Back in Action: 20 Neighborhoods, Phase II
WMG’S 20 Neighborhoods project is back in action for a second year of art-making and community-building, this time united under the theme “A City of Communities”. Thirteen of last year’s project partners and fifteen teaching artists are joining forces in groups of ones and twos to carry out arts workshops and Community Showcase exhibitions in nine neighborhoods across Chicago, with a focus on collaborative art creation and a goal of deepening connections between communities. As part of Chicago Artists Month, all of the groups will come together for a final exhibition at Woman Made Gallery, from October 26th through October 31st. The opening reception will take place on October 26th from 1 to 5pm, and is free and open to the public.
Where is it happening and what is everyone making?
Artists with disabilities from the Arts of Life in West Town met at Center on Halsted in Lakeview to explore intersections of disability and LGBTQ identity and community. Using found objects, print-making, collage, and weaving techniques, they created a large hanging mobile sculpture to represent their connectivity as individuals. Click this link to see photos of the workshops and Community Showcase.
Bronzeville and Bridgeport residents meet at Benton House in Bridgeport to examine their geographically close but culturally different communities. They create a sculptural dinner table setting representing both communities, and their hope for a more connected future. Meet the artists and see the final piece in a Community Showcase at partner organization South Side Community Art Center in Bronzeville, Tuesday October 22nd, from 6 to 8pm. Showcase is concurrent with curator Tempestt Hazel’s talk on SSCAC’s Recess exhibition, which will also be open to the public. 2 art events in one!
Englewood residents meet with Living Arts Center’s Women Veterans Art Group of Andersonville at Imagine Englewood If to share individual and community-oriented memories and stories. Using yarn-wrapping and handmade paper sculpture techniques, they are envisioning new approaches to community and neighborhood safety. Meet the artists and see the final piece in a Community Showcase at Imagine Englewood If on Monday October 21st, from 4 to 7pm, in conjunction with I.E.I.’s community networking event. Click this link to see photos of the workshops in progress.
Albany Park residents gather at Mexico Solidarity Center’s Centro Autónomo, where they are engaging in conversation around community activism and empowerment. They are making prints and image transfers to create individual and community-produced ‘quilt squares’, and then assembling them into a larger, site-specific installation of work at the gallery in Rumble Arts Center, Humboldt Park. Click this link to see photos of the workshops in progress. Meet the artists and see the final piece in a Community Showcase on Saturday October 12th, from 2 to 4pm at Rumble Arts.
Seniors in the Adult Day Program at Chinese American Service League in Chinatown explore neighborhood mapping, focusing on new ways of seeing the colors and forms that surround them. Through taking photo walks, picking flowers, and learning new batik and collage techniques, the group creates a large-scale collaborative collage celebrating the seen and unseen elements of the neighborhood they live in. Click this link to see photos of the workshops as they progress. Meet the artists and see the final piece in a Community Showcase at CASL on Wednesday October 23rd, 10am – 12pm.
Seniors in the Adult Day Program at Hamdard Center for Health and Human Services in Edgewater use fiber art and collage techniques to reflect on stories and share memories from their home countries of India and Pakistan, as well as their current lives in Chicago. The women tell their stories by creating fabric symbols and glyphs and affixing them to traditional saris. By sewing together the sleeves of the saris, they are creating a final hanging installation depicting the joining of their lives and journeys. Click this link to see photos of the workshops as they progress. Showcase date and time TBA.
Students from the Adult Education ESL program at Howard Area Community Center in Rogers Park find commonalities through conversations about giving and receiving advice. They create handmade paper hexagons and string them with beads into gigantic floor to ceiling garlands, representing circles of connectivity and creativity. Click this link to see photos of the workshops as they progress. Meet the artists and see the final piece in a Community Showcase at HACC on October 17th, 11am-12pm.
Survivors of domestic violence who live at House of the Good Shepherd in an undisclosed location focus on the neighborhoods they came from and how ideas of place help to form individual and group identity. In a gesture of collaboration across many differences, they create a paper chain that references these ideas, to be shared and completed by the women at Chinese American Service League. They are also using batik techniques to complete their final collective art piece. Private showcase.
Residents at Mercy Housing’s Roseland Place Apartments in Roseland are exploring the role of churches in their lives and the ways in which churches are instruments of empowerment within the Black communities. Using writing, stained glass, and cardboard construction techniques, the group collaborates on the creation of a three-dimensional church-like structure. With an electric light inside, the piece literally illuminates the number and types of churches in the Roseland neighborhood, and how they affect the communities of people who live there. Click this link to see photos of the workshops as they progress. Meet the artists and see the final piece in a Community Showcase at Roseland Place Apartments on Saturday October 5th, 1 – 3pm.
Special thanks to the 20 Neighborhoods Teaching Artists:
NIC Kay, Elyse Schauer, and Veronica Stein with Center on Halsted & Arts of Life
Elise Cody, Kristina Tendilla, and Ife Williams with Benton House and South Side Community Art Center
Suellen Semekoski and Betsy Zacsek with Living Art Center’s Women Veterans Art Group and Imagine Englewood If
Silvia Gonzalez and Jeannette Perkal with Centro Autónomo
Elaine Luther with Chinese American Service League
Victoria Martinez with Hamdard Center
Kristin Abhalter with Howard Area Community Center
Stephanie Piccirilli with House of the Good Shepherd
Patricia Stewart with Roseland Place Apartments (Mercy Housing)
And also big thanks to our interns and volunteers:
Lexi Dickens – 20 Neighborhoods Intern
Lydia Shepard – 20 Neighborhoods Intern
Helen Celewicz – Gallery Intern and volunteer photography and blogging
Susan Mazzeri – Volunteer design
Katherine Robinson – Volunteer photography and blogging
This project is made possible through generous support from The Efroymson Family Fund, a CICF Fund, and individual donors.
We are still working towards our fundraising goal! Please consider a donation to Woman Made Gallery in support of 20 Neighborhoods