Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Free Write Jail Arts

 Fifteen Years of Free Write Through Icons, Imagery and Poetry

at 6:00pm - 10:00pm in CDT
1932 S Halsted St Suite 100, Chicago, Illinois 60608

The Work: Fifteen Years of Free Write Through Icons, Imagery, and Poetry presents the work of students who are currently or were recently detained in the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center (CCJTDC). The exhibition is the fourth annual exhibition of Free Write student work hosted by Chicago Art Department. Since 2000, Free Write has facilitated creative writing workshops, one-on-one literacy tutoring, and arts programming for youth in the CCJTDC. 

The Work: Fifteen Years of Free Write Through Icons, Imagery, and Poetry will occupy both Chicago Art Department’s east and the west gallery spaces. The east gallery will feature a retrospective of fifteen years of student work organized by visual tropes. The west gallery will feature work created during the 2014-2015 school year including projections of run cycle animations, a listening station featuring recordings of students reading their poetry, and print publications of student writing and art. There will also be live performances by Free Write teaching artists and Free Write alumni.

Quite often, our students come to us with iconographic illustrations such as prayer hands, roses with thorns, and “Laugh Now, Cry Later” masks. By artistically representing and re-imagining these icons, our incarcerated students directly connect themselves to these strong cultural tropes that are resonating with them during a time of crisis. The presentation of these icons seeks to show our students’ connection to their communities and their rich artistic heritages, as well as the resilience, hope, and optimism found through connecting to something larger than them. In the broader context, the exhibition interrogates the role of iconography, relating to the canons of religious, cultural, and pop culture.

Gallery attendees will be given the opportunity to write notes and record video responses to the artists, which will be brought back to the incarcerated students after the show.

The title of the exhibition, The Work, is drawn from conversations between Free Write staff about our daily efforts inside the CCJTDC. The work, as we often describe it, is to facilitate intellectual, artistic, and socio-emotional growth so that the youth we serve can become the narrators of their own stories and authors of their own futures. The work is co-creating with our students a classroom community, the principles of which extend out into their lives when they leave detention, as well as our own. The work is in the risk-taking that our students do as they try new artistic techniques, literacy skills, and performance opportunities. The work is, alongside the youth we serve, studying the socio-economic conditions that create and perpetuate places like the CCJTDC so that we can best work within, around, away from, and ultimately without them. All of this, as presented through this exhibition, is The Work.

Free Write student art and writing provides a foundation and framework for community dialogue on issues of juvenile justice, family engagement, conflict resolution, unfair sentencing and much more. Therefore, Free Write and Chicago Art Department is inviting community allies to co-sponsor special events in the gallery. Individuals or organizations that would like to host an event in the gallery while the show is open, please contact Mathilda de Dios - 

The Work: Fifteen Years of Free Write Through Icons, Imagery, and Poetry is curated by Chicago Art Department resident Chelsea Ross along with Free Write staff members. Free Write Jail Arts and Literacy Program is a program of Chicago Lights.

Links: : : : : :

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Arts Infusion Final Report 2014 - 2015

Hello all,

This is a friendly reminder that the 2014-2015 final report is due soon.  I'm encouraging everyone to submit to the Trust as soon as possible so the reports can be included in the evaluation.  Use the link below to find the report template.  To have your report included in the final evaluation please submit to the Trust by July 24th.
Beggar's Banquet
 A HotHouse Revival 

HotHouse is seeking performance artists
 musicians, chefs and other collaborators for our one-of-a-kind participatory harvest celebration this fall.

The Beggar's Banquet will feature
in situ performances and art installations (around 48 acres of undeveloped land near Heston,Indiana) and culminate in a community feast.

inquiries also 312 752-5316
please communicate your interest to us by July 15
The goal of this project is to come together in an unexpected way to share talent, build community and make art.



HotHouse is also seeking materials support for this project. Please contact us if you have access to or have sources for any of the following to lend for the weekend
  • generator
  • outdoor refriegeration
  • tent (at least 20 x 30)
  • lanterns for correspondence 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015


Smart Chicago is running a Youth-led Tech Program this summer in five Chicago neighborhoods: Austin, Englewood, Humboldt Park, North Lawndale, and Roseland. We are continuing to recruit youth who are between 13 and 18 years old, Chicago residents, and interested in technology. All tech skill levels are welcomed.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Civic Chamber with Hubbard Street 2

7:30 PM
Rzewski, Prokofiev, Pärt, Tenney
Friday, June 12, 2015

Join musicians of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and narrator Ozivell Ecford / O.Z Bangaz for Coming Together/Attica, Frederic Rzewski’s monumental, semi-improvisational, early-minimalistic masterpiece chronicling the 1971 Attica Prison riots. Paired with works by James Tenney and Arvo Pärt and featuring original choreography by dancers of Hubbard Street 2, this program serves as the season finale performance for the Civic Orchestra and its eight Citizen Musician Fellows. Admissions includes complimentary beverages.
Symphony Center
220 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60604
Phone 312-294-3000
Fax 312-294-3329


Man of the House Performance June 26, 2015 at 6PM

On April 17, 2015. Storycatchers Theatre's Temporary LockDown program presented a preview performance of the first 30 pages of their 1 act play "Man of the House". On June 26, 2015, the fully staged production of "Man of the House" will open to the community. This is a Storycatchers Theatre production of the play in its entirety. Storycatchers Theatre prepares youth to consider positive life choices through the process of creating, performing, and producing original musical plays that are based on personal life stories. Most of the youth that Storycatchers Theatre serves are incarcerated or court involved youth. Through writing and performing personal stories, the youth learn empathy, teamwork, tact, commitment, trust, and success.

Ozivell Ecford  has co-composed music for this production. He is also directing it. Cheryl Coons is the Program Manager for the TLD program. It is sure to be a moving experience. I invite you to visit to RSVP for the performance. The performance is June 26, 2015 at 6PM. It will be in the 2nd floor chapel of the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center. refreshments will be served after.

Must RSVP by JUNE 10, 2015. Attendees must be over 18 with a valid I.D. Atire for this event is business casual.There is no cover charge. Attendees should arrive by 5:30PM.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


Apply by May 20
to offer IHC Road Scholar presentations in three categories.

We're preparing for the 2015-16 edition of our Illinois Humanities Council Road Scholars speakers bureau. Since 1997, this program has given many of Illinois' foremost scholars, teachers, authors, and artists the opportunity to share their knowledge and enthusiasm with people throughout our state. It also enables cultural organizations in communities of all sizes to host compelling humanities presentations at an affordable cost.
The application period for speakers interested in joining our 2015-16 Road Scholars roster ended on May 8th. We received many excellent applications, but we're eager for additional applications from people interested in offering presentations that would
1) appeal to people ages 16-25
2) interest Latino/a Illinoisans and could be delivered in Spanish
3) address topics and themes related to water and its cultural significance.
For this reason, we are extending the application period until Wednesday, May 20, at 5pm for anyone who wishes to offer presentations that fit any of the three categories above. If you are interested, please apply here. If you know someone who might be interested, please forward this message and encourage them to apply.
Further information is available here or from Matt Meacham, the program coordinator, at or (312) 422-5589. Thank you!

If selected, IHC Road Scholars are expected to... Give up to six presentations during each program year (at times mutually agreed upon with host organizations); Attend a half-day speaker orientation; Encourage dialogue and conversation among their program audiences; Provide their own mode of transportation (travel costs are reimbursed by the IHC); Reach out to potential host organizations to generate interest in their presentation.
 Compensation: Selected speakers are engaged as contract employees of the Illinois Humanities Council and will receive an honorarium of $150-$300 per program, dependent upon total miles traveled. In addition, the IHC will reimburse the speaker for mileage, meals, and lodging expenses.
Presentation topics: The IHC seeks speakers from a wide range of backgrounds, including science, history, literature, art, music, philosophy, government, etc. While an academic background in your topic is not a requirement, we do ask that your topic is well-researched and thoughtfully presented. We do not consider instructional workshops or how-to programs (ex: “Learn How to Speak in Public”). Topics do not have to be about Illinois, though we do ask you to consider the relevance and appeal of your topic to all Illinoisans. Furthermore, if your program is Chicago-centric or geographically-focused in some other way, we encourage you to find an aspect of the topic that would appeal to audiences around the state. In general, we’re looking for topics that pique our curiosity and surprise our intellects -- topics that will challenge our audiences and invite them to consider the remarkable, the strange, the fantastic, the tragic, the humorous, and the beautiful. We hope to assemble a roster of IHC Road Scholars programs that, in their totality, will take our audiences on a journey in which they can examine the world in all its varied shades and help them to see and understand all that it contains, including the good, the bad, and the ugly.