Artist Brandon Alvendia leading an experimental art writing workshop for CAW at Western Exhibitions, Chicago, June 2014.

Artist Brandon Alvendia leading an experimental art writing workshop for CAW at Western Exhibitions, Chicago, June 2014.

Chicago Artist Writers is a platform that asks artists and art workers to write traditional and experimental criticism that serves under-represented arts programming in Chicago.

Chicago Artist Writers is a platform for art writing written by and for contemporary artists and their audience. Through traditional and experimental methods of criticism, CAW addresses the visual modes of production in Chicago — with the ultimate aim of reflecting and interrogating the interconnected aspects of cultural engagement within the community. We hold a cumulative proposition within our mission: through the unification of its writers, who are not simply ‘artists’ but are often also cultural maintenance workers; through the emphasis on under-represented artists and artists-run spaces that have long held an unsung space; along with programmatic efforts and educational outreach that serve as an impetus for dialogue, CAW aims to address both the polemics of our time and the social stratification of the art world.

Like any living thing, the Chicago art community is an ecology; like any system, questions need to be asked and answered. By fostering the diverse discourses between artists, art-workers, artist-run spaces, and institutions alike, CAW examines the many forms of contemporary practice through thoughtful engagement.


Chicago Artist Writers is an online platform founded by artists Sofia Leiby and Jason Lazarus that asks artists and cultural producers to write traditional and experimental criticism serving under-represented arts programming in Chicago. Since launching the project in fall 2012, CAW has been lucky to collaborate with a number of respected publications including Newcity Magazine, the Bad at Sports podcast,  Dilettante and Temporary Art Review. To date, Chicago Artist Writers has published over seventy-five articles from around fifty different contributors and provided coverage of events at 70+ venues around Chicago. The site hosts an archive of hard to find, underground exhibitions. CAW endeavors to formalize and expand a discourse that often happens socially amongst small pairings or groups but never has a chance to mature, become public, and speak back to the artist and the community.  

CAW is made possible in part by contributions from Readers like you

CAW (pronounced “kawh”) continues its commitment to well written, artist-centric, local criticism with the help of our readers. Please consider supporting writers by giving a small monthly amount to CAW through either Fractured Atlas or Patreon. Either way, supporting CAW means that contributors and editors get paid regularly. Become a supporter today at a level that makes sense for you.

Chicago Artist Writers is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions for the charitable purposes of Chicago Artist Writers must be made payable to “Fractured Atlas” only and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.




Patreon is crowdfunding website that allows readers to support projects by giving a few bucks per month. All of CAW’s content will always be free and public, but there are some special gifts for our patrons. Click on the Patreon link below to check out our page and subscribe. And thanks!


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