Thursday, December 17, 2009



We’re proud to introduce a new non-for-profit initative that brings visual media & performing arts to Homan Square.

1ST FUNDRAISER: Saturday, December 12, 2009 6 p.m. - 10 p.m. at Murphy Hill Gallery.

What We Are

ART FORMS 22 is a non for profit art center dedicated to elevating cultural awareness within Chicago's North Lawndale Community through art education programs and the exhibition of art.

Who We Are

ART FORM 22 is comprised of working art professionals that specialize in teaching a variety of workshops that promote artistic and creative expression. Our goal is to provide enriching skills to community members through the arts.

What We Do

ART FORMS 22 teach youth and adults ways to explore new expressive possibilities through contemporary painting, drawing, sculpture, film and performance.

Workshops will also address topics on African American art, the history of art, and the influence of Jazz, Hip Hop and Contemporary Painting on American culture.

In addition to class activities, there will be educational tours, featured exhibitions and special events that will facilitate and inspire individuals about art and culture.

Our Goal

As a thriving center for the arts, ART FORM 22 creates an environment where emerging artists have the freedom to express themselves by finding a voice inside which inspires them to create new and exciting art forms. It is from this creative platform that youth and adults learn how art can enrich their lives as well as elevate cultural awareness and appreciation within the community of Lawndale.

50 ALDERMEN/50 ARTISTS: A Group Show

50 ALDERMEN/50 ARTISTS: A group exhibition of portraits that will enable people to learn more about the 50 aldermen who make up the Chicago City Council, and raise awareness of local government. On Friday, March 19, 2010 from 7-11pm, Old Style proudly presents 50 ALDERMEN/50 ARTISTS at the Johalla Projects Gallery, 1561 N. Milwaukee. 6PM - 7pm VIP

Aldermen serve four-year terms, during which they vote on regulations and rules that affect all of us. And sometimes they participate in the notorious Chicago political machine: Since 1974, 30 aldermen have been convicted of federal crimes ranging from tax evasion to bribery. (A couple of others died before going to trial.) Whether ethical or corrupt, aldermen make our city what it is, and make Chicago's history. 50 ALDERMEN/50 ARTISTS hopes to acknowledge this fact, as well as celebrate the richness of our local political culture.

In keeping with the spirit of 50 ALDERMEN/50 ARTISTS, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to a nonprofit, non-partisan voter registration organization. Not only do we want to inform people about the aldermen who make a daily impact on our lives, we also want to give people the tools to act on that information. The voter registration group, TBD, will register voters at the March 19 opening.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Stimulus Packages for Artists and Arts Organizations

Artists have been looking for economic stimulus during this economic downturn, and Chicago arts organizations received part of the $50 million that the NEA got as part of the stimulus package. A recent survey co-sponsored by the Ford Foundation and the NEA found that the current recession has been difficult for artists and arts organizations. Artists and arts organizations should be eligible for more funding, during this rough economic time.

Currently an exhibition entitled 1934: A New Deal for Artists is at the Smithsonian Institution, which provides an historical perspective to how the federal government proactively took initiative during the Great Depression.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Pct: 003  Ward: 28   Cong: 07  St. Leg: 05   St. Rep: 10  Judicial: 07, Cnty Brd: 01, BOR: 3

2010 is an election year for 1/3 of the senate and all of the house of representatives. It would be nice if Congress got the message; the voting taxpayers are in charge now.

Perhaps we are asking the wrong questions during election years.
Our Senators and Congresswomen do not pay into Social Security and, of course, they do not collect from it. You see, Social Security benefits were not suitable for persons of their rare elevation in society. They felt they should have a special plan for themselves So, many years ago they voted in their own benefit plan.
In more recent years, no congress person has felt the need to change it. After all, it is a great plan.

For all practical purposes their plan works like this:

When they retire, they continue to draw the same pay until they die. Except it may increase from time to time for cost of living adjustments. ...... For example, Senator Byrd and Congressman White and their wives may expect to draw $7, 800,000.00 (that's Seven Million, Eight-Hundred Thousand Dollars), with their wives drawing $275, 000..00 during the last years of their lives.

This is calculated on an average life span for each of those Dignitaries.Younger Dignitaries who retire at an early age, will receive much more during the rest of their lives. Their cost for this excellent plan to them is $0.00. NADA!!! ZILCH!!!

This little perk they voted for themselves is free to them. You and I pick up the tab for this plan. The funds for this fine retirement plan come directly from the General Funds;


From our own Social Security Plan, which you and I pay (or have paid) into, every payday until we retire (which amount is matched by our employer), We can expect to get an average of $1,000 per month after retirement. Or, in other words, we would have to collect our average of $1,000 monthly benefits for 68 years and one (1) month to equal Senator Bill Bradley's benefits!

Social Security could be very good if only one small change were made.. That change would be to
Jerk the Golden Fleece Retirement Plan from under the Senators and Congressmen. . Put them into the Social Security plan with the rest of us.Then sit back..... And see how fast they would fix it!
If enough people receive this, maybe a seed of awareness will be planted and maybe good changes will evolve.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Greater Garfield Park Chamber Host Reception for Artists/Artistians

Art and Business mixer, "VIP Reception,  at Murphy Hill Gallery was a success this year.  It was well attended by artist, art supporters, business owners, and politicians. The event was catered, and had live music; people meandered throughout the block long gallery. An "Artists Talk" by local Curators: William Hill of Murphy Gallery, Gaberial Patti of the Phantom Gallery, Everett Williams of Creative Arts Alliance, Frederic Owens Art Museum of Chicago, and Dan Godston curator of Synesthetic Plan of Chicago, talked about "Problems and Considerations Exhibiting in Alternative Exhibition Spaces. We also connected to Phantom Gallery LA; they were hosting an art walk in 15 galleries in the LA area, where each artists/curator gave a talk about their installation through their cell phone.

An Art and Business discussion also took place later in the evening where featured artists and their guest talked about the need to support the artists and well as the gallery, committees were developed to explore ways to develop art markets, bringing in collectors, and attracting corporate support.
Become a member contact  Erni King

Greater Garfield Park Chamber of Commerce
3439 W. Madison
Chicago, IL 60624
(773) 722-6650 ,(773) 722-6651 Fax

Murphy Hill Gallery

3333 West Arthington - 3rd Flr. (in the Historic Sears Building)
Enjoy the Murphy Hill Gallery Exhibit
"Art Media and Unique Gifts"

November 18 to December 23, 2009
Reception: Saturday, November 21, 2009 6PM - 10PM

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Artist At Work Forum

If you missed a recent Artist at Work Forum, you can see it on CAN-TV
Artists at Work Forum: Art in Your Ward - Making it Work

Meet three aldermen (Colon, Daley and Flores), a chamber of commerce representative, and an independent curator who have found a way to make it work for artists in their neighborhoods.

Thursday, October 22nd, 2:30 PM, Channel 21

Sunday, October 25th, 5:00 PM, Channel 19

Wednesday, October 28th, 8:30 AM, Channel 19

Artists at Work Forum: Beyond the Walls

Opportunities outside of traditional galleries that many artists are using to make a full-time living.

Tuesday, October 20th, 2:30 PM, Channel 21

or watch online on CAN-TV

Long Time Arts Activist Runs For Cook COunty Board President

Long time cultural activist, organizer and educator Tom Tresser is running for the office of President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners (to replace Todd Stroger). He needs help to get on the ballot. He is running as a Green Party candidate. If you would like to circulate petitions for Tom, please call 312-276-5432, email The deadline for turning petitions in is November 3. You can download a petition from his web site.

Tom Tresser was the managing director at Pegasus Players from 1985 to 1990 and created the Chicago Young Playwrights Festival there (now in its 23rd season!). He organized an innovative community arts program at Peoples Housing in the mid-1990s that combined culture, training and micro-enterprise. He did cultural programming for the Chicago Park District in the late-1990s and led the effort that established community arts programming at Douglas Park.
He established Greater Chicago Citizens for the Arts in 1990 to elect candidates who supported the arts and freedome of expression. In 2004 he developed the Creative America Project to inspire and prepare creative workers to run for local office. He wrote a book based on his work, "America Needs You! Why You Should Become a Creativity Champion" [download text for free].

Phantom Gallery CAM 2009 2.0 Virtual Studio

Friday, October 16, 2009 Phantom Gallery Opening Reception, 2827 N. Milwaukee Ave,  Chicago.                                      Gabe Patti, had about 70 friends, and family, come to check out his first installation as  Phantom Gallery Curator for Chicago Artists Month 2.0. 2009

Artist Chris Pappan,, sold a piece.


Watercolor on Paper, by artist Janina A. Ciezadlo, ,

Janet Sampson, showed off her prize winning quilt, and craft work, along side her son Brandon.

Phillip Cotton's pieces contrast black and white, next to the work of Everett Williams.

Everett Williams, uses his graphic art background in design to supper impose images of Black in different walks of life during the New York Worlds Fair. Listen to him discuss his process at the Murphy Hill Gallery this Saturday October 24th, at 5pm.

Finally Gabe and Everett call it a wrap on Sunday afternoon, at the close of the exhibition. We give a special thanks to owners of Crown Liquors, for allowing the Phantom Gallery into their empty storefront, on Milwaukee, and the Logan Square Chamber of Arts.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Caught in the Critical Crossfire.

When is enough,enough? Is it the sign of our times? I don't know.  This evening I looked out of my third story window, here at the Switching Station Artist Lofts, into a scene from a homicide trailer. An Emergency Response Team, of Police cars, Fire Trucks, and an Ambulance was in the alley way between Madison/Adams off Homan picking up a DOA body from the alley. African American Male, age unknown, drug over dose, bullet (I didn't hear gun shots at the time), he was just lying there in a fetal position.
I don't know how to respond to watching dead body's being removed from alley ways, bus stops, parks, playgrounds, and buildings. Not only that, but the apartments next door, I watched as children playing, stopped to watch a body being (short of kicked), shaked and probed to see if it had life. I watch over head from my third story window as the ERT, rolled up a gurney, and a sheet, strap him in, cover him up, and roll him down the alley back to the truck, rolled his lifeless body into it. I didn't wait to see them disipate. I was too stunned, I watched as another African American male came outside to shoo the kids away, and he him self turn up an Old Eight.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

VIP Reception for Local Artists

You are Cordially Invited to A VIP Reception for Local Artists


Saturday, October 24, 2009                          from 6pm to 9pm


Murphy Hill Gallery
3333 West Arthington - 3rd Flr.
(in the Historic Sears Building)

Enjoy the Murphy Hill Gallery Exhibit

"Arts Across Cultures"

Featuring Live Music and Refreshments

Free Admission

Sponsored by
Greater Garfield Park Chamber of Commerce in Collaboration with
Murphy Hill Gallery
Alpha Bruton, Phantom Gallery Chicago
Nancy Vachon, Local Artists, Switching Station Artist Lofts

Please RSVP to (773) 722-6650.

Erni King
Greater Garfield Park Chamber of Commerce
3439 W. Madison
Chicago, IL 60624
(773) 722-6650
(773) 722-6651 Fax

Monday, October 12, 2009

Albany Carroll Arts Building Open Studio

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Albany Carroll Arts Building Open Studio once again opens their studio doors to the public to share and showcase their talents. Inside you will find a myriad of works in a diversity of disciplines including sculpture, painting, printmaking, photography, furniture design and fabrication, stained glass, ceramics, multi-media and much more.

Artists include Sharon Bladholm, Michael Thompson, Philip Livingston, Lucy Slivinski, Laura Junge, Peter Gray, Latimer Line, Tracy Ostmann, Celia Grainer, and many more.

Admission is free, there is ample parking and at 5:00 p.m. studio member and world renowned percussionist Kahil El Zabar will perform.

Don't miss this opportunity to explore and discover! We are an exciting resource for homeowners, designers, architects and collectors.

Contact Email:

Event Location

Venue: Albany-Carroll Arts Building

Contact Phone Number: 773-638-3500

Address:  319 N. Albany

October 2009 Volunteer Update

Hello Garfield Park Conservatory Volunteers!
Volunteer Orientation - October 14 – this week!
As many of you know, we have been holding monthly volunteer orientations for new volunteers, possible volunteers, and old volunteers who just want an update of what’s going on around the Conservatory. We will continue to hold these sessions monthly on Wednesday evenings or Saturday mornings. The next session is scheduled for Wednesday, October 14, 6:00-7:30pm. Please RSVP to me if you plan to attend.

3rd Friday Work Day – October 16 – this week!

Are you someone who wants to get your hands dirty, but you just don’t have a lot of time to donate? If so, you might want to try coming to one of the new 3rd Friday Work Days. We might have you working on an indoor project, an outdoor cleanup, a greenhouse, a garden…whatever is needed. Volunteers should pre-register for this work day by e-mailing or calling me at least 2 days before the shift, so I can let the horticulturists know how many people to expect. Unless there is a need for a larger group of volunteers, we will cap the team at 15 volunteers. First come, first serve – so sign up with me as soon as you can. You don’t have to commit to working every month. This is an open work day. Any cancellations or changes will be posted through my e-mail updates.

Need One More Volunteer for This Month’s Wild Wednesday – October 28

In honor of Halloween and our nocturnal animal friends, this month’s live animals are bats! We need one more volunteer to assist the animal presenter and to help with family activities. The shift is 2:30-6:30pm on Wednesday, October 28. Let me know if you’d like to help out and I’ll get you in touch with the staff person who coordinates this monthly mini-event.
Still Looking for Several Volunteers for Creatures of the Night – October 31

Some of you have already jumped on board for this fantastically fun event, but we could still use a few more volunteers to help out. Our annual Creatures of the Night event is happening on Halloween this year. For those of you who haven’t participated before, the Conservatory will be filled with “learn a trick, get a treat” stations, where families can visit up-close with live nocturnal animals and learn something about how they survive the night. We need volunteers in a variety of roles, but mostly to help the animal handlers by talking with visitors about the adaptations of these special nocturnal creatures and handing out treats to the kids. It’s like an educational trick-or-treat! There is just one volunteer shift for this event: 11:00am – 3:30pm on Saturday, October 31.

To help volunteers prepare, we are also hosting a special volunteer training on Saturday, October 24, 10:30am – Noon. We’ll review the logistics of the event, get you information about each of the animals on display, and get people assigned to their stations so they can be prepared for event day. This training is not mandatory, but is highly recommended.

Nominate Someone You Know for Greener of the Year!

I’m sure all of you know one or two folks who do their share of the smiling lion's work in your community greening spaces around Chicago . Please take the time to honor their efforts by going to GreenNet’s webpage and nominating them for this year’s Greener of the Year Award: If you have trouble finding the nomination form on-line, please contact Robin Cline at (773)638-1766 x18 or e-mail her at Nominations are due by October 23.

Help is on the way!

As some of you know, we are in the process of hiring a part-time Volunteer Coordinator here at the Conservatory. We should have someone on board in the next few weeks and will be sure to introduce you to our new team member just as soon as they start. I will still be managing the overall program, its continued improvement and growth. We’ll just have a second voice, more resources, and another creative brain to make things happen! More to come in the next couple of weeks…

Melanie Harding
School, Teacher & Volunteer Programs Manager
Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance
300 N Central Park Ave
Chicago, IL 60624
773.638.1766 (x16)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

"Arts & Activism in the Midwest" Panel Discussion

Thursday, October 1, 2009 (7:00-9:00 p.m.)

You are invited to attend this “Arts and Activism in St. Louis, Detroit, and Chicago” panel discussion, which is part of the “Arts and Activism in the Midwest” Series. This panel discussion focuses on the arts scenes in these three Midwestern cities, and it is also part of the Fourth Annual Chicago Calling Arts Festival.

The panelists include James McAnally, Amanda Mueller, Andrew James, and Tony Renner in St. Louis; Rebecca Mazzei, Emily Linn, Jenenne Whitfield, and Joel Peterson in Detroit; and Lindsay Obermeyer, Carol Ng-He, Theaster Gates, Jennifer Karmin, and Dan Godston in Chicago. The panelists will be connected over the internet, via skype, so the panelists and other participants will be able to see and hear each other.

free and open to the public

Chicago location: Little Black Pearl Art & Design Center (7-9 p.m. CST)
1060 E. 47th St.
Chicago, IL 60653-3600

St. Louis location: The Luminary Center for the Arts (7-9 p.m. CST)
location: 4900 Reber Place
Saint Louis, MO 63139

Detroit location: Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit (8-10 p.m. EST)
5141 Rosa Parks Blvd.
Detroit MI 48208

* * *

“Arts and Activism in the Midwest” Series

"Arts and Activism in the Midwest" is an ongoing forum which happens four times in 2009 and 2010. Each event involves Chicago and two other Midwestern cities. The purposes of the "Arts & Activism in the Midwest" series include:
* discussion about strengths and challenges regarding independently run arts, education, and activism efforts throughout the Midwest region -- in relation to the cities, towns, and rural areas in which they exist
* ideas about opening up more communication & setting up possible collaborations between organizations and individual artists living in different Midwestern cities
* discussion regarding cultural dynamics in Midwestern cities (relations with legislators, community involvement, funding opportunities, etc.)

* * *

Theaster Gates

Dan Godston teaches and lives in Chicago. His writings have appeared in Chase Park, After Hours, Versal, Drunken Boat, 580 Split, Kyoto Journal, Eratica, The Smoking Poet, Horse Less Review, Apparatus Magazine, and other print publications and online journals. His poem “Mask to Skin to Blood to Heart to Bone and Back” was nominated by the editors of 580 Split for the Pushcart Prize. He also composes and performs music, and he works with the Borderbend Arts Collective to organize the annual Chicago Calling Arts Festival.

Andrew James is an artist originally born in Knoxville, TN. He completed his MFA at The University of California in Berkeley in 2003, relocated to St. Louis in 2004, and in 2005 bought an 100 + year old building that he has been renovating ever since. In 2008, the first floor of 2247 Gravois was renovated into Good Citizen Gallery, which opened its doors in November of that year.
The Gallery, under the direction of James along with a considerable amount of aid from Amanda Gray-Swain, is dedicated to showcasing contemporary artists working in a variety of styles and mediums. The gallery is committed to presenting work in both traditional and non-traditional formats, which tackle a variety of concepts and perspectives. Since opening, many of their shows have received glowing reviews from both the Riverfront Times and The St. Louis Beacon, and St. Louis Magazine put Good Citizen on their A-List for Best New Gallery.
Along with the gallery, the 14’ x 48’ billboard that sits atop 2247 Gravois has been used to expand artist’s visibility into the public realm. This public project has so far given four different artists the chance to work on a grand scale usually reserved for advertising. The billboard project has so far included, Deborah McClary (Jan. – March), Jennifer Flores (April – June), Alison Ouellette-Kirby (July – Sept.), and Greg Pond (October – Dec.).

Jennifer Karmin is a poet, artist, and educator who has published, performed, exhibited, taught, and experimented with language throughout the U.S. and Japan. She teaches creative writing, literature, and media literacy to immigrants in Truman College's Adult Education Program. The recipient of a Gwendolyn Brooks Teaching Award, she also works as a Poet-in-Residence for the Chicago Public Schools. In 2009, Flim Forum Press will publish her text-sound epic Aaaaaaaaaaalice. Jennifer curates the Red Rover reading series and is a founding member of the public art group Anti Gravity Surprise. Her multidisciplinary projects have been presented nationally at festivals, artist-run spaces, community centers, and on city streets. Past grants and residencies include funding from the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, the Djerassi Program, the Joseph Kellman Family Foundation, the Poetry Center of Chicago, Poets & Writers, Rochester Community Savings Bank, and the Synapses Foundation. She earned her B.A. in the Poetics Program at the University of Buffalo and M.F.A. in the Writing Program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Web links to her writing, publications, and projects are listed below.

James McAnally, Director of The Luminary | Center for the Arts, is a writer, artist and musician educated at Washington University in St. Louis. Since founding The Luminary in 2007, he has worked to establish an international residency program, an award-winning concert series, and a challenging exhibition schedule that promotes interactivity and offers emerging artists the opportunity to thrive. With this multi-disciplinary emphasis, he has sought to bring together different expressions of contemporary art into a public dialogue with a new generation of art appreciators.

Amanda Mueller is a local artist and arts education professional. While employed full-time by one of St. Louis’s central arts institutions, Amanda still manages/tries to find time on the side to get involved with other projects, artists, and organizations in St. Louis and beyond. Examples of Amanda’s unofficial ‘work’ on the side include her own (very) sporadic art shows and projects, getting involved with children’s art activities and shows hosted by a smattering of local venues, and Uncle Envelope, a monthly children’s mail art project based in NY, but distributed to subscribers throughout the US.

Born and raised in Hong Kong, Carol Ng-He is a Chicago-based artist and art educator. She received a Master’s degree of Arts in Art Education from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a Bachelor’s degree in Arts from Columbia College Chicago. She performed and exhibited locally at Mess Hall, Links Hall, the Duncan YMCA Chernin Center for the Arts in Chicago, Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, Koehnline Museum of Art at Oakton Community College. Currently Carol teaches at Columbia College Chicago, Roosevelt University and Oakton Community College. She also freelances as a teaching artist at Silk Road Theater Project, and Young Asians With Power! (YAWP!), and Chicago Teen Museum.

Lindsay Obermeyer has exhibited her art at venues in the UK, Canada, Italy, Australia, Denmark and Colombia as well as throughout the United States at galleries and museums including the Museum of Art and Design, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Milwaukee Museum of Art. Her work has been featured in Newsweek, Fiberarts, The Los Angeles Times, and other publications. She is a project designer for Lark Books and the visual arts researcher for Chicago Artists Resource.

Tony Renner is a visual artist who has lived in St. Louis since 1981. Renner has taken photographs for years but his interest blossomed after purchasing a digital camera in 2005. Renner started painting in 2007 shortly after writing his Master's (in American Culture Studies) thesis. "Painting was as far from writing as I could get," Renner says. St. Louis print-maker Tom Huck has called Renner "a man of mystery." Renner has exhibited work at various locations throughout St. Louis and he received an award of excellence from Art St. Louis jurors in 2007.
Renner began playing electric guitar in public performance in the mid-1990s, and he has continuing playing solo gigs and in groups such as Tiger Mountain, Ne Plus Ultra, Cenozoic, and, currently, Learn, Artist!

Jenenne Whitfield has served as the Executive Director of the critically acclaimed Heidelberg Project for the last 16 years. Under Ms. Whitfield’s direction, The Heidelberg Project (Founded by Tyree Guyton) has expanded its goals to include acquisition and restoration of property in the Heidelberg area, development of an artist-in-residence program and implementation of community art and education programs. Her leadership and commitment have enabled the project to extend its reach by participating in joint projects with museums, universities and other educational organizations. Her relentless enthusiasm and tireless efforts have won increasing support and respect for this often-controversial endeavor. Her persistence has been rewarded by a growing worldwide interest in the message she embraced on that summer afternoon when she asked “what is all this?” and felt the answer resonate inside her.
Organizational Awards and achievements received under her leadership include: Michigan Notable Book Award, Connecting the Dots, Tyree Guyton’s Heidelberg Project (2008); Outstanding Community Achievement (2006); Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence (2005); Environmental Design Research Association (2004); Emmy Award Winning Documentary, Come Unto Me, the faces of Tyree Guyton (2000). In addition to her role as executive director for the Heidelberg Project, Whitfield lectures regularly with Guyton and teaches a course at Wayne State University, “Topics in Art and Community.”

* * *

The Fourth Annual Chicago Calling Arts Festival (CCAF4) takes place October 1-11, 2009, featuring Chicago-based artists collaborating in performances and projects with artists living in other locations -- both here in the U.S. and abroad. These collaborations will be prepared or improvised, and some performances will involve live feeds between Chicago and elsewhere. CCAF4 venues include: Little Black Pearl Art & Design Center, Claudia Cassidy Theater at the Chicago Cultural Center, The Velvet Lounge, Elastic Sound & Vision Gallery, Epiphany Church, Columbia College Concert Hall, WNUR, Mercury Café, WLUW, Myopic Bookstore, Café Ballou, Quaker House, Hotti Biscotti, Brown Rice, and other venues.

CCAF4 is being organized by the Borderbend Arts Collective, a not for profit organization. Borderbend’s mission is to promote the arts, to create opportunities for artists to explore new directions in and between art forms, and to engage the community.

Chicago Calling is part of Chicago Artists Month, the fourteenth annual celebration of Chicago’s vibrant visual art community. In October, more than 200 exhibitions of emerging and established artists, openings, demonstrations, tours, open studios and neighborhood art walks take place at galleries, cultural centers and arts buildings throughout the city. For more information, call 312.744.6630. Chicago Artists Month is coordinated by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and is sponsored by the Chicago Office of Tourism with additional support from 3Arts.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

"Vibrational Sound Narratives

By artist Alpha Bruton
Exhibiting a series of 12"x 18" acrylic on paper, a four year exploration of various jazz musicians, improvisational Jazz, creative music, electric music, and alternative sound, where I created abstract sketches in a response to their sound stream, and what I was feeling, or seeing during these performances.

Vibrational sound narratives are a very comprehensive system of patterns, or vibrations that teach our bodies at all levels how to have a new experience. They activate a practice similar to Vibra Keys association with sound, shape, and image in the context of emotional response, and unlock visual-spatial intelligence in the artists among us, who think in pictures and images.

Some of the musicians perform at venues in Chicago: Elastic Sound & Visionary Gallery, Chicago Calling Arts Festival, Brown Rice, Umbrella Music Festival at the Chicago Cultural Center, Velvet Lounge, Ancestral Lofts, Heaven Gallery, Empty Bottle, AACM tribute to Fletcher Henderson at Millennium Park, Earnest Dawkins Sunday Afternoon Jam sessions, Nicole Mitchell's tribute to Alice Coltrane, Ways and Means Trio, and Dan Godston and Jon Godston’s Mingus Awareness Project, just to list a few.

The project is supported in part by the Borderbend Arts Collective, Elastic Arts Foundation, Logan Square Chamber of Arts, and the  Phantom Gallery Chicago, curated by Susan Fox.

Exhibition October 1- October 31, at the Elastic Sound and Visionary Gallery, 2830 N. Milwaukee,  2nd Floor, Chicago IL.

Opening Reception October 3rd, 2009 6pm - 8pm, Free  and open to the public
Concert: October 3rd, Chicago Calling Arts Festival 4 (CCAF4) 8pm, 2nd set 11pm $12

Monday, August 31, 2009

Bauhaus9090 Performance Event in Chicago's Bauhaus District

Lake Meadows Park
3117 S Rhodes Ave.
Chicago, IL 60616

You are invited to attend a Bauhaus9090 performance event, which will happen on Saturday, September 12, beginning at 11:30 a.m. Jamie Kazay, Matthew Barton, Amanda Marbais, Kevin Kilroy, and Dan Godston will read selections of their poetry. Alpha Bruton will be painting in performance. Other performers TBA.

soundwalk in Bronzeville on September 12

You are invited to join the World Listening Project, during a soundwalk which will happen by and around the Michael Reese Hospital campus on Saturday, September 12 (10 a.m.-11 a.m.). Soundmarks during this soundwalk will include the chainlink fence along the perimeter of the Michael Reese Hospital campus; the wind in the trees in front of the Singer Pavilion; a security guard’s car tires rolling over gravel on the MRH campus; traffic on Lake Shore Drive; demolition and earthmoving equipment being operated at MRH; bikers, pedestrians, and automobile drivers/passengers on the streets by MRH; and trains traveling the north-south tracks (between MRH and LSD).

This soundwalk will start on the northwest corner of 31st St. and Cottage Grove Dr. We will walk along the fenced-in perimeter of the MRH campus in a clockwise direction, and then we will turn around and return to the soundwalk’s starting point. This soundwalk is free and open to the public; it is being organized by Chad Clark, Jennifer Mosier, Norman Long, Eric Leonardson, and Dan Godston.

For more info, please email More info about soundwalks and other initiatives can be found on the Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology website.

sustainability forum

Thursday, September 10, 2009 (6-8 p.m.)

Back Story Café and Social Center
6100 S Blackstone Ave
Chicago, IL 60637-2912
(773) 324-9987

You are invited to attend a forum about sustainability, with a focus on the Chicago region. Topics include: eco-friendly lifestyles, exploring creative adaptive reuse of architecture, getting involved with community gardening and farmers markets, and celebrating the value of our public parks. This event is free and open to the public.

The panelists include Aaron Swanton (Blackstone Bicycle Works), Joyce Fernandes (Archi-treasures), LaLuce Mitchell and Grahm Balkany (Gropius in Chicago Coalition), and Robert Rudner (Chicago Greens). Robert Rudner will talk about rebuilding cities, building whole cities in balance with nature, Paolo Soleri’s arcology concept, and Richard Register’s eco-cities concept. LaLuce Mitchell and Grahm Balkany will talk about the Michael Reese Hospital and relationship between adaptive reuse of architecture and sustainable living.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

9th Annual County Fair

Saturday, September 19

Hours: 11 am – 4 pm
Where: Throughout the Conservatory Campus
Cost: Free admission (Some activities require a fee)

Join us for Chicago’s original urban hoedown and experience the excitement of a county fair in the middle of the city! County Fair will be chock-full of family fun this year, such as hands-on kids’ activities, a petting zoo and pony ride, food preservation demonstrations, a garden harvest showcase, a farmers’ market, live music, and beekeeping demonstrations. Check back soon for more details about all the activities County Fair has to offer!

For more information about the County Fair, please contact Christine at 224-628-3853 or

County Fair Volunteers

Hello GPC Volunteers -

I would like to gather a small group of volunteers next Tuesday morning, September 1, to help assemble a mailing for our Alliance members. This is the County Fair mailing that tells members about the event and lets them know about the “perks” they will be offered that day. The job consists of attaching mailing labels, seals and postage stamps to about 500 pieces. I will be sure to have fresh-brewed coffee on hand and I’m sure the conversation will be great!

Tuesday, September 1
9:00am – Noon
3 volunteers needed

Let me know if you have a few hours and can help out.


Melanie Harding
School, Teacher & Volunteer Programs Manager
Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance
300 N Central Park Ave
Chicago, IL 60624
773.638.1766 (x16)

Thursday, August 13, 2009


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Friday, July 31, 2009

"SPC in Chicago's Neighborhoods" panel discussion

Wednesday, August 12, 2009 (6-8 p.m.)
Hyde Park Art Center

You are invited to attend an event during which Annie Heckman, Carol Ng-He,
James Jankowiak, Sarah Bendix, and Daniel Godston talk about connections with Chicago’s neighborhoods -- as they relate to The Synesthetic Plan of Chicago. Carol will focus on ways by which her installation piece, entitled “C(l/r)aving,” relates to Chinatown. James will talk about his installation piece, entitled “Bubbly Creek,” relates to the Back of the Yards, Bridgeport, and McKinley Park areas. Annie and Daniel will talk about other ways by which SPC relates to Chicago’s neighborhoods, including how SPC modules have been traveling to “satellite locations,” including the Hyde Park Art Center, Mess Hall, Faie African Art Gallery, Little Black Pearl Art & Design Center, Myopic Books, and other Chicago locations. This event is free and open to the public.

2009 is the centenary of the publication of The Plan of Chicago. The Synesthetic Plan of Chicago: A Multi-Sensory Journey Through Chicago and Its Neighborhoods corresponds with the celebration of this historic event. An interactive installation at the Chicago Cultural Center Visitor Information Center (77 E. Randolph Street), The Synesthetic Plan of Chicago is part of the citywide summer tourism initiative, Explore Chicago: Take A Neighborhood Vacation (June 1–September 30). More than 40 artists and organizations have joined in creating this exploration of Chicago through the five senses. Visitors and locals can experience Chicago imagery, sounds, fragrances, flavors and textures captured in miniature neighborhood scenes such as a mapping of the tastes and recipes of Chinatown, and an exploration of East Garfield Park candy. SPC’s participating artists and organizations have designed installation pieces which invite people to interact with the sensory “artifacts” of Chicago in creative and imaginative ways, and to think about synesthetic connections with things that relate to Chicago. The Synesthetic Plan of Chicago is commissioned by the City of Chicago, and it is co-curated by Annie Heckman and Daniel Godston.

Explore Chicago: Take A Neighborhood Vacation showcases the city’s famous enclaves through over 100 insider events and activities including this special exhibition. Presented in collaboration with Chicago cultural and neighborhood organizations, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, Chicago Office of Tourism and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Bureau of Tourism.

Hyde Park Art Center
5020 S. Cornell Ave.
Chicago, IL 60615

Open Streets -- August 1st

Open Streets happens tomorrow. Here's a video about Open Streets. Ciclovia (Bogota, Colombia) is one source of inspiration for Open Streets.

from the Active Transportation Alliance website:
See what it’s like when streets are filled with people and the street becomes your playground.

From 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug 1, Open Streets will give friends and families the chance to enjoy the streets the way they want: biking, dancing, playing, walking and more!

The free event combines last year’s two Sunday Parkways event into one huge eight-mile event. Like last year, Open Streets will span from Logan Square to Little Village, passing through Humboldt Park, North Lawndale and Garfield Park along the way.

There is no event registration, and participants can join in at any point along the route.

Take a step off the route at any of the community-run activities. The lively scenes will display each community’s flavor with performances, children’s games, art activities, workout classes, music and much more.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Soundwalks in East Garfield Park

EVENT: Soundwalks in East Garfield Park -- at the Chicago Center for Green Technology and the Garfield Park Conservatory

WHEN: Saturday, August 1, 2009 (10 a.m.-12 noon)

Chicago Center for Green Technology (10:00-10:50 a.m., 1st location)
445 N. Sacramento Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60612

Garfield Park Conservatory (11:15 a.m.-12:00 noon, 2nd location)
300 N Central Park Ave
Chicago, IL 60624-1996

You are invited to join the World Listening Project, during two soundwalks which happen in Chicago’s East Garfield Park neighborhood on Saturday, August 1. During a soundwalk, people explore their soundscape, using a score as a guide. These soundwalks are being facilitated by Dan Godston and Fereshte Toosi; they are free and open to the public, all ages.

We meet at CCGT at 10 a.m. for a brief tour of the premises, then the soundwalk starts. This soundwalk, which is being co-organized by WLP and CCGT, happens inside and outside the building -- through the Resource Center, on the CCGT roof, past the rain cisterns, through the “Elementhouse” designed by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for the Solar Decathlon, to the eastern part of the property where they keep the solar berm and green roof test plots, and along a path in the field to the south of the CCGT building.

Then we travel to the Garfield Park Conservatory, where we reconvene. The soundwalk there starts at 11:15, and it happens inside and outside of GPC – through the Palm Room and the Show House, into the Monet Garden, to the labyrinth, by the beehives, and over the lily pool. (The beekeepers open the beehives on Saturdays for a few hours.)

THE WORLD LISTENING PROJECT (WLP) is a not-for-profit organization devoted to understanding the world and its natural environment, societies and cultures through the practices of listening and field recording. WLP maintains and develops a repository of sound recordings and provides access to this information via web-based technologies, workshops, forums, lectures, and festivals. WLP hereby seeks to encourage worldwide opportunities for collaboration, education, curation, research and experimentation across the disciplines of the arts, humanities, and the social and natural sciences.

THE CENTER FOR GREEN TECHNOLOGY is the first rehabilitated municipal building in the nation to receive the LEED™ Platinum rating by the U.S. Green Building Council. Mayor Richard M. Daley dedicated the building in 2002 and it has gone on to become a national model for sustainable design and technology.
The Center serves as the most comprehensive green design educational resource in the Midwest. We promote and advance sustainable homes, workplaces and communities to enhance the quality of urban life. We work to facilitate this through educational programming and training, research and demonstration and by acting as a resource network.

THE GARFIELD PARK CONSERVATORY ALLIANCE, a non-profit organization, strengthens community through the unique combination of the Garfield Park Conservatory Campus, other botanical resources, and the engagement of community members.
With its innovative programs, the Alliance enhances the environmental, social and economic vitality of Chicago’s West Side and encourages the larger community to explore the fundamental connection between plants and life. Membership in the Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance supports one of Chicago's great botanical resources.

photo of a rabbit sitting on a solar berm, behind CCGT

"Elementhouse" designed by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Behind the Chicago Center for Green Technology.

additional links:
Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology
World Soundscape Project
Chicago Phonography

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Chicago Urban Art Society

July, 2009 Part 2JULY is just a month of things to do folks! For this very reason, you are receiving another newsletter update from us because as the young people say "it's poppin" this summer. Before you get to all the goodies down below, I wanted to take a little bit of space to thank all the individuals who made The Chicago Urban Art Society's first organized event such a success. + A Big Thank You To The One And Only... ISH, The Man Behind The Hustle! Let's Do This , 4-EVA!+ A Big Thank You To Our Collaborators and Sponsors- The Chicago Sustainable Manufacturing Center, Angeline Gragasin, Gregg Heertzlieb & Tampico !+ A Big Thank You To My Partner In All Of This - Peter Kepha, Co-Founder & Creative Director - You Continue To Inspire Me !+Thank You To Our Panelists: Jeff Zimmerman, Ray 'CRO' Noland, Erik DeBat 'RISK', Doug Fogelson, Rahmaan 'STATIC' Barnes, Maria Gaspar, Revise cmw, Tom Torluemke, Anni Holm, Anna Cernigila, Mike Nourse, & Fausto Alejandro Lopez+ Special Big Thanks To Anna Cerniglia And Angeline Gragasin For Their Support, Support & More Support !As always, Support Your Local Artist !

Monday, July 20, 2009

"The Arts on Chicago's South Side" panel discussion -- Thu., July 23 (7-9 p.m.)

You are invited to attend an event during which Felicia Grant Preston, Timuel Black, and Patrick McCoy talk about the arts on Chicago’s South Side. Timuel Black will focus on Bronzeville -- an historical perspective, and what’s happening in Bronzeville now; Felicia Grant Preston will talk about the Sapphire and Crystals group and her artistic contributions to “The Synesthetic Plan of Chicago,” which include 3D miniatures of significant landmarks in Bronzeville; and Patrick McCoy will talk about Chicago’s South Side art scene, a collectors perspective. This event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided, donations appreciated.

Felicia Grant Preston is an artist and educator, and she is the founder of the Sapphire and Crystals group; Timuel Black is Bronzeville’s historian; and Patrick McCoy is founder of the Diaspora Rhythms Collectors Group.

Faie African Art Gallery
4317 S. Cottage Grove Ave.
Chicago, IL 60653

Thursday, July 2, 2009


One month from today, Saturday, August 1st 8:30am-2:00pm8 miles of the boulevard will be closed to cars and open to human powered activities.walk, bike, run, push a stroller, push a wheelchair.....we will connect 5 diverse communities:Logan Square , Humboldt Park , Garfield Park ,North Lawndale , Little VillageWe are calling it "Open Streets" (formally Sunday Parkways)Come out...Help us reclaim public space.........join at any point....stay as long as you'd like....bring family, friends,'s freesee attached postcard for a learn what other cities around the county and world are doing to reclaim their streets visit:

Jaime Zaplatosch
Education Coordinator
25 E Washington, Suite 1650
Chicago, IL 60602
ph 312-863-6270
fax 312-863-6251

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Garfield Park Conservatory Volunteers!

June 2009

Hello Garfield Park Conservatory Volunteers!

Several New Volunteer Opportunities Coming Up

It’s a busy summer! We’ll be looking for volunteers for the following events. If you’re interested in helping out with any of these, let me know which ones and I’ll put you on the lists for those specific events. I don’t have volunteer times or assignments ready yet, but if you know that you want to help in some way, mark your calendar and drop me a line so I can provide you with more details when they are available.

— Summer Music Series – every Wednesday evening in July

— Jazz Under the Stars – Friday, July 17

— Meet the Bees – Saturday, July 25

— Open Streets Chicago (formerly called Sunday Parkways) – Saturday, August 1

— County Fair – Saturday, September 19

Next New Volunteer Orientation is July 8

As many of you know, we have been holding monthly volunteer orientations for new volunteers, possible volunteers, and old volunteers who just want an update of what’s going on around the Conservatory. We will continue to hold these sessions monthly on Wednesday evenings or Saturday mornings. The next one is scheduled for Wednesday, July 8, 6:00-7:30pm. Please RSVP to me if you plan to attend.

Queen Bee passes the honey…

We are lucky enough to have had the great dedication and expertise of a volunteer to lead our Beekeeping Program for many years. Over the last several years, Edie McDonald has worked year-round to keep our bees and beekeepers happy and to keep our honey flowing! Unfortunately for us, she made the decision this spring to focus on other parts of her life and pass the honey to the next lead beekeeper.

With the Volunteer Beekeeping Program flourishing and no one at the helm, the Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance decided to hire a part-time staff person to lead the program into its next phases. Julio Tuma joined our beekeepers this spring as a volunteer and quickly rose to the top as someone who was very excited and knowledgeable about honeybees! He was recently hired as the new Beekeeping Program Coordinator and will be on-site 15-20 hours per week year-round. Julio comes to us with much expertise about bees and beekeeping and a great knack for talking with people of all ages about this topic. If you’re interested in getting involved in our beekeeping program, please let him know and he’ll fill you in. There are several requirements, including some specialized training, so it takes time and commitment to become an active beekeeper with the Conservatory. Volunteers and the public can reach Julio at (773)638-1766 (x24) or

Thank you to Edie for her many years of service to the Alliance …and welcome to Julio!

Adult Greening Workshop Series – Discount for Volunteers in June

This summer, the general public has the opportunity to learn about a variety of gardening and greening topics through our Adult Greening Series. The next workshop is Container Gardens for Food, Flowers & Fun. It will be held on Wednesday, June 24, 6-8pm. If you’re interested in registering for this session, contact Robin Cline at Regular cost is $5 suggested donation plus a class fee of $20, but for approved volunteers who have gone through the Park District application process and been fingerprinted (or are in the process of doing that with me) we will offer this class at half price for $10!

Attend our Online Green Gala!

You won’t even need to get dressed up or leave the comfort of your own home! As a way of cutting costs, going green, and raising funds to support programming, the Alliance is throwing a different kind of Gala this year. It’s all online! Visit to check it out and support the Conservatory. There’s an online auction, donations to a living wall, prize drawings, and more.

As always, feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns or just want to say hi!


Melanie Harding

School, Teacher & Volunteer Programs Manager

Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance

773.638.1766 (x16)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Little Green Thumbs (Wednesday Afternoons)

Little Green Thumbs (Wednesday Afternoons)

As usual, we’re filling up our late night with fun things for families. And now that summer is almost here (I think), we’re going to move some of the happenings outside. Each Wednesday afternoon, our staff will be in the Demonstration Garden hosting make-and-take projects and open explorations like digging, playing with sticks & rocks, and just plain getting dirty! The shift is 2:30-6:30pm on Wednesdays.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Controversial after-school grant program ended

April 5, 2009 7:54 PM 3 Comments

SPRINGFIELD -- It took a mammoth budget crisis and the arrest of Rod Blagojevich, but state leaders are shelving a dubious after-school grant program that a Tribune investigation found included many handouts that rewarded one lawmaker's political supporters.

The Illinois State Board of Education deleted $9.7 million for the controversial program from next year's budget proposal, and new Gov. Pat Quinn backed up that decision.The decision comes after the Tribune reported last year that state Sen. Rickey Hendon (D-Chicago) helped at least 21 campaign workers and donors get the grants, some totaling $20,000.Nearly half of the 48 grant recipients the Tribune investigated were found to be running dubious programs or declined to show how the money was spent.

In one case, a church sat darkened and padlocked during after-school hours even though it was presented as a tutoring center. In another, a woman used her grant for billboard ads to encourage teens to attend community college but pocketed nearly half the money.All of the questionable projects shared the same sponsor: Hendon.The veteran lawmaker recently said that not every organization he helped abused the grants. "Even though everybody might not get it right, that's no reason to kill a program that we have to have," he said.Hendon said he will fight to restore the grants to keep children busy after school.

If lawmakers are going to raise the state income tax, then "I got to get something for my people," he said.The senator said he can't help it if some organizations misused state money and that it's the Board of Education's job to monitor the grants. The agency has said it doesn't have the manpower to police the grantees.Following the Tribune's investigation, the board tightened its grant requirements.

In December, less than two weeks after then-Gov. Blagojevich was arrested, a state board that for years had rubber-stamped the lawmaker-requested grants decided to freeze the program.Agency spokesman Matt Vanover said Blagojevich did not instruct the board to do so. Only $1.26 million of the funds set aside were spent, he said."The board decided to focus its resources in areas that would help schools to do the most for students," Vanover said, which meant putting more money in the general fund instead of paying for specialized programs.Besides the after-school grants, the agency also cut $8 million for a class-size reduction test program, $7 million for gifted education and $200,000 for the Adler Planetarium. It was part of $111 million in cuts.

America in Harmony

"Homegrown arts to make us into one people, to teach us who we are."
Jeremy McCarterNEWSWEEK
From the magazine issue dated Apr 13, 2009

Even a day later, Wynton Marsalis couldn't explain why he was crying so hard during the speech he gave last Monday night at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. "Man, I don't know," he told me. "I'm not really a person that's effusive. I'm a quiet type of person. Dick Vermeil"—the notoriously teary ex-NFL coach—"that's not me."

The impeccably cool artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center had come here to deliver the Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy. His speech, which he titled "The Ballad of the American Arts," was a bravura 50-minute survey of how our country has used "homegrown arts to make us into one people, to teach us who we are." He made surprising connections, praising Ben Franklin and Charlie Parker in turn for being "the living embodiment of down-home sophistication." And, because he'd brought a quintet and his trumpet along, he added musical illustrations, tracing the progress of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" through Sousa's marches to the Mickey Mouse Club theme. "I'm trying to tell you all this stuff was connected before the DNA told you," he said.

Marsalis's eloquence and easy humor made his tears at the finale all the greater a surprise. He bowed and cried, and bowed and cried, which made the crowd cheer even more. Though he couldn't articulate what brought on this emotion, he told me it came from feeling "overwhelmed"—from putting into words the full weight of the tragic, glorious history bound up in our arts, and vice versa: "That's our life, that's the life I live, so it started to hit me."

Monday, March 30, 2009

Save That Mural SSAL Laura Gilmore- Activism

Save That Mural
Article - Pro Bono, Worldwide

October, 2005 Laura Gilmore is a local artist who was commissioned to paint a large, 12 x 70 foot, mural for a jazz-themed restaurant in a Chicago suburb. Assisted by Lena Rush, she painted and installed the beautiful mural, which depicted pioneering American musicians. The restaurant tenant defaulted on the lease and the building owner rented the space to a new tenant who was about to paint over the mural. Laura consulted Lawyers for the Creative Arts (LCA) about some money due to her, but during the meeting, it became apparent to LCA that the bigger issue was the preservation of the unique and valuable mural. LCA enlisted the help of Wayne Tang of Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP. (Mayer, Brown received LCA's Distinguished Service Award in 2003 for its pro bono service to the arts.) Wayne, assisted by summer associates Lacey Donovan and Brian Netter, explained to Laura her rights under the Visual Artists Rights Act, part of the U.S. Copyright Law, which provides artists with protection against the destruction or mutilation of recognized works of art. Wayne immediately prepared to file suit in federal court to protect the work and the new tenant quickly reached agreement with Wayne and Laura to preserve the painting until Laura finds a new home for it. This is an excellent example of how willing Chicago's finest attorneys are to give of their time and talent to support the arts.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


This is so RANDOM, post "Phantom Gallery Chicago Network" Chicago Artists Month.
Thanks to all the artists in the Network who
busted but
to pull off each of these openings.

Here is a comment I made in response to a question "Recession Biting Artists in the (Canv)Ass In these recessionary times, galleries are closing down, auction houses are getting millions less than normal in sales for even big-name masterpieces, and starving artists are starving even more. Recently we asked a few dozen artists and gallerists how they were surviving Great Depression II: The Internet Edition.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

YRC Worldwide Gifts $250,000 to the MLK JR. Boys & Girls Club

YRC Worldwide, one of the largest transportation and trucking firms on earth and a major proponent of a memorial honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. delivered $250,000 worth of donated art supplies and learning software to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boys & Girls Club, 2950 West Washington Blvd, in East Garfield Park, on the West Side of Chicago. The Boys and Girls Club have proposed to keep the dream alive for children in the Chicago area.

A photo of the proposed memorial can be seen on the website

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The State of the Arts

I am wondering about what the "state of the arts" is right now, and where the arts are heading. Last month NPR reported that the NEA was scheduled to receive $50 million in the stimulus package which Obama signed into law last week, but I don't know what the real numbers are. The economy stinks all around. Local funding has been hit hard. Illinois' budget has been slashed, Chicago's budget has too. It seems that a lot of organizations and individuals are trying to decide how/if they want to reconfigure/change direction.

Artists have contributed a lot to neighborhoods like those on Chicago's West Side, and that will continue into the future. But more funding is needed. A lot of artists don't get the kind of monetary compensation that they deserve -- for their roles as educators, curators of cultural programs, and other aspects of their involvement in the community. Artists are part of the "new economy"; Chris Carlsson writes about this phenomenon in his excellent book Nowtopia: How Pirate Programmers, Outlaw Bicyclists, and Vacant-lot Gardeners Are Inventing the Future Today. (Incidentally Richard Florida, who has written extensively about role of the arts in society, will be giving a talk at Columbia College at the end of April.)

It will be interesting to see how things progress, with the Obama administration. How will decisions on the federal level wend their way down to the state and local levels? We can be certain that the days of "trickle down" Reaganomics are over, but still it's hard to see how the funding will hit the streets in constructive ways. And artists / creative types can't just rely on federal funding. However it is pretty remarkable that only a month into his presidency, Obama and his administration have set a tone which have positive ripple effects through different layers of society.

Going back to the role of the arts in society and how that relates to Chicago's West Side (as well as its other neighborhoods), I'm wondering what are the latest developments with Obama's National Arts Policy. A year ago Obama released information about the National Arts Policy Committee, but I'd like to hear about how much of these ideas have been implemented as initiatives. Does anyone reading this blog know about recent developments?

Throughout history creative types have questioned the system and offered up alternative approaches. Here in Chicago and elsewhere in the U.S. there has been lots of evidence of this. Individuals, loose associations, and formalized organizations have been playing around with structures for a long time. It will be interesting to see how change happens.

Environmental and Social Economics

Environmental and Social Economics- I just want to remind artists that are relocating to neighborhoods like East Garfield that this neighborhood has also functioned as a cultural insulator. Within its bosom minority cultures have remained intact, and new ideas have incubated.

We are reminded that urban cycles of decline, decay, and abandonment followed by rebirth through rehabilitation, renovation, and reconstruction may appear to be natural processes. In fact, however, the fall and rise of cities are consequences not only of financial and productive cycles and state fiscal crises but also of deliberated social policy.1


So how do you change a city? The answer is block by block! Adopt a block works effectively in other cities and neighborhoods across America and it can work in East Garfield! Whether it’s taking food to the homeless, cleaning the streets, planting flowers, or playing with kids we need to as artists reconstuct nature.

Homeless today can affect anyone, especially artists. As we witnessed in the Stimulus Bill Government is abandoning artists once again, and the poor, as American’s cities are reorganized around the global economy and corporates profits. Homelessness today is an indictment of the capitalist system, yes artists are being displaced, losing work, losing studio space, and wondering if they should double-up housing.

In today’s economic and political conditions, it is incurable. It results form the elimination of jobs due to automation, and outright greed. These jobs are gone forever. What can we do? The power of society must be brought to bear to compel the government to house everyone in need. More developments like the "Switching Station Artist Loft", affordable housing, for artists!

If you have something to contribute, contact, [1]
1. "Nature as a icon of Urban Resistance"- Gregory Sholette, afterimage September/October 97
1. "Fragments of a Metropolitan Viewpoint, in If You Lived Here: The City in Art, Theory and Social Activism, Brian Wallis, Seattle: Bay Press, 1991

Friday, January 23, 2009

Seeking Artists X 2016 Olympic Bid

Fellow artists, activists, hackivists, community organizers and lovers of green things and economic justice --


Chicago is $420 million in debt and rife with corruption and incompetence. Basic services suck and our public schools are failing to serve our children:

  • Only 6 of 100 Black and Latino high school freshmen males will graduate from a four year college.
  • Between 2003 and 2007, white students' reading scores went up while African American, Hispanic and low-incomes student's scores went down.
  • Money spent in Illinois on: Housing an adult prisoner: $21,000 Educating a child in Chicago: $10,000
  • Only 9% of African American 4th graders ranked proficient or above in reading, ranking Illinois 38 out of 41 states.
  • Illinois has the largest unaddressed district-to-district funding gap in the nation.
  • 2005-2006 School Year Graduation Rates in Chicago
    - Black males - 37%

    - White males - 62%
    (source for these stats:

Join the Artists Anti-Olympic Brigade! Create graphics, street art and online work to help us explain and dramatize what a MISERABLE plan this is for Chicago's future. For example,
we're thinking about a campaign "How Would Spend $2 billion?" - the conservative estimate of how much money Chicago could loose building and running the 2016 games.

Come to a public forum on Saturday, January 31st, at 6pm at UIC Student Center, 750 S. Halsted, #605

For more information:
Contact: 312-235-2873

---please pass this message on to your networks, fellow travelers, allies, colleagues, lovers and MySpace lurkers ---

Day 55 - Barack Obama Mural in Houston Texas (Houston Graffiti Art)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Where Are the New Leaders We Need?

Talk about the spectacle of failed leadership, I'm sure you've been following the circus surrounding our governor here and the brazenness of his corrupt practices and his defiance. In Chicago we see abundant evidence of gross corruption and incompetence of the state, county and city government on a daily basis. These people are clownishly venal and are literally bankrupting our local government,

The collapse of our financial system and the $50 billion rip-off by financier Bernie Madoff underscores the need to develop a new cadre of leaders who have a different set of values and a different mindset about public stewardship and the concept of "value." Clearly, the business leaders, lawyers and politicians who have run the economy - people who are supposed to know what is "valuable" have been either terribly wrong or have perpetrated a massive fraud on the public.

Artists and creative folk, I maintain, among their sets of values and mindsets, have a quality that would have poised a counter-weight to this point of view - namely, an appreciation of intrinsic worth. It seems that what was "valued" so highly and treasured by business, legal and regulators was a mirage - a soap bubble - it seems that what we were told was "valuable" - was, in fact, worthless. Artists, I maintain, create out of a sense of giftedness - they generate, and appreciate, things that seemingly have no worth - yet are extremely valuable. What, after all, is the "value" of the air we breathe, the smile of a young child, the gasp of surprise while watching a great ballet or the feeling of connectedness from listening to a song from another country? But we clearly need leaders who get the value of the intangible and appreciate the intrinsic worth of things and concepts that can't be placed on a balance sheet. Many have argued that a blind trust of the "market" has led the planet to the precipice of ruin.

Would it be fair of me to challenge business school deans and law school deans to defend the curriculum and the values they are instilling in our future business and government leaders? Allan Greenspan admitted he got it wrong. Oops. The University of Chicago is embroiled in some controversy because it wants to establish an institute in honor of Milton Friedman. This seems like a very appropriate time to debate what, exactly, do we mean by "value" and whose values are driving the major economic and political decisions of the country.

Failed political leaders plus a collapsed financial system. What a mess. It seems like the right time for new leaders to come forward and offer their ideas and talents for the public good.

Could YOU be one of them?