Kristiana Rae Colón is a poet, playwright, educator, and one of the founders of the #LetUsBreathe Collective
Do Not Resist?,” For the People Artists Collective’s 2018 exhibition closed last Friday, February 9 after nearly a month of interdisciplinary generative installations and events across the city. From a training in the basics of cop watching to panels about topics including the abolition ofolf the prison industrial complex and reporting on police violence, the programming engaged thousands of Chicagoans in a conversation about the history of police violence in the city and alternatives to policing in Chicago.
Larry Redmond: My name is Larry Redmond. My nom de plume is Obi. So when people see the exhibit at the gallery people will see a little O-B-I on each of them, which would be me.
Under the current administration, national parks face massive budget cuts. Protected U.S. monuments are shrinking, and as the budget for national parks decreases, admission costs are rising. Next year, entry to parks like Yosemite could cost as much as admission to Six Flags.
Afifty-five-inch flat-screen TV framed Abdul Alkalimat, Romi Crawford, and Rebecca Zorach, the three editors behind The Wall of Respect: Public Art and Liberation in 1960s Chicago. It stuck out—not because of its sheer size, but because it was a backdrop providing a constant reminder of the event’s purpose: the importance of visibility.
DADS—the Digital Art Demo Space, a DIY new media space in Bridgeport—is one large room that takes the form of whatever exhibition is being shown. Old TVs playing glitched-out videos are placed on Roman columns. There’s a virtual reality game being played next to a hot tub. That’s right—DADS has a hot tub with an eight-bit style painting of Mt. Fuji behind it. In the far back of the room, past the bar, two more video games are set up on TVs and projectors. All the while, a live DJ curates the mood. As the space approaches its third year, I sat down with Thorne Brandt and Bobbie Carr, two of three organizers that live at DADS, to talk about the challenges and rewards of running their DIY space.
When I visited La Catrina Café last Saturday night, my view of the commotion inside was at first restricted by the lines of condensation on a large window. I stepped closer to inspect the crowd: books held to their chests, they shuffled eagerly around a busy table. As they came and went, I caught a glimpse of one small figure, bent over slightly, signing a copy of his book. It was Japanese photographer Akito Tsuda. He looked up at and I noticed his smile, one that encompassed the entirety of his face. I entered the venue, and Latin music wrapped around me, ushering me inside to a gracious assembly of Pilsen locals.
Chicago is one of the cultural powerhouses of the world,” muses Mark Kelly, the newly appointed Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. “We have thousands of great artists and so we need to support our artists, we need to value our artists and then…they can…make our city a better place by bringing their art onto the streets.” Kelly is referring to the 50×50 Neighborhood Project, a Year of Public Art initiative announced by Mayor Rahm Emanuel in late 2016 to install public art in every ward in Chicago in 2017.
Gloria “Gloe” Talamantes is a graffiti educator, artist, Chicago native, and founder of the Brown Wall Project. Gloe created this public art initiative in Little Village in 2006 to beautify the city by painting on walls that the city has buffed—the practice of painting over walls with brown paint to remove graffiti. The Weekly sat down with Gloe to talk public art, erasure, and community engagement.
Between Pilsen and Bridgeport, between the Eleanor Boathouse’s spiked rooftops and the factories lining Bubbly Creek, sits the Floating Museum’s latest project, a barge that aims to carry collaborative, site-specific art along the Chicago River. The soft rumble of nearby traffic and the shouts of high school rowing coaches fill the humid August air.