Posts Tagged ‘#art’

Drawing by Rachel Washington
Nov 02

Reflections on Three Workshops About Incarceration

By Bianca Diaz — Since June 2013, I have been doing an internship with Project NIA’s founder, Mariame Kaba, on writing and illustrating a children’s book for kids with incarcerated parents. Project NIA’s mission is to reduce our society’s reliance on arrest, detention and incarceration when addressing youth crime by providing opportunities for all of us to see that […]

"Kids by the Tree", image by Patsy Diaz

Students and Teachers as Artists: Collaboration in the Classroom

By Nicole Marroquin with Jennifer Klonsky — In fall 2013, I initiated a project in collaboration with two groups of students: with nine students from the School of the Art Institute (SAIC) of Chicago, and a group of children at the Telpochcalli Elementary School in Little Village, a small neighborhood school specializing in dual-language immersion and arts integration. Our class, Collaboration: Art […]

Image by Alana Varg

Introducing… the Chicago Radical Coloring Book

By Debbie Southorn — In June 2013, Chicago Childcare Collective (ChiChiCo) volunteers were asked to participate in a Housing Justice Bus Tour of Chicago, being organized by Communities United Against Foreclosure and Eviction (our partner org!), the Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign and Centro Autónomo. We were asked to provide activities for kids at each stop of the bus ride, and […]

“C is for Civil Rights” Children’s Social Justice Book Club

By Kristen Atkinson, Mariame Kaba, Jake Klippenstein, Eva Nagao & Mary Scott-Boria — Introduction In late 2012, Mariame Kaba, one of the cofounders of the Chicago Freedom School (CFS) and a board member of the organization, wrote to her Facebook friends asking if they would be interested in organizing a social justice book club for children. She’d been considering the idea since the inception of CFS six years […]

Recess Postcard
Oct 15

A Conversation About Recess at the South Side Community Arts Center

By Tempestt Hazel — The exhibit Recess, curated by Tempestt Hazel, was at the South Side Community Art Center (SSCAC) at 3831 S. Michigan Ave., from October 11 through November 9, 2013.  It included the work of contemporary artists as well as artists from the permanent collection of the SSCAC. AREA Chicago had an extended email discussion with Tempestt […]

Still image from Pixel Puppet Playground by Chelsea Cossu
Oct 14

Pixel Puppet Playground

By Chelsea Cossu — See the video here While expecting their first child, Chelsea Cossu invited her partner Stefano to experiment with the playground equipment in their neighborhood play lot. She then videotaped the shadows cast by rubber balls rolling across the playground equipment  projected on the rubber turf below, creating the illusion of a pixelated screen. There is […]

pencil rubbing by Jacob Klippenstein

No Children Allowed

By Jacob Klippenstein — When I was at the Cook County Criminal Courts (2650 S California Ave) I saw signs on a couple of the courtrooms. I noticed them first outside Room 307 when I heard a child reading line by line, “No children… allowed… in the… courtroom.”  Since phones and cameras are now banned from the courthouse, I […]


Crayola Architecture: Architecture for Humanity and Public Interest Design in the Hands of Kids

By Tom Veed — In April 2013, Charlie Branda, a long-time Old Town resident and mother of two, brought together the Near North Unity Program and Architecture for Humanity Chicago to help realize her vision of a nonprofit storefront arts center, providing sliding-scale classes for children and adults in the near North Side. The art center is intended to […]

A Conversation on Schools, Safety, and Poverty from a Child and Parent’s Perspective

By Chiara Galimberti with Oona & Florence Winners — Chiara Galimberti: I sat down with my 13-year-old twin daughters Oona and Florence to talk about their experience of being kids in Chicago. As a parent it was sometimes painful to hear about how the dynamics of Chicago have hurt my daughters, and at the same time I felt heartened by their ability to imagine […]

Jul 23

Creative Resistance: Art as Activism

By Neighborhood Writing Alliance — The Neighborhood Writing Alliance (NWA) provokes dialogue, builds community, and promotes change by creating opportunities for adults in Chicago’s underserved neighborhoods to write, publish, and perform works about their lives. Neighborhood adults come together each week in our free, ongoing workshops to dialogue and write about their personal histories, everyday experiences, and reflections on their […]

Notes from a Conversation: Migrant Paths of Latin Guitar

By Iván Resendiz with Mónica Díaz Terrazas — The 1st Latin American Guitar Festival Chicago took place in December 2011 in Pilsen. It offered recitals, lectures, master classes and workshops for people interested in Latin American music. The idea to create a Latin American guitar festival is born out of the commitment to inspire art and culture in the Latino immigrant community and […]


Inhabiting and Learning Together: Tracing the first five years of AREA Chicago

By Daniel Tucker — An earlier version of this essay was written in May 2011 for a “Pedagogic Notebook” edited by Sitesize (Spain), but was revised in March 2012 for publication in “Healthy social movements need spaces for learning and experimentation, healthy democracies need wise citizens to make wise decisions about resources and politics, and healthy people need […]


PROXIMAL DISTANCE: reflections on process and proximity

By Caitlin Gianniny and Cathy Alva Mooses — Proximal of the body or the point of attachment. from the Latin proximus – ‘nearest’ + al. 2. v. (trans.) to make someone or something remote or far off in position or nature, to distance one self. from the Latin distare – dis- ‘apart’ + stare ‘stand.’ Distance adj. situated nearer to the center of […]

Jan 08

Beatz and Rhymez: The Mighty Roar of Kuumba Lynx

By Bonnie Fortune — “If we the people protest for the people, the reflex will be lethal! We can make a change!” says sixteen-year-old fm Supreme, as she hops off the Summer Fest Hip-Hop Arena stage in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. Using her mc-ing name, fm Supreme tells me that participation in one of Kuumba Lynx ‘s After School Matters […]

Carlos Koyokuikatl Cortez

By Jesus Macarena-Avila — Carlos A. Cortez, who helped bring attention to Mexican and other native peoples through his labor-oriented art and writings, died of heart failure in his sleep on January 18. He was 81.At a ceremony at Casa Aztlan in the late 1970s, Cortez was given the name Koyokuikatl by Aztec elders. His friend, Carlos Cumpian, said […]

Buddy 2002-2005

By Ed Marszewski — “At once it became the rendezvous of leading labor organizers and leaders, of radical artists too often coarse and ribald, of modern poets often equally unrefined and gross, of rising literary personages and revolutionists.   …It opened its doors wide to everybody who had a message, a grievance, a hope, or a criticism – constructive […]

Burgeoning Blackstone

By Gabriel Piemonte — A unique alternative art center almost lost to natural and political forces in Chicago has been reborn, and its new composition can provide important lessons to anyone involved in social and cultural innovation.   Well known to those who have come in contact with it, the Blackstone is on the verge of engaging a broader […]


By Nicholas Brown — The line separating Illinois from its neighbors is announced by colorful signage along the Interstate.  After the billboards for low-tax gas, Kentucky cigarette outlets, and cheap fireworks fall away, a sign juxtaposing corn and skyscrapers welcomes motorists to the state.   On the ground, of course, corn and skyscraper never meet.  The sign’s compression of […]

Dear Chicago, from Mess Hall

By Mess Hall — I love you. Unabashedly, with devotion, and always. You have millions of faces and voices. You are daring but Midwestern. Homegrown, yet futuristic. Surprising and comfortable, with streets that curve, but always with your eye on the lake. My darling Chicago, you are the city of my dreams, but, as both you and I know, […]

CHAos Creates Change

By Micah Maidenberg — In late May, a group of Chicago artists hijacked an advertising campaign sponsored by the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) and turned it back on the city as a vehicle for a biting critique of the CHA’s controversial Plan for Transformation. The artists turned the housing authority’s “CHAnge” campaign into “CHAos.” The Plan for Transformation, now […]

YOU ARE _____

By You Are Beautiful — We created posters that simply stated “You Are”, with a space to respond. We were curious as to what people were thinking, and even more interested in what someone would stop and take the time to write onto a poster. The posters were placed along sidewalks to catch the passerby, some where it blended in […]

Chicago Street Art Archive: Josh MacPhee

By Josh MacPhee — The streets of Chicago are a huge body of interacting expressions. Architecture provides the backbone, but city government, corporations, neighborhood entities and individuals compete to fill out the flesh. I’m most interested in this contestation over defining the aesthetics of space. Corporations construct billboards only to have them covered by the names of graffiti writers. […]

A Lesson In Good Intentions

By Anonymous — This spring marked the end of an era in Chicago’s arts educational programming. After almost fifteen years of creative history, Chicago’s prestigious Gallery 37 (g37) has been merged into the larger, administrative structure of the After School Matters (asm) organization. Though it remains to be seen whether this merger will be friendly or hostile, the […]

On June 18th

By Amanda Torres — On June 18th, 2005, twenty teenagers from Young Chicago Authors (YCA) walked next door to face the “Axe Effect” ad erected not even a week after the YCA Mural , a series of nine huge panels created by the artist Chris Silva in partnership with community youth , was torn down by developers who are […]

Inheriting The Grid #1

By Daniel Tucker — AREA Begins In the mid-spring months of 2005, I started meeting regularly with Jim Duignan, an artist and educator who has been initiating a wide range of collaborative projects under the name of the Stockyard Institute for the last ten years. I had been looking for an opportunity to collaborate with Stockyard for some time, […]

Heat 05

By Nicole Garneau — HEAT 05 Project Log I have lived in Rogers Park for over 10 years. I was attracted to Pratt Beach as a site for artmaking for a number of reasons. First, it is a beautiful place that is within walking distance of my house. Second, beaches are places where city residents can cool off during […]

Introducing: Material Exchange

By Material Exchange — Greetings from Material Exchange, a recent addition to Chicago’s healthy crop of art collectives. We think a good way to introduce ourselves to you is to describe our current project in the hopes that it will outline our practice obliquely but satisfactorily, and that we may find possible participants. We are a project-based group and […]

The Chicago Street Art Archive: Vanish Portfolio

By Jamie Kalven — The Plan for Transformation–Chicago’s demolition of its high-rise public housing–has erased the writing on the walls.  The high-rises were texts.   Unless recently painted over by the housing authority, every available surface–hallways, stairwells, elevators–was animated by graffiti.   It was a mixed bag, including boy-girl stuff (some sentimental, some carnal), gang tagging, religious affirmations and […]

Downtown Decentered

By Faith Agostinone Wilson — The images and visuals used within this curriculum unit focus on Waukegan, Illinois, a city of 88,000 people located on the shores of Lake Michigan, 40 miles north of Chicago. However, it is hoped that area educators, activists, and artists will collaborate on similar visual sociologies within their own neighborhoods and communities in the Chicago […]

Public Memories of Haymarket in Chicago

By Nicolas Lampert — The Haymarket riot in Chicago emerged out of the struggle for the eight-hour workday. On May 1, 1886 a May Day celebration drew over 80,000 protestors in a peaceful demonstration up Michigan Avenue where it was becoming evident that factories would have to honor the workers’ demands. Days later, on May third, violence erupted when […]

The Conquest of Thalia

By AREA Staff — “Built as a hall for meetings and for musical and theatrical productions, this building was named for Thalia, the Greek muse of comedy and pastoral poetry. Typical of such halls, this design incorporated retail and residential facilities, which helped to support the theater financially. Unique among buildings of this type is its interior theater, which […]

Who Are We Now? Getting Connected

By Elena Gonzales — Mexicans and African Americans combine to make up a huge percentage of the population in the US, and a majority (56%) here in Chicago. Bringing these two groups together could result in important social changes that could take the shape of anything that is meaningful to both groups, from reforming the public education system to […]

Cuentos: A Solidarity Story

By Michele Feder-Nadoff — The theme of solidarity is an inspired one; it is less of a question than it is a hopeful answer, as it presumes, in a generous and supportive way, that we can build solidarity. This could be an end in itself, but really this subject begs another question— how (can) we use our solidarity as […]

Missing Landfills

By Therese Quinn — While working at a local museum, a label in an exhibit I developed was censored by the museum’s director. She objected to a quote I included as a caption to a photo of an environmental activist working on toxic waste clean-up in one low income community. The activist, a woman with a history of noted […]

Contested Chicago: Pilsen and Gentrification

By Paul Lloyd Sargent — The term “parachuting” is probably familiar to anyone who has ever worked on a community-specific public project. It is a word that public artists and activists alike dread, as it is usually remarked in derision: it poses questions of authenticity, legitimacy, and sincerity, and critiques the artist’s role within, or commitment to, the community for […]

The Speculative Landscape: Signs of the Times

By Jason Reblando — Chicago has always been in a constant state of flux. With the interest in the renewal of urban living in the last decade, the city is attempting to beautify areas it considers to be blighted, and is pouring resources into building luxury condominiums in every corner of the city, resulting in real estate speculation and […]

When Art Scene’s Say We: Pilsen Open Studios

By AREA — “Pilsen Open Studios is an artist-run art fair that takes place the third weekend in October. Each year artists, galleries, spaces and cafes open their doors for special hours during this weekend. If you are an artist and would like to participate, email us if you live between Racine/Western and 16th/Cermak.”, What is the formation […]

Surveilling Crime Control

By Mess Hall — (…with insights and inspiration from Mess Hall and Rogers Park residents.) Mayor Daley has declared that in the not-too-distant future, there will be a surveillance camera on every block of the city. But as of today, Chicago’s blue-light surveillance cameras are almost exclusively located in low-income communities of color. Rising investments in this surveillance technology, […]

Introducing: Green Lantern Gallery and Press

By Caroline Picard — I began The Green Lantern Gallery and Press in 2005. I host monthly exhibitions, publish limited edition original fiction and incorporate other performance events. Through these varied modes of communication, I hope to engage a wider audience than is possible with just one medium. Though I’ve embraced the white-cube gallery model to an extent, the […]

Introducing: Fire This Time Fund

By Kristen Cox — Radicalization, nourished by a critical spirit, is always creative. – Paulo Frieire Lessons Learned In Year One  I thought it would be an interesting experiment to invite peers in my larger social network, whose activist work—in anti-prison, education, media, LBGTQ health, and community arts circles—I admired and respected, to join me in devising a process […]

Introducing: InCubate

By AREAChicago — Institute for Community Understanding Between Art and The Everyday (InCUBATE) is a research institute and residency program dedicated to challenging current infrastructures, specifically those which affect artistic production. As art historians and arts administrators, our goal is to explore the possibility of developing financial models that could be relevant to contemporary art institutions, as well […]

Ellen Gates Starr

By Sarah Alford — How did an activist, labor organiser, teacher, and artist, especially one with a name like Ellen Gates Starr (1859-1940), manage to escape everlasting renown in Chicago history? She made headlines in her own day; she ran for political office, was arrested on the picket line, was a bookbinder, and co-founded some of Chicago’s most important […]

Chicago Teaching Artist Collective

By Sarah Atlas — In the summer of 2004, born out of lack of support and networking available for teaching artists in the city, eight Chicago artists created the Chicago Teaching Artist Collective (CTAC). The group wanted an organizing body to address the specific concerns in the field of artist as teacher.     These concerns consist of lacking art […]