Skip to main content

Jason Pallas

Jason Pallas

Jason Pallas (Independent Study Project Leader) received his MFA from the University of Chicago in 2008, focusing on the dialectics of abstraction/representation, authenticity/appropriation, complicity/political activity, and ethics/aesthetics. He currently teaches at the Illinois Institute of Art – Chicago and leads a teen program at the Museum of Contemporary Art. He earned BA degrees in Studio Art/Art History and English from Rice University with a thesis focused on contemporary queer drama, and has also studied at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and the European College of Liberal Arts (Berlin). His work has been exhibited in Chicago and at venues throughout the country, such as Arthouse at the Jones Center (Austin), Urban Institute for Contemporary Art (Grand Rapids), Truman State University Art Gallery (Missouri), and the Indianapolis Art Center.

Jason has worked on collaborative, community-based projects for the past eight years. Professionally, he founded an after-school and summer arts organization for at-risk Latino youth called "Art Y Más," functioning in the critical position of manager, as an administrator and fundraiser, and also in the inspirational position of primary instructor and mentor. He also served as the Teen Council Coordinator at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, where he directed a group of 20 highly-motivated high school students responsible for planning, executing, and publicizing events that specifically targeted the young museum-going community.

In his artistic practice, Jason has teamed up with the late activist Beauty Turner for a series of Ghetto Bus Tours, where participants visit Chicago Housing Authority sites to interact with the residents for mutual understanding. He has most recently been collaborating with artist Joe Miller and the students at Unity Elementary School in East St. Louis. Through repetitive visits to the school, they have been able to create a variety of projects, some that stay at the school and benefit the community, and some that get translated into artworks exhibited elsewhere. In general, Jason's work occupies the intersection of the popular, the personal, and the political. You can see more of his work at

Jason lives in Rogers Park with his wife and two dogs.