Contemporary Art Workshop records

Inclusive Dates: 
1949–2009
Survey Repository: 

This record forms part of the Chicago’s Art-Related Archival Materials: A Terra Foundation Resource project funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art. For this project, the Archives surveyed archival repositories throughout the Chicago region to identify art-related materials contained in their holdings. While the Archives of American Art does not own any of the materials described herein, information about those materials and links to the original repositories have been included when available.

Descriptive Summary

32 linear feet of materials consisting of administrative records, correspondence, artist files and portfolios, financial documents, exhibition planning and publicity materials, press releases, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, and other records of the Contemporary Art Workshop (CAW) in Chicago. The collection relates primarily to CAW's daily operations, including renting studios to artists, mounting exhibitions, offering community outreach programs, publicizing events, and raising funds through donations and grants. Also present are materials about the artists who worked with the organization; grant applications and donor records; and photographs, slides, and CD-ROMs depicting exhibitions and the work of artists.

Biographical Historical Note

The Contemporary Art Workshop (CAW) was a non-profit, artist-run gallery and community arts organization in Chicago (Ill.). CAW was founded in 1949 by sculptor John (Jack) Kearney and his wife Lynn, as well as artists Leon Golub, Cosmo Campoli, Ray Fink, and Al Kwitz. Kearney was the owner of the Contemporary Art Gallery, from which CAW evolved. CAW supported emerging artists by staging solo and group exhibitions to promote their work, offering classes and other technical assistance, and renting 20 low-cost studios. In addition, CAW hosted community outreach programs. CAW featured Chicago and Midwestern artists as well as national and international artists. CAW closed in 2009.