New shows offering solace and encouraging empathy open at Intuit

May 21, 2021

New shows offering solace and encouraging empathy open at Intuit

Photograph of a boat sculpture with intricate beading
Kevin Sampson (American, b. 1954). Port Wine Stains (detail), 2007. Mixed media, 48 x 48 x 36 in. Collection of Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, gift of Cavin-Morris and Kevin Sampson, 2008.1. Photo © John Faier

May 21, 2021—CHICAGO—In response to a tumultuous year, Intuit opens a collection exhibition on Friday, May 28, accompanied by textiles from the Social Justice Sewing Academy; both shows communicate themes of trauma and resilience.

The exhibition Trauma and Loss, Reflection and Hope: Selections from the Collection invites audiences to reflect on our shared human experiences of suffering, loss, healing and hope. Curated by Alison Amick, the exhibition features works by artists Emery Blagdon, Hiroyuki Doi, Lonnie Holley, Kevin Sampson, Dr. Charles Smith and Malcah Zeldis, among others, who represent different cultural and social backgrounds and came to their creative practice from various entry points. Selected works demonstrate their creators’ responses to the circumstances and times in which they live or lived, their hardships, and their resilience. Many of the pieces have not been exhibited in decades, offering audiences an opportunity to engage with the art for the first time in a long time.

While the complex, myriad challenges we face as a society continue, Intuit encourages guests to consider the lives of the artists as they contemplate and process the emotions and thoughts that arise as they experience these works of art. The creative paths and lives these artists journeyed demonstrate that powerful art can be created at any age, at any time and by anyone.

Complementing Trauma and Loss, Reflection and Hope, Intuit is pleased to partner with the Social Justice Sewing Academy (SJSA) to display textiles created by the program’s artivists, or artist-activists. The Social Justice Sewing Academy: Connecting Generations through Cloth features banners and quilts from the program’s Community Quilt and Remembrance Project workshops. Community Quilts are designed by young people who often come to SJSA with no or minimal art-making experience. The finished textiles speak to varied issues important to their creators. Remembrance Project banners memorialize the lives lost as a result of murder by authority figures or violence rooted in community, race, or gender and sexuality discrimination.

Founded in 2017, SJSA is a youth education program that bridges artistic expression with activism to advocate for social justice. Through hands-on workshops hosted throughout the United States, the organization empowers young people to use textile art as a vehicle for community cohesion and personal transformation to become agents of social change.

The Social Justice Sewing Academy: Connecting Generations through Cloth will be on view at Intuit throughout the summer until August 22, 2021. Trauma and Loss, Reflection and Hope will be on exhibition into the fall until October 31, 2021. Advanced, timed-entry tickets are required to visit Intuit. Guests can reserve admission on Tock.


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 audiences. The museum’s mission—to celebrate the power of outsider art—is grounded in the ethos that powerful art can be found in unexpected places and made by unexpected creators.

Intuit is open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday through Sunday and reserves admission by appointment for guests who are in an increased risk group.