Adia Sykes is a Chicago-based curator and arts administrator. She graduated in 2018 from  the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) with a Masters of Arts from the Department of Arts Administration and Policy and has a BA in Anthropology from the University of Chicago (2016) with a focus on material culture and museums.

Her current research interests include examining the history and potential of curatorial practice as an advocacy tool for racial equity in the arts and racial and gendered identities explored in the visual and performative practices of emerging artists. Her Masters thesis focused on formations of self-organized networks of support that exist to sustain the practices of historically marginalized artist communities and maps this contemporary ecosystem of support. This map will later exist as an online resource for cultural producers in the city of Chicago. 

Her curatorial work has been exhibited at The Sullivan Galleries, Woman Made Gallery, the Chicago Mayor’s Office, and ACRE Projects.


2018 | Unstable, Comfort Station (Chicago)

2018 | Project Radio London. 2018 Terni Festival (Italy)

2018 | A Landscape Made Up, ACRE Projects (Chicago)

2018 |Structures Manifest, ACRE Projects (Chicago)

2018 | Locating Memory, Mayor’s Office at Chicago City Hall

2018 | The Space We Grow Into, Woman Made Gallery (Chicago)

2018 | School of the Art Institute 2018 MFA Exhibition, The Sullivan Galleries (Chicago)

2017 | School of the Art Institute 2017 Fall BFA Show, The Sullivan Galleries (Chicago)

2017 | Shifting the Center, Sullivan Galleries (Chicago)

2017 | School of the Art Institute 2017 Low-Residency MFA Thesis Show, Sullivan Galleries (Chicago)

2017 | Iterative Information, Origin Ongoing, Dean’s Office at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Institute for Curatorial Practice and Research/Centro Arti Opificio Siri  (Terni, Italy)
August 23-September 25, 2018
Inaugural Post-Graduate Fellow 

ACRE Residency Program                                                           
November 2017-Present
Curatorial Resident

Emerge: Graduate Journal of Arts Administration and Policy   
Programming Coordinator  (December 2017-May 2018)
Managing Editor  (January 2017-December 2017)

Black Graduate Student Association Research Symposium
Northwestern University                                                                      
April 14, 2018
Presenter: Contemporary Arts Ecosystems in Black Chicago

Doing the Work: Re-contextualizing Sustainability, and Inclusion      
A conversation between Angelique Power and Tracie D. Hall, moderated by Kamilah Rashied   
April 9, 2018                                                                           
Program Organizer

South of Pico: Kellie Jones in Conversation with Romi Crawford
September 7, 2017
Program Organizer

Bisi Silva: The Many Roles of a Global Curator                                     
April 1, 2017
Program Organizer


School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Master of Arts in  Art Administration and Policy                                September 2016-May 2018

The University of Chicago
Bachelors of Arts in Anthropology with Honors
September 2012-June 2016, Dean’s List 2012-2016

University College London,  London, United Kingdom
Affiliate Student in Anthropology
Academic Year: September 2014-June 2015

La Fundación de José Ortega y Gassett, Toledo, Spain
Spanish Intensive Language Program
September 2013-December 2013

Chicago Artists Coalition
September 2018-Present
CAC/Joyce Microgrant Manager

ACRE Projects
January 2019-Present
Director of Programming

Hyde Park Jazz Festival
February 2017-October 2018
Project Fellow

Department of Exhibitions, School of the Art Institute of Chicago September 2017-May 2018
Graduate Curatorial Fellow

Sullivan Galleries, School of the Art Institute of Chicago                
January 2017-May 2018
Graduate Curatorial Assistant

Art Administration and Policy Department, School of the Art Institute of Chicago          
September 2016-June 2017
Graduate Assistant

Chicago Dancemakers Forum                       
December 2016-August 2017
Administrative Intern

University College, London Ethnographic Collection
October 2014-June 2015
Assistant Curator

San Diego Museum of Man                                      
 June 2014-September 2014
Curatorial and Collections Management Intern