The Heat Light Water Project

Artists and Administrators

Jan Tichy
Jan Tichy is a contemporary artist and educator. Working at the intersection of video, sculpture, architecture, and photography, his conceptual work is socially and politically engaged. Born in Prague in 1974, Tichy studied art in Israel before earning his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he is now Assistant Professor at the Department of Photography. Tichy has had solo exhibitions at the MCA Chicago; Tel Aviv Museum of Art; Richard Gray Gallery, Chicago; CCA Tel Aviv; Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; No Longer Empty, NY and Chicago Cultural Center among others.  In  2011, he created Project Cabrini Green (2011), a community-based art project that illuminated with spoken word the last high rise building at the Cabrini Green Housing Projects in Chicago during its month long demolition.  Recently Tichy started to work on a long-term Chicagoland community project in Gary, Indiana.

The Heat Light Water Cultural Project (HLWCP) is a collaborative effort to preserve and reimagine one of Gary’s most endangered and historically important architectural assets. Through a partnership with local and regional artists, community members, and city officials, the goal is to develop a lasting engagement with the city by facilitating artist-run workshops in order to ultimately cultivate community-building.

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Jeffreen M. Hayes

Jeffreen M. Hayes, a trained art historian and curator, merges administrative, curatorial and academic practices into her cultural practice of supporting artists and community development. Jeffreen has developed a curatorial and leadership practice that invites community participation. She experienced success with this in Birmingham, Alabama as the Andrew W. Mellon Post-Doctoral Curatorial Fellow at Birmingham Museum of Art. During Jeffreen’s tenure, she organized performance art projects and the exhibition Etched in Collective History which commemorated Birmingham’s civil rights history.

Jeffreen earned a Ph.D. in American Studies from the College of William and Mary, a MA in Art History from Howard University, and a BA from Florida International University in Humanities. She has worked several museums and cultural institutions including Hampton University Museum, Library of Congress and the National Gallery of Art. Jeffreen held fellowships at Ithaca College in the Art History department and in the Cartoon and Caricature Division at Library of Congress as a Swann Foundation Fellow., She is an alumni of Chief Executive Community and Culture Fellowship, a program facilitated by National Arts Strategies. She continues to organize exhibitions and projects that span the early 20th century to contemporary time, with a focus on art of the African Diaspora.

bridge/arts is an entity Jeffreen created to provide administrative and curatorial support to projects like Heat Light Water. Currently, she is the Executive Director of Threewalls, a Chicago-based non-profit supporting the artistic and cultural development of contemporary artists.

Kyle Terry

Kyle Terry is an urban planning and policy professional with a focus on economic development and redevelopment. He received his Masters in Urban Planning and Policy degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago in May of 2015. Kyle has experience with non-profit policy organizations, economic development agencies and most recently the City of Gary’s Department of Redevelopment as a Policy Fellow performing economic analyses, GIS work, and policy and procedural research to tackle blight and abandonment issues in the City.
In addition to working on the Heat Light Water Cultural Project, Kyle is a freelance blogger on urban planning, redevelopment, and developmental issues surrounding sports stadia, and once canoed over 1,000 miles to the Arctic Ocean.

Sam Love
Samuel A Love is an educator, artist, and organizer in Gary, Indiana.Before returning to the Calumet Region from Chicago in 2012 he was a keyholder at Mess Hall and former distributor and occasional co-editor of AREA Chicago.
He has been photographing the people, ecology, and changing built environment of Gary and the Calumet Region for over 15 years. Since 2009 he has worked with the Central District Organizing Project to bring a creative dimension to community organizing in Gary’s historic Black Midtown community. This rewarding work has partnered Gary residents with artists from around the world resulting in many film, mural, poetic, and political works.
With the Gary Heat Light and Water project he has led an intergenerational workshop on documentary photography for the Center for Urban and Regional Excellence (CURE) at Indiana University Northwest. He has also developed “P.E.” a political education workshop series, teaching media literacy and studying local power dynamics.
In addition to the HLW he is developing G-NAP, the Gary Natural Areas Project, working with the Gary parks department, institutional partners, and the community to continue the storied legacy of conservation and ecological study in Gary.

Darren Pollard

Darren Pollard began teaching photography for the Western Contra Costa County Adult Education Program in 2003 (San Francisco Bay Area).  In 2005 Darren created an afterschool photography program for Seven Tepees, a San Francisco, CA youth organization.  In 2007 and 2008 Pollard served as curator for Glimpses in Time – International Juried Photography Exhibition (Oakland, California), that included over 50 photographers from across the United States and abroad.   He currently works as an instructional designer/e-learning consultant.  Mr. Pollard attended Illinois State University for his undergraduate studies and Sangamon State University for his graduate work in Community Arts Management.

Austen Brown
Austen Brown (b. 1985) is an artist living in Chicago, IL holding his Master of Fine Arts from the School at the Art Institute of Chicago. Using geography and a site-based practice, he works with sound, video, and installation to draw conceptual lines between sites, exploring the relationships of people to place.

His work has been shown internationally at EXPO Chicago, IL (forthcoming); Super-Sensor, Madrid, Spain; ACRE, Chicago, IL; Switched on Garden with funding from the Pew Charitable Trust, Philadelphia, PA; Flat Gallery, Chicago, IL; LODGE, Chicago, IL; Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, Wilmington, DE; Rebekah Templeton Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, PA.

In 2014 he was an artist in residence at ACRE, and has received several awards including the Municipal Arts League Fellowship, Siragusa Foundation Fellowship, New Artist Society Scholarship (SAIC), and the Sonic Arts Fellowship (SAIC).

Sadie Woods
Chicago native Sadie Woods graduated from Columbia College with a BLA in Music 2000. Since then she has had exciting careers as curator and deejay, showcasing her talents everywhere from academia to nightclubs, boutiques to museums. Sadie honed her curating craft at the national award-winning Marwen arts foundation and Resident Curator for Gallery 718 in Chicago’s East Pilsen Arts District. Often, Sadie lent her deejay skills beyond her numerous residencies to create sound installations for her exhibitions. In 2006, she participated in Ecole du Magasin’s International Curatorial Training Program in Grenoble, France, resulting in the collaborative editorial project “Harald Szeemann Individual Methodology” produced in partnership with the Department of Curating Contemporary Art at the Royal School of Art in London. In 2007, Sadie co-founded deejay collective White Label with a focus on performance and music curation for the service industry, cultural institutions, and tastemakers. She is a Resident Curator for Chicago Artists Coalition’s HATCH Projects (2014-15), and is currently pursuing her MFA in Sound at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2016). Sadie’s practice includes sound art and design, deejay performance, exhibition making, and collaborations within communities of difference.

David Rueter and Marissa Lee Benedict and

David Allan Rueter is a visual artist, programmer, and visiting professor in New Media Arts at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His creative practice makes use of a range of new technologies – including custom software, custom electronics, data dumps and feeds, GIS software, and computer-assisted manufacturing – and a variety of traditional media, including sculpture, photography, film, and performance. At the core of his work is a focus on the social practices embedded in both new and old technologies, the ways these practices can reinforce or challenge established categories and hierarchies, and the politics of visibility these practices engender and operate within.
A graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s MFA program in Art and Technology Studies, Rueter was awarded a 2013 Prix Ars Electronica Honorary Mention in the category of Interactive Art, and received a John W Kurtich scholarship for travel to Scandinavia. His work has been exhibited internationally, at galleries and festivals including Contemporary Art Brussels, the International Symposium on Electronic Art, and Northern Spark. Born in Ann Arbor, MI, he graduated from Oberlin College with a BA in Politics and a focus in Political Theory.

A native of Southern California, Marissa Lee Benedict is a sculptor, writer, lecturer and avid amateur of many fields and disciplines. Motivated by a deep curiosity about the function and dysfunction of social, ecologic and industrial systems, her practice is one of active observation; of engagement; of instigation; of experimentation. Currently based in Chicago, IL, Benedict lectures at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) in Fiber & Material Studies and works as the Program Coordinator for the Arts, Science & Culture Initiative at the University of Chicago. She has shown most recently in Chicago at threewalls (threewallSOLO), the DePaul Art Museum, Chicago Artists’ Coalition, Harold Washington College, Columbia College, Mana Contemporary, the Sullivan Galleries; in NYC at the Cue Art Foundation; and in Brussels at Contemporary Art Brussels. She received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and an MFA in Sculpture from the Sculpture from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC).

Sarah and Joseph Belknap
Sarah Belknap (b. 1983) and Joseph Belknap (b. 1979) are Chicago-based interdisciplinary artists and educators who received their MFAs from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Their work has recently been examined by Caroline Picard (ArtSlant), Steven Bridges (exhibition catalogue published by Contemporary Art Council and Hyde Park Art Center), Kate Sierzputowski (Hyperallergic), Janina Ciezadlo (Afterimage) and Karsten Lund (monograph published by Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago).
Recent solo exhibitions include Sarah and Joseph Belknap: Chicago Works at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, The Overview Effect at Seerveld Gallery of Trinity College in Palos Heights, IL and Afterglow at The Arts Club of Chicago.
Major exhibitions include Cosmosis at the Hyde Park Art Center in Chicago, Out There at PLUG Projects in Kansas City, MO, Ultra-Deep Field at Rockford University Art Gallery in Rockford, IL, The Party’s Over at the Soap Factory in Minneapolis, MN, and Imperfect Symmetry at  A + D Gallery of Columbia College in Chicago, IL.  In addition, they have presented performances at institutions throughout Chicago, including the Chicago Cultural Center, Hyde Park Art Center, Links Hall, and at the MCA.

Samantha Hill
Samantha Hill is a transdisciplinary artist from Chicago, IL with an emphasis on archives, oral story collecting, social projects & art facilitations.  Hill creates multi-media installations and performances within historic buildings, landmarks and public locations.  She received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and her BFA from Moore College of Art & Design.
Hill participated in residences, exhibitions and public projects for several venues including the Hyde Park Art Center, McColl Center for Visual Art and Innovation, Museum of Contemporary Photography: Cornerstone Gallery, Glass Curtain Gallery at Columbia College and the Center for the Study of Race, Politics & Culture at the University of Chicago. Her work is documented in several publications including the Chicago Tribune, Philadelphia Inquire, Time Out Chicago and WBEZ 90.1 Chicago Public Radio. Hill’s work is also featured in the book Problematizing Public Pedagogy, published by Routledge Press.
She received several honors including International Sculpture Center Award in 2006 & 2008, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago Trustee Merit Scholarship in Sculpture and Philadelphia Sculptors Award.  Hill received a nomination for a 3Arts Award: Teaching Artist category in 2014.

Cauleen Smith

Cauleen Smith (born September 25, 1967) is an American born filmmaker and professor of Visual Arts at the University of California, San Diego. She is best known for her experimental works that address the African American identity, specifically the issues facing black women today. Her rise into the spotlight first occurred with her much acclaimed feature film Drylongso earning her national recognition as a filmmaker. Cauleen currently resides in Chicago and is working multiple projects that explore the life of renowned jazz musician Sun Ra.

Kelsey Dalton McClellan, Caitlin Deutsch, and Rachel Haber

Kelsey Dalton McClellan, Caitlin Deutsch, and Rachel Haber are current graduate students at
the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) studying Arts Administration and Policy .
Kelsey works for SAIC in the graduate division and cooperates
the sign painting and gold
leafing company Heart & Bone Signs . Caitlin works for the Art Institute of Chicago in Museum
Education and coproduces
the art collective Ag47 in Logan Square. Rachel consults on social
media for various Chicago business and is currently interning with Gallery 400 and Patron
Gallery .


Paulina Budzioch

Paulina Budzioch is a graduate student in the Art Administration and Policy program at SAIC. Her research has focused on the implementation of digital technology into museum spaces and the positive role interactive design can play into visitor experience.  She’s also interested in graphic and industrial design projects that access ideas of sustainability, contemporaneity and accessibility.  Ultimately, she would like to work on digital initiatives that promote a sense of community and become platforms for visitors to lend their own voices into the museum space.