History and Mission


Intuit champions diverse artistic voices and pathways, inviting all to explore the power of outsider art. Founded in 1991, Intuit is a premier museum of outsider and self-taught art, defined as work created by artists who faced marginalization, overcame personal odds to make their artwork, or who did not, or sometimes could not, follow a traditional path of art making, often using materials at hand to realize their artistic vision. By presenting a diversity of artistic voices, Intuit builds a bridge from art to audience. The museum’s mission is grounded in the ethos that powerful art can be found in unexpected places and made by unexpected creators.


Intuit offers world-class exhibitions; a collection of 1,300 works of art; resources for scholars and students, such as the Robert A. Roth Study Center, a non-circulating collection with a focus in the fields of outsider and contemporary self-taught art; and educational programming for people of all interest levels and backgrounds. Its centerpiece is its Henry Darger Room Collection, a permanent exhibition and archive. Visitors from around the globe come to Intuit specifically to visit the Henry Darger Room Collection and get a peek into the world of one of the most significant outsider artists.

It is no coincidence Intuit is in Chicago, a city that has long supported outsider art well before its growing acceptance among mainstream art museums and the traditional art world.

In the world of outsider art enthusiasts, Chicago is renowned as the center for the genre’s recognition, and the genre is an integral layer of the cultural fabric of the city. In 1951 Jean Dubuffet delivered the now-legendary lecture, Anti-Cultural Positions, at The Arts Club of Chicago, during which he championed outsider art as a legitimate genre. In 1970 New York gallerist Richard Feigen wrote, “It is significant that Dubuffet made more of an impact in one hour…than he had in five months on all the New York artists. The importance of the Chicago trip was not for Dubuffet but for a small group of artists, critics, and amateurs who at that time formed the only pocket of understanding for the revolution of which Dubuffet’s speech was the manifesto.” Since that time, Chicago has been the arena for this artistic revelation.

For more than 30 years, Intuit has brought the perspectives of these artists to a public hungry for authentic work by exhibiting their art and creating programming that engages artists with the public. The museum is located in Chicago’s hip and growing West Town neighborhood, along the prominent Milwaukee Avenue bike and transportation corridor and adjacent to the primary north-south expressway and the Chicago Avenue blue line stop.

Visionary Awards

The Visionary Award is Intuit’s most prestigious award, given once annually to an artist, expert or advocate doing extraordinary work in the field of outsider and self-taught art.


  • Dr. Charles Smith, Visionary Awardee 2023
  • Frank Maresca, Visionary Awardee 2022
  • Lisa Stone, Visionary Awardee 2021
  • Lonnie Holley, Visionary Awardee 2020
  • John Maizels, Visionary Awardee 2019
  • Jenny Siegenthaler, Advocate for the Arts 2019
  • Xavier Ramey, Trendsetter 2019
  • Susann Craig, Visionary Awardee 2018
  • Tony Jones and Patty Carroll, Advocates for the Arts 2018
  • Cheryl Pope, Trendsetter 2018
  • Kiyoko Learner, Visionary Awardee 2017
  • Paul Levy, Advocate for the Arts 2017
  • Faheem Majeed, Trendsetter 2017
  • Judy Saslow, Visionary Awardee 2016
  • Janet Carl and Mel Smith, Advocates for the Arts 2016
  • Cara Zimmerman, Trendsetter 2016
  • Jan Petry, Visionary Awardee 2015
  • Carl Hammer, Visionary Awardee 2014
  • Ann Nathan, Visionary Awardee 2013
  • Cleo Wilson, Visionary Awardee 2012
  • James Zanzi, Visionary Awardee 2011
  • Mr. Imagination, Visionary Awardee 2009
  • Sue Fastwolf, Volunteer of the Year 2009
  • Angie Mills, Volunteer of the Year 2008
  • Paula Addington, Volunteer of the Year 2007
  • Phyllis Kind, Visionary Awardee 2006
  • Ruth Kohler, Visionary Leadership Awardee 2003