There’s nothing quite like spring in Chicago. Since at least November, there’s hardly been a day when it was not miserable to be outside for any period of time. When the sunset finally moves past 5pm, the temperature climbs into the fifties, and the year’s first dandelions bloom across the city, Chicagoans emerge from their cocoons too. There are more people outside, walking, playing in parks. It’s like the city is itself something that wakes up and stretches out, ready to do things and go places again.
For this year’s Arts Issue, we wanted to showcase a bit of that liveliness and energy that bubbles up after months of suppression. From DIY punk concerts to a list of emerging art galleries, from poet laureates weaponizing words to plays, paintings, and everything in between, this issue’s artists, musicians, and spaces highlight growth and process. Some artists chose to lay low, working consistently until they broke free with shows and exhibits. Others kept up the momentum going, working just as hard if not harder as if the winter weather was no deterrent at all.
Like many of these artists, writers, and other creatives, we all go through different seasons within our work. Sometimes filled with productivity and other times with procrastination; sometimes effortless while other times effortful. The work we do is about more than just what we create. It’s about how we create it and what it took to get there. In this issue we explore the various narratives and stories that artists have created through their work, their voices, physical spaces, and beyond. This year’s Arts Issue is an ode to all artists in Chicago creating work, pushing through their own personal winters, and emerging into their own springs.
Weapons Out of Words → “Specificity is where I become a weapon and where my poems can become weapons.”
Painting the Process → These photos illustrate the process of creation that graffiti-writers go through.
Into the Wild → Roseland artist Armani Howard reflects on the inspiration for his work and fictional world.
Portraits → Profiles of eleven South Side Spaces, where “the rules are no rules.”
Catalyzing a New Renaissance in the Backyard → The project aims to create platforms for artists in environments of respect and community.
Court Theatre Sings a Black Girl’s Song → Stage & Screen editor Nicole Bond reviews For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuf
A Print Gallery → Artwork by Sarita Garcia, Andrea Coleman, Zakkiyyah Najeebah, Roland Santana, and Krista Franklin
Brenda Linda, Linda Brenda → WHPK’s resident Jazz Twins talk jazz history and a changing station
Know Thyself → Smart Museum of Art exhibitions contemplate the ingredients of identity.
Revisited Experiences → Chicago painter Andrea Coleman gives old stories a fresh coat.
From West Lawn to Wicker Park → A tale of two alternative rock scenes