Guests trying out the new (all photos by the author for Hyperallergic)

Guests trying out the new Microsoft Surface tablets at CAC. (all photos by the author for Hyperallergic)

CHICAGO — If you’re an artist in New York City, you’re probably aware of not-for-profit or publicly-funded resources for artists, such as the New York Foundation for the Arts or the New York Art Resources Consortium, and several others that provide online information for artists about job and exhibition opportunities, spaces for rent, career development, and counseling, and so on. In Chicago, those kinds of resources are much scarcer. But two outlets have been a reliable source of information for artists in the past few decades: the Chicago Artists Coalition (CAC), and the Chicago Artists’ Resource (CAR).

Some of the many resources provided by CAR.

Some of the many resources provided by CAR.

CAR was funded by the City of Chicago for many years, but when that civic source of funding dried up, they entered into a new partnership with the not-for-profit organization CAC. The result is a revamped website, which was inaugurated at a relaunch party at CAC headquarters in Chicago’s West Loop district last Wednesday evening.

JC Steinbrunner, editor of the CAR website, told me that the new design was “18 months in the making. It’s a got a completely new codebase, optimized for touchscreen navigation on smartphones and tablets.” And in fact the site was being demonstrated on a row of Microsoft Surface tablet/laptops, overseen by a bunch of Microsoft dudes in blue shirts. When I asked Steinbrunner what was new in the CAR site, he said:

“Almost everything. The old content is there in revamped form — jobs, opportunities, spaces, artists’ stories — but there’s lots more articles, and essays by artists as well as about artists.”

Also on display at the launch party were works by artists participating in two of CAC’s programs: the BOLT residency, which provides studio-based residencies for nine artists each year; and the HATCH project, which is an exhibition/curatorial/career development program for 24 artists each year.

A view of Amber Ginsburg’s “Charge” performance.

A view of Amber Ginsburg’s “Charge” time-based installation.

In the middle of the main room was HATCH program member Amber Ginsburg’s “Charge,” which consisted of a table laden with broken plates, and an LED lightbox powered by the starch from 500 potatoes. This display is part of a time-based installation, during which Ginsburg and her collaborators will make a bioplastic from the starch that will in turn be used to make casts of the broken plates in order to reconstitute them. Ginsburg’s work was selected by Anna Trier, who is one of the curatorial residents this year. With the CAC grant and residency programs co-existing under the same roof as the editors of the CAR website, this is probably the sort of cross-fertilization that the Chicago art world can expect to see more of in the coming years.

And has Amber Ginsburg used the new CAR website yet? “No. But I will,” she said with a sheepish smile.

Philip Hartigan is a UK-born artist and writer who now lives, works and teaches in Chicago. He also writes occasionally for Time Out-Chicago. Personal narratives (his own, other peoples', and invented)...