Photo Essay | Pilsen | Religion

Pilsen’s Via Crucis: Tradition Amid Change

This annual reenactment of Jesus’s last days, involving all the neighborhood’s Catholic churches, is one of Chicago’s largest

Participants in Pilsen’s Via Crucis procession take a group photo inside Providence of God Catholic Church on Friday, April 19, 2019. (Photo: Max Herman)

Every year, on Good Friday—the Friday before Easter—crowds of hundreds gather on 18th Street in Pilsen to watch the Via Crucis procession, a live reenactment of the fourteen stations of the cross and crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Arts Issue 2019 | Photo Essay | Visual Arts

Painting the Process

Finding balance in West Side graffiti

Rod Sawyer

Recently, I took a Japanese calligraphy class for the first time. As the instructor set up the materials on the table, he showed me a variety of tools, including brushes with thin and fat bristle, handmade fine oil soot Ink Sticks, and my favorite: some of his own collection of calligraphy work. The way the black ink settled into the paper, the strokes thin in some places and bigger in others, the way each symbol resembled his knowledge and control of the brush, struck me as it reminded me of another art form I’ve become interested over the years: graffiti-writing.

Education | Photo Essay

Education Uninterrupted

Students, teachers, and parents celebrate saving National Teachers Academy in the South Loop

National Teacher's Academy principal Issac Castelaz, second from left, watches a promotional video for NTA.

Parents, teachers, administrators, and students at the National Teachers Academy (NTA) celebrated a court’s decision in December that halted a Chicago Public Schools proposal to convert the elementary school into a high school. After months of protest, community meetings, and court proceedings, there was an unmistakable air of rejoicing as the NTA community gathered in the school’s cafeteria to bask in their victory.

Interview Issue 2018 | Photo Essay

We the Vanguard

WE THE VANGUARD (2016 -) is a continuing photographic archive of Black women/femmes shifting the contemporary culture of Chicago, primarily emerging and/or at the vanguard of arts, culture, + social justice. This project seeks to share context in regard to the creative and continuing labor of women at the vanguard of cultural innovation and expansion.   

Interview Issue 2018 | Music | Photo Essay

Bringing Jazz Back to the Alley

In South Shore, an old tradition is revived for a day

Dancers with the African Dance and Music Institute (Bridget Vaughn)

On 73rd Street and Paxton, toward Merrill, at least one hundred people marched: past cars, over puddles, into alleys and across the block. As they marched, they held bundles of herbs in the air, played percussion, danced, and waved flags. This scene was the beginning of the Back Alley Jazz Festival—and the man at the front of the crowd, who rode in a mint-green Pedicab and wore a sash that read “Grand Marshall,” was Jimmy Ellis, a saxophonist who has been playing in Chicago since 1948.

Interviews | Photo Essay

Voices of the 2018 Bud Billiken Parade

Sights and sounds from the largest Black parade in the country

Bridget Vaughn

For a few hours last Saturday, thousands of people gathered along King Drive in Bronzeville to take part in the annual Bud Billiken Parade. Stretching from Oakwood Boulevard to Washington Park, the street turned into an endless flow of dance troupes, drill teams, and high school marching bands from across the South Side, all there to celebrate education and the upcoming school year—this year’s theme.

Photo Essay | Visual Arts

Art for Everybody

Blackstone Bicycle Works’ second annual art show

J. Michael Eugenio

Last week, the Experimental Station in Woodlawn hosted the opening of the second annual “Bike Shop Art Show,” featuring work created by participants and volunteers of Blackstone Bicycle Works—which, like the Weekly, is housed within the Experimental Station—and organized by Experimental Station assistant director Matthew Searle. Blackstone’s youth arts program is coordinated by Experimental Station lead teaching artist Tita Thomas in partnership with the University of Chicago’s South Side in Focus program.