Although it's a public university, tuition in the University of Illinois at Chicago’s School of Art and Art History is about $13,400 per year—that’s $53,600 for a four-year bachelor’s degree (for in-state students). But free education is part of the school’s director Lisa Lee’s new mandate for accessible art education.

Lee's first step in seeing this vision through is a new program funded by the National Endowment for the Arts called the UIC Free Art School. It will offer free art classes this summer, July 6 through August 10, taught by some of Chicago’s leading contemporary artists: Theaster Gates, Riva Lehrer, Jason Lazarus, Dan Peterman, and Jennifer Reeder, to name a few.

Admission is free and open to everyone on a first-come, first-serve basis. There is no lengthy application process and no entrance exam. (You can bet these will fill up fast.) To register:

The UIC Free Art School is continuing to add courses, but here's a current sample of what's available:

Alberto Aguilar

An Extraordinary Family Art Adventure with a Surprise
August 2 or August 3, 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 
400 South Peoria at UIC Art & Exhibition Hall

Christine Sun Kim

A Choir of Glances
July 15 and 16 at 3p.m. to 5, each workshop followed by a public performance at 5:30 
Chicago Cultural Center, Garland Room

Dan Peterman

City Mouse Country Mouse
July 19th, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Convene at 8 a.m. in Millennium Park, and take the train from Millennium Station to Manilow Sculpture Park

Theaster Gates

Soul Music and Soul Sculpture
August 4 at 7 p.m. to 10
Theaster Gates Studio (address will be given to attendees) 

Krista Franklin

Afro-Surrealism and the Contemporary Cultural Production
August 2 at 2 p.m. to 5
106 Henry Hall, 929 West Harrison Street

Faheem Majeed

"Seat of Power” Sculpture Class
July 19 and 20, 2 p.m. to 5 
400 South Peoria, Sculpture Studio, Floor 4

Elise Archias

“What the Hell is Contemporary Art Right Now?”
July 6th at 2 p.m. to 3 or July 8th at 6 p.m. to 7 
Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 East Chicago Avenue

Riva Lehrer

Ghost Bodies Portraiture Workshop
July 17 and 18, (this is a two-day workshop) 2 p.m. to 5 
400 South Peoria, UIC Art and Exhibition Hall, 4th Floor Sculpture Hall

Hannah Higgins

Croissant, Café au Lait, and Hausmann's 'City of Light’
July 12, 9 a.m. to 11 
Residents Dining Hall Jane Addams Hull-House Museum
800 South Halsted

Jennifer Reeder

Feminist Parking Lot
July 12, 2 p.m. to 5 
400 South Peoria, 5th Floor, The Great Space.