Stateville Prisoners' Mural (Courtesy of Prison and Neighborhood Arts)
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Bishop Dwayne R. Mason is the pastor of Saint Martin’s Church of Christ at 5648 S. State St. in Washington Park. He also works as a licensed funeral director.
It is no secret that Washington Park and Woodlawn have seen better days. Economic depression and consistently declining populations since the 1970s have led to collective downturn. Currently, the neighborhoods are caught in the crossroads of the lingering memory of a thriving local culture and middle class and the issue of how exactly revival can be effectively stoked. Two newly fashioned courses point to answers: one fostered by communal organizations of both neighborhoods, and the other led by the University of Chicago.
Greetings, cousins!” Naomi Davis’s voice booms across the crowd seated on folding chairs and hay bales at the Green Village Pavilion, a space of calm tucked into a corner of the African Festival of the Arts in Washington Park. Out on the festival’s pathways, women double-dutch in the shade. Reggae music floats over from the booth down the lane.
Woodlawn and Washington Park sprung up in the late-nineteenth century, accompanied by a rapid influx of (primarily European) immigrant populations and increased industry driven by the 1893 World’s Fair. During the twentieth century, Woodlawn and Washington Park served as a hub of political and cultural activity: important figures from Saul Alinsky to Jesse Owens are associated with the area. Continue reading
Walking down Oakwood Boulevard in Bronzeville, Danielle Kizaire-Sutton seems to know every house we pass. “That one’s just been renovated,” she says, pausing to cheerfully greet a passerby. “And the family in there helped organize the block party last year.” Continue reading
COURTESY OF THE ARTIST
David Boykin, one of this year’s three artists-in-residence at the Arts Incubator in Washington Park, got a late start in the music world. Continue reading
ISABEL OCHOA GOLD
Before the show, Walker Post crosses the presentation space with long strides, making sure everything is in order for his speech. Continue reading