Best Day Ever: SAIC President Elissa Tenny
Downtown has come alive this summer with public art, from the Riverwalk to new murals on Michigan Avenue.
- The Loop also houses one of the best art schools in the country — the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
SAIC President Elissa Tenny gives credit to the faculty, who are "spectacularly talented working artists, designers and scholars" who "understand the value of an art and design education," she tells Axios.
- The artistic downtown landscape is fostered by the school and the museum, but the city has gone beyond just downtown in supporting art and artists.
- "It’s a healthy training ground for artists with a uniquely productive atmosphere for artists-run centers," Tenny says.
We asked Tenny to give us her best art-inspired day in Chicago:
🫐 Breakfast: "I'm a creature of habit. It's a yogurt with berries and a little granola almost every day. And always an iced coffee. From just about anywhere will do: Goddess and the Baker, Fairgrounds or the school cafeteria."
- "On the weekends, it's the vegan hash at Uncommon Ground in Lakeview."
🎨 Morning activity: "I absolutely love working at SAIC, especially when the day's responsibilities draw me out of the office and into all the great art on campus and downtown."
🦀 Lunch: "I'm a connoisseur of crab cakes, and Remington's has a great one — not too bready. Perfect with an iced tea."
🖼 Afternoon activity: "Heading back to the office, I'd hop into the Cultural Center, SAIC Galleries or the Chicago Museum of Design for a shot of inspiration."
🍱 Dinner: "I couldn't say no to Sushi Dokku in the West Loop. I'd get the edamame, followed by the hot daisy and dragon maki rolls. And the sake? Irresistible."
📚 Evening activity: "My husband and I like to go to Exile in Bookville, a year-old gem of a bookstore in the grand Fine Arts Building. Then we'd enjoy some public artwork — which is just everywhere in Chicago!"
- "We'd go see what's being projected on the Merchandise Mart. On the way, we'd pass by the expressive Richard Hunt at Randolph and Michigan, the playful Miró on Washington, or the bracing Andrea Carlson on the Riverwalk, an important reminder of the Indigenous land upon which the city is situated."
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