Click here to view the OE 2017 Program PDF!

Click here to view the interactive map for Open House programming!

Open Engagement 2017 — JUSTICE will take place April 21–23, 2017 at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a constellation of sites across the city. This year’s conference, guided by the curatorial vision of Romi Crawford and Lisa Yun Lee, will feature presenters including Theaster Gates, Maria Gaspar, Maria Varela, Ai-jen Poo, Marisa Jahn and Laurie Jo Reynolds.

Now in its 9th year, OE will bring together hundreds of artists, activists, educators, students, institutions, and thinkers to explore this year’s theme of JUSTICE, as well as take stock of the field of socially engaged art and practice. This year’s program will feature local, national and international presenters with more than 100 workshops, presentations, panels, conversations, tours, parties and projects. OE 2017 will feature a selection of focused trainings to provide attendees with skills and tools to help better address creative work at the complex intersection of art and social justice, as well as opportunities for intimate discussion during our Conversation Series. In the evenings, queer-inclusive nightlife organizers will host celebrations, guided by the belief that transformative acts of change are deeply indebted to these marginal spaces of collective joy.

OE is working with partners spanning the breadth of Chicago’s neighborhoods to represent the work being done at the intersection of art and activism across the city. Current partners include 3Arts, 6018 North, ACRE, Art Institute of Chicago, Bad at Sports, The Block Museum, Co-Prosperity Sphere/Lumpen Radio, Columbia College Chicago/Glass Curtain Gallery/Wabash Arts Corridor, Gallery 400/Threewalls/Propeller Fund, Hyde Park Art Center, Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, National Museum of Mexican Art, Party Noire, Rebuild Foundation, Reunion, Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, Roots and Culture, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Smart Museum of Art, The Stockyard Institute, TRQPITECA, and Weinberg/Newton Gallery.

In anticipation of the conference, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and the Art Institute of Chicago co-host a full day of pre-conference programming on Thursday, April 20th including panel discussions, break-out sessions and a performance.

This year OE will offer a sliding scale registration fee ranging starting at $40. Anyone who wishes to attend Open Engagement is welcome to come, and no one will be turned away for lack of funds. We also encourage folks who cannot attend the conference (due to scheduling or other non-financial reasons) to consider making a donation of any size. Your contribution will enable us to subsidize the cost of attendance for current presenters and those in need.

Open Engagement 2017 — JUSTICE is presented in partnership with The School of Art & Art History at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and marks the second year of a three-year cycle that situated the conference in the Bay Area (2016 — POWER) in partnership with the Oakland Museum of California and the California College of the Arts, and will complete in New York in partnership with the Queens Museum (2018 — SUSTAINABILITY).

OE is the largest artist-led conference dedicated to expanding the dialogue around, and creating a site of care for, the field of socially engaged art. Founded in 2007, OE has evolved into an unparalleled hub for practitioners and audiences to assemble. OE employs an inclusive open call model that supports emerging and established artists and organizers, highlights the voices of students alongside professionals, and collaborates closely with national institutions to further the networks of support for socially engaged art. OE is committed to the power of art to enact radical social change.