Become A Studio Artist

We were founded with the idea that the studio belongs to its artists.

Our staff is responsible for helping the artists with the decisions they make both collectively and as individuals. The guiding principle behind the studio is to give people an opportunity to shape and be a member of an artistic community; a community that changes with the growing needs of the artists and one that is a contributing member of the larger society. If you or someone you know is interested in joining the Arts of Life community as an artist/member, please read the following guidelines.

Admission Requirements

  • Must be 18 years or older.
  • Must have a primary diagnosis of developmental disability.
  • Must have an interest in creating original art and becoming a working artist. We focus on the fine arts exclusively and do not work with crafts.
  • Must meet the DHS 30U program or the medicaid adult waiver requirements for funding (except private pay individuals).
  • Must be set up on Chicago’s Para transit transportation program or be able to travel independently.

Admission Restrictions

  • No recent history (in the past two years) of problems using knives, razorblades, or scissors.
  • No allergies to paint or paint products.
  • Cannot have PICA as a diagnosis not associated with autism.

If you fit our admission requirements and would like to schedule a visit, please contact Denise Fisher or call the studio at (312) 829-2787.

Our admission process is as follows

  1. The potential artist visits the studio accompanied by someone who knows him or her well. The tour should last at least an hour, with the potential artist doing some art activity and seeing the artists at work. The visitors take home information about the studio to read.
  2. If interested, the potential artist will give us permission to receive written information about them, to be provided by a caseworker or family member. While we review the written materials, the potential artist is invited to come in for a 3-day trial at the studio, getting to know the other artists in the community and becoming more comfortable with the work environment.
  3. At the next artists’ meeting, the current artists and staff discuss the trial visit and share opinions on accepting a new artist. The artists then vote on inviting the new artist into the community.
  4. If the artist is invited to join the community, the Executive Director will contact the case manager or family member to work out the financial arrangements and set up a start date.
  5. The new artist will have a 90 day orientation period where they will be a topic on our monthly meeting agenda and given feedback from the community to learn about being a member of our studio. 
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