The exhibition at Weinberg/Newton Gallery will be inaugurated on October 14, 2022 and remain on view until December 17, 2022. Large-scale collaborative paintings by young artists in SkyART’s Just-Us Program will exemplify the themes of flying and ascendance, imagining new worlds and creating fuller, more nuanced portraits of justice-involved youth. An interactive installation by Jim Duignan will explore the idea of escape, freedom, and imagining new pathways. A large-scale multimedia work by Ebony G. Patterson asks us to examine the innocence of boyhood and play. Mixed media pieces by Cheryl Pope capture the voices and experiences of incarcerated young people. A multi-media installation and a publication by Kirsten Leenaars and Circles & Ciphers, brings to life the writings and stories of incarcerated young people and creates spaces for restorative justice through public events. Mexico City based therapeutic arts organization Arte Pro will present a video portal between Chicago and Mexico, featuring youth from Arte Pro and SkyART’s SkyWAY program, examining both the secondary effects of incarceration on young people and prevention. Finally, a multimedia installation presented by Contextos, highlighting stories written by system impacted Authors in Chicago and El Salvador, will feature original poetry, memoirs, collages and digital animations reflecting on their experiences while incorporating an interactive writing and art activity.
Arts + Public Life will present FREEDOM SPACE, curated by Scheherazade Tillet in collaboration with Black girl artist and activist from A Long Walk Home, opening on October 21, 2022 and running through December 16, 2022. FREEDOM SPACE evolved from the public installations by curator and co-founder Tillet and A Long Walk Home created over an extensive period of time, reclaiming public sites where Black girls and young women have experienced violence. The Freedom Space will be healing and restorative space for the community created from interactive objects and artworks that center Black girls’ play. “If Black women and girls were free, it would mean that everyone else would have to be free since our freedom would necessitate the destruction of all the systems of oppression” – Combahee River Collective.
At SkyART’s flagship studio space in South Chicago, Can you see me? Envisioning the Future will be on view from October 28, 2022 through December 17, 2022. The third installment of Can you see me? at SkyART strives to bridge the gap between creative expression and justice. In addition to their work as teachers, social workers and administrators SkyART’s community is also made up of artists, writers, and curators who are deeply passionate about providing the youth they serve with free, affirming and open spaces to feel empowered and free to express themselves. Each young artist is a complex person filled with fears, anxieties, hopes and dreams. Can you see me? includes work by SkyART community members who are directly impacted by incarceration and whose lived experience informs their work with young people. In a conversation with SkyART youth, practicing educators, mentors and artists will examine what is possible in a future that centers justice for youth. Artists exhibiting at SkyART include Arinique Allen, Basia Brown, Spanish Brown, Andrea Coleman, Guillermo “Junior” Diaz, Crystal “Nikki” Diaz, Jenny Perez, Michael Rangel, Jennifer Torwudzo-Stroh and Ellen Tritschler.