Last year’s Arts Issue opened with a story titled “The Past Keeps Happening”—and it does. A year later, we bring to you a new Arts Issue, packed with reviews and interviews, profiles and photographs. In these pages there’s history: years of hard work by our featured artists, the generations of people before them, and the historical canons that help us understand the importance of what they do. And in these histories, there lies potential for the future.
Beginning with an expanded look at where art lives, we look to Englewood artists Tonika Johnson and Adrienne Powers. They illustrate the high stakes of finding beauty within everyday routines and practices, and we hear their words echo throughout the following pieces, which range from a story about a dancer’s homecoming to a poem about the demolished Michael Reese Hospital to a constellation of reviews. They illustrate the deep connection between works that offer ideas for a different future and the deep roots that make reimagining and reconsidering possible. By looking to the alternative education offered by “makerspace” and the dynamic community-oriented programming of Cultura in Pilsen, we see how those roots bud and blossom into creative networks across the South Side. The print gallery that closes the issue represents the diverse array of work being made within the neighborhoods we call home, and displays the immense potential of our communities and the talented individuals who compose them.
Life Practices → At Rootwork Gallery, two artists showcase the day-to-day of Englewood
Class Is in Session → Carla Stillwell on twenty-one years in Chicago theater
The Blessing of a Permanent Change → Bottle Tree dazzles the Stony Island Arts Bank
Curating a New Canon → Artists from each of Chicago’s wards celebrate the city through its small, scattered glories
A Dancer’s Homecoming → South Sider Solomon Dumas returns to Chicago with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Art, Politics, and College Scholarships → Chicagoland high schoolers show off their artwork at Zhou B Art Center
At the Center of Trauma → “Verse journalism” epitaph for the old Michael Reese Hospital in Bronzeville
New Space, Same Work → Cultura presses on with art, activism, despite organization’s uncertain future
Sounds in South Chicago → JoVia Armstrong brings music education to her neighborhood
Building Cabinets, Computers, and Community → In community workshops, South Side “makers” get to work with their hands
Art for All Wards → The city undertakes an ambitious public arts commissioning program that aims to reach the whole city
A House of Memories → The Chinese-American Museum of Chicago reflects the community’s past, present, and future
South Side Gallery → Art from SkyART, Uri-Eichen, Acre, Project Onward, Zenith Paper, SAIC Homan Square, South Side Mural Project