduate Student | Fiber & Material Studies Department, School of the Art Institute Chicago, Chicago, IL
  67. Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo, artist
  68. lee rae walsh, artist and teacher, Chicago
  69. Cameron Mankin, Contract Educator, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago
  70. Adam Gottlieb, Teaching Artist, Cantor, Tzedek Chicago, Chicago, IL
  71. Susan Mamoun, Video Editor / Producer, Alumni, Chicago
  72. Adrienne Seely, librarian, Chicago Public Library, chicago
  73. Vanessa X, BFA Student, SAIC, Chicago
  74. Lane Maxson, Student, SAIC, Chicagi
  75. Emily Reinhard, Fishers
  76. Joelle Mercedes, Access Services Assistant, Ryerson and Burnham Libraries, Chicago
  77. Tabitha Diaz, Cleaner, Walworth
  78. Christine M. Schroder, Graduate Student, SAIC, Chicago
  79. Andrew Vo, Exhibition coordinator, Algonquin
  80. Irina Zadov, Cultural Program Manager, Chicago Park District, Chicago
  81. Madeline Seto, Alumni, New York
  82. Alyssa Sanchez, Student, SAIC, Chicago
  83. Saida Blair, MAVCS, SAIC, Chicago
  84. Jessi Zabarsky, Author, parks worker, Chicago
  85. Charlotte Adams, AIC member
  86. Matthew Marquez, N/A, Chicago
  87. Camille Jackson, Member Engagement Representative, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago
  88. Gabriela Trinidad Pérez, Project Coordinator, Ryan Learning Center, Chicago
  89. Mel Agarie, Coordinator, Engagement Programs, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago
  90. Frances Meng-Frecker, Member Engagement Representative, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago
  91. Mary Tapia, Museum Educator, Ryan Learning Center, Chicago
  92. Sabrina Sabella, Sales Associate, Retail, AIC, Chicago
  93. Annan Shehadi, Graphic designer and artist, MAVCS alumn, AIC member, Chicago
  94. Chloe Oslin, Student Affairs Coordinator, SAIC, Chicago
  95. Jonni Phillips, SAIC FVNMA MFA
  96. Sabrina Petrocco, Student, SAIC, Chicago
  97. Joel Jarquin, Student, SAIC, Chicago
  98. Rosalynn Gingerich, Associate Professor, Adjunct, Contemporary Practices and Arts Administration and Policy, SAIC
  99. Atlan Arceo-Witzl, Artist/ educator, Columbia College Chicago, Tenoch Press, Chicago
  100. Lily Namdaran, student, saic, chicago
  101. Melissa Grace Kreider, Lecturer, Photography, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago
  102. Elizabeth Verrill, Visitor Engagement, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago
  103. Lucas Hill, Student, SAIC, Chicago
  104. James Connolly, Faculty, Film, Video, New Media, and Animation
  105. Waverly Vernon, Student, SAIC, Chicago
  106. Eli Clayton, Student, SAIC, Chicago
  107. Sophia Anderson, Student, SAIC, Chicago
  108. Luluka Brown-Spielman, Student, Chicago
  109. Maggie Fan, Student, SAIC, Chicago
  110. Autumn Ellis, Museum Employee, Chicago
  111. Madison Ifft, Residence Life, SAIC, Chicago
  112. Sarah Jordan, Student, SAIC, Chicago
  113. Isabella Solano, Student, SAIC, Chicago
  114. Jia Curry-Bild, Facilities Manager, SAIC, Chicago
  115. Jing, Student, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago
  116. Chana Goldbloom, Artist, Chicago
  117. Latrelle Rostant, Queens, NY
  118. Riley Toland, Teacher, Alumni, Chicago
  119. Kaori Ikeda Wander, Art Therapist, Alumni, SAIC
  120. Lily Jaskowski, Student, SAIC, Chicago
  121. Jeanelle, Graduate, SAIC, Chicago
  122. Elias Finkelman, student, SAIC, Chicago
  123. Patrick Durgin, Professor, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago
  124. Megan De Paula, Membership Engagement Representative, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago
  125. Pratima Pinnepalli, Student, SAIC
  126. Maria Luiza Geyerhahn, student, SAIC
  127. Gabriela Mendez, Illustrator, Chicago
  128. Nick Matthopoulos, Member Engagement Representative, AIC
  129. Ariel Garcia, yoga teacher
  130. Tristan Jackson, Los Angeles
  131. Natalie Jenks, Registrar, Los Angeles
  132. Molly Grace Dickson, Artist, Minneapolis
  133. Jessica Lyn Bannon, Artist, Chicago
  134. Mack Spotts, Visitor Engagement Representative, AIC, Chicago
  135. Rosie Blyther, Educator, Alumni, Avalon
  136. Jules Zinn, artist, Chicago
  137. Julie Ganey, Art Institute Member, DePaul University, Chicago
  138. Snejanka Iordanova, Sales Assistant, AIC, Chicago
  139. Kyla Thomas, Manager of Distribution Operations, AIC, Chicago
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