Artist Talk: Dr. Charles Smith

Saturday, June 3, 2023
1–2 p.m. central
756 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, IL 60642

Artist Talk: Dr. Charles Smith

Learn about Dr. Charles Smith, his artistic practice and the African-American Heritage Museum and Black Veterans Archive from the artist himself. Together with Intuit board member Cleo Wilson, Smith will discuss how he and his art and art environment have evolved over time.

Dr. Charles Smith stands outside of The African-American Heritage Museum and Black Veterans Archive in Aurora, Illinois
Ted Degener (American, b. 1948). Dr. Charles Smith stands outside of The African-American Heritage Museum and Black Veterans Archive in Aurora, Illinois, 1996. Archival pigment print. Photo courtesy Ted Degener

The artist talk will take place in the performance space at Intuit and conclude with a Q&A with the audience.

Please contact Lindsey Wurz at with questions related to accessibility accommodations.

Tickets to the artist talk include admission to the museum, so please arrive early or stay after the program (or both) to see sculptures by Dr. Charles Smith in the exhibition Ted Degener: At Home with Artists, in addition to Smith’s portrait and home video by Ted Degener.

Please check your junk folder for event reminders. Unfortunately, these emails are sent there sometimes.

This program is funded in part by the Alphawood Foundation, the Department of Cultural Affairs, Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, Illinois Arts Council Agency, Illinois Humanities, National Endowment for the Arts, Prince Charitable Trust, Terra Foundation for American Art, and individual donations from Intuit members and supporters.

Meet Dr. Charles Smith

Dr. Charles Smith stands outside, in front of sculptures; he wears eyeglasses and a black beret with a gold pin; his hands are extended with palms facing up
Photo courtesy The Art of Dr. Charles Smith, Inc.

A preacher, activist, Vietnam veteran and divinely-inspired artist, Dr. Charles Smith has a creative output that encompasses thousands of sculptures. These sculptures, made since 1986, depict the tragedies and triumphs of the African American experience. His works, many of which are gifts for his communities, challenge conventional notions of what art is and where it’s expected to be found. He uses the adopted title “Doctor” to communicate the elevated level of wisdom garnered from his life experiences and work. In 2023, Intuit awarded Smith with the Visionary Award, an accolade given to those doing outstanding work in the field of outsider and self-taught art.

Meet Cleo Wilson

Photograph of a Black woman identified as Cleo Wilson, smiling and wearing a black top, gray blouse and colorful necklace
Photo of Cleo Wilson by Cheri Eisenberg

Cleo Wilson has served Intuit as a founder, volunteer, board member, chief editor of The Outsider magazine, curator, executive director, board president (twice) and board member (again)! In 2012, Intuit awarded Wilson with the Visionary Award in honor of her service to the museum and the field of outsider and self-taught art.