New Chicago Detours Artist-in-Residence Program

Chicago Detours is not just a tour company but a cultural organization. We are dedicated to creating culturally enriching, educational experiences that integrate architecture, history and culture. So we are very excited to announce our new Chicago Detours Artist-in-Residence Program.

We are welcoming artists of various media to make and show a project that demonstrates an original, critical, and creative idea for interpreting Chicago architecture, history, archives, tourism, landscape, the built environment, urban planning, neighborhoods, and communities. Standard cityscape photography is not what we are looking for. Any kind of media is welcome as long as it is not messy (i.e. oil paints or chemicals) since the residency will take place in a shared office space. We offer two-months office space at no cost, and a $400 stipend for the eight-week residency (15 hours/week).

Details on the residency and how to apply are below. We thought it might be helpful to share some possibilities on what we are looking for in a project for the resident artist to complete in the two-month program. Here’s a quick list of art that captures our curiosity:

Creative mapping of Chicago. An example would be artist Tamara Kostianovsky’s maps made of hair:

US Map of Hair Installations or sculptures, perhaps using architectural salvage from places like the Rebulding Exchange. Example would be Meredith James’ See-Through:

Architectural ArtPolitically motivated paintings, drawings, or digital designs. While we don’t want too many chemicals, the design of paintings could certainly happen in the office. You have to love Chicago artist Ray Noland, his work pictured here. If you’ve been on our Inside the Loop walking tour, you’ve seen the picture of his Blago stencils.

Chicago Artist Ray NolandArt that uses archives of photography, art, advertising, maps, newspapers, magazines. Like Edra Soto‘s Ornamentos, which uses traced images from newspapers like the Chicago Tribune in metal:

Chicago Artist metal edra sotoSo that should be enough examples to get you started. Please forward on to your artist friends! And here are the details:

Program Goals

  • To encourage artistic inquiry into the city of Chicago architecture, history, tourism, landscape, neighborhoods, communities
  • To support local artists by providing office/studio space downtown with easy access to museums, architecture and public transportation to Chicago neighborhoods
  • To provide an opportunity for an artist to make and show a project (installation, documentary or experimental video, drawings, sculpture, collage, digital design, printmaking, photography, mixed media) that will contribute to his or her creative and professional development
  • To aid an artist in connecting with new audiences for their work

Chicago Detours Provides

  • 24-hour access to shared office space for two months ($550 value)
  • A desk with lockable space for storage
  • An exhibition or screening reception at the end of the residency (including refreshments, installation assistance, opportunity for sales, etc.)
  • A $400 stipend for supplies

Expectations of the Artist

  • Work in the office as often as necessary (must come a minimum of 15 hours/week and the artist is welcome to use the space to work on other projects)
  • Post weekly social media updates on project
  • Write three brief blog posts: one at the beginning of the residency, one for the fifth week, and one to conclude
  • Produce one work for Chicago Detours permanent collection

Residency Dates

  • Session 1: September 1 – November 1


  • Session 2: November 15 – January 15

Criteria for Evaluation

Artists-in-residence candiates will be evaluated on the following:

  • Feasibility: The project has clear and realistic goals, timeframe, and is physically feasible to create within the environment of shared office space (minimal painting and use of chemicals permitted).
  • Innovation: The project demonstrates an original, critical, and creative idea for interpreting Chicago architecture, history, archives, tourism, landscape, built envirnoment, urban planning, neighborhoods, communities.
  • Experience: Applicant possesses skill in his or her media and demonstrates an ability to create, experiment, produce and complete a project.

How to Apply

By August 15th, 2012 we will need to receive this form as well as:

–       Artist statement with proposal for the project you would like to complete in the residency (350-1000 words). This should include how the work will fit within what we do with Chicago Detours (in-depth, critical examination of architecture, history, culture, geography, and tourism)

–       Links or attachments to 3-10 examples of your work

–       Current resume/CV

–       The Chicago Detours Residency Application

–       There is no application fee.

All this information is also posted on our website. Looking forward to reviewing these applications, and very excited to have Chicago Detours contribute to the vibrant culture of the arts in Chicago.

— Amanda Scotese, Executive Director


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Private Tour Coordinator and Tour Guide

There is no shortage of things to discover in Chicago—I love being an urban explorer and uncovering its hidden places. I have an MA in Public History from Loyola University Chicago, and I have worked as a museum educator and kindergarten teacher. My desire to learn new things fuels my passion for educating others, which I get to experience every day as a Chicago tour guide. I live in the northern neighborhood of Rogers Park.

“Our guide Ellen was exceptional and gifted with a great personal touch.”


Tour Guide

Whether you are a first-time visitor or a lifelong resident, the vibrant history and modern majesty of Chicago never ceases to amaze. I’m a graduate of Columbia College with an M.A. in Interdisciplinary Art. I’ve worked for many years as an educator at City Colleges of Chicago. As tour guide at Chicago Detours, I integrate my enthusiasm for culture and architecture with my passion as an educator. West Town/Noble Square area is home for me.

“Jen was a perfect storyteller and kept us spellbound for hours.”


Tour Guide

With our Chicago neighborhoods, vibrant cultural institutions and nearly two centuries of larger-than-life stories, there’s never a dull moment here! I’m a fifth generation Chicagoan and a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis. In addition to guiding tours, I’m a creative writer and amateur genealogist. I also enjoy the city’s dynamic theater scene. You can also read overlooked stories from 19th-century newspapers on my “Second Glance History” blog. I live in River North.


Tour Guide

Chicago is unique as it always evolves into the future while holding on to the past. I’m fascinated by how people latch on to old architecture but happily pave over others. My background is in theater and performance and I’ve been a tour guide here for more than 10 years. Currently I’m finishing my Master’s in Public History at Loyola University because I love to teach the history of this scrappy city. I’m in the Edgewater neighborhood.


Operations Coordinator and Tour Guide

Chicago’s history is so fascinating, you could spend a lifetime uncovering its secrets…I’m willing to give it a try! I have an M.A. in US History from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and then pursued doctoral studies in Urban History at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I love to learn new aspects of Chicago’s rich history and then share my knowledge as a tour guide with Chicago Detours. I live in Ravenswood.

“Marie was a bubbling fountain of information and contagious enthusiasm.”


Operations Coordinator and Tour Guide

As a fourth generation Chicagoan, I have been living and loving Chicago by bike, on foot, public transit or automobile. I am a graduate of UIC where through the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, began my eagerness to understand the nature, history and impacts of urban planning and development. It is incredibly rewarding to give back to this wonderful city by helping out in the office of Chicago Detours. I live in the incredibly diverse neighborhood of Albany Park.
“Sonny was extremely knowledgeable about all things Chi-town.”
Wade K


Content Manager and Tour Guide

Chicago has so many neighborhoods, buildings, and by-ways that it’s hard to go long without seeing something new, or something familiar from a new angle. I studied Cinema History for my M.A. from the University of Chicago. I’ve worked as a culture writer for various publications and as an educator of the humanities at the City Colleges of Chicago. I’m thrilled to share my love of this city’s busy past and unique architectural spaces with Chicago Detours. I live in the Chicago neighborhood of Lincoln Park.

“Alex was fascinating to listen to. He clearly knows his history and it shows.”
Katie K

Amanda Scotese

Executive Director and Tour Guide

I’m an interpreter of personal stories from the past and the city’s landscape. I love to imagine what originally happened inside old unmarked buildings, and what forces have shaped their design. I studied Chicago history, architectural history, and anything Chicago-related through my M.A. in the Humanities at the University of Chicago. My love for stories was enriched by my B.A. in Literature from the University of Michigan. I’ve written travel articles for publications like Rick Steves’ Italy best-selling travel guides, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, and The Chicago Food Encyclopedia. I live in the Chicago neighborhood of West Avondale.
“You can TELL Amanda is hyper-passionate about doing the research and getting the story that nobody’s heard before.”
Shelby F

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