The School of the Art Institute of Chicago announced today that it has received a gift of $2 million to endow the professorship of artist Nick Cave. The donation comes during SAIC’s fundraising campaign in celebration of its 150th anniversary.
The donation comes from Chicago-area arts patrons Stephanie and Bill Sick, longtime friends of Cave. Stephanie is a member of the board of trustees of the Art Institute of Chicago, which oversees the school, as well as a member of its Woman’s Board and has been a member of the school’s board of governors since 1994. The couple also endowed a visiting professorship at SAIC in 2006, which has brought such artists as Theaster Gates and Catherine Opie to the school.
“Bill and Stephanie have been extremely supportive of my position as a professor here at the school and have been very committed to the development of my career,” Cave told ARTnews yesterday by phone from Chicago, where he had just wrapped up teaching class for the day.
Cave recounted learning of the news while he was installing his recently opened show at MASS MoCA in North Adams, saying that he had a phone conference with many of the top administrators of SAIC, including the school’s president Elissa Tenny, who started in her post this past July. When he realized who was all on the call, he asked, “What have I done? Am I in trouble?”
Cave’s position will now be known as the Stephanie and Bill Sick Professor of Fashion, Body, and Garment. “Nick Cave is an exceptional artist and teacher, who has had a momentous impact on his students and his community, and we are so proud that he is the first recipient of this professorship,” Stephanie Sick said in a statement.
Cave teaches a program for students that he said come from various disciplines and forms of art making, and his goal is to help find the “proper means necessary” to express their vision, whether it be in the form of fashion, performance, instillation, sculpture of video. “The Stephanie and Bill Sick professorship states that I can continue to develop as a teacher, and move my assessments with what happens in the classroom forward,” Cave said. “I’m always trying to pay attention to what happens with the student body. How do you stay relevant and aware of their needs?”