The University of Chicago is deeply committed to being a catalyst for strong mid-South Side neighborhoods. Toward that end, the University has deepened engagement in the arts, both on campus and in local communities over the last several years. This includes development of the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts in Woodlawn, a wide variety of community programming at the Arts Incubator in Washington Park, and support for the creation and restoration of public art that seeks to catalyze neighborhood revitalization, resilience, and involvement.
Under City Stone
In the summer of 2015, in partnership with Chicago Public Art Group, 5th Ward Alderman Leslie Hairston, and artist Caryl Yasko, the Office of Civic Engagement led the restoration of a historic mural at 55th Street and Lake Park Avenue in Hyde Park. Under City Stone, a community mural originally painted by Yasko in 1972, is a testament to public art bringing together community members, neighbors, students, and artists to create a work that embodies the spirit of a diverse, historic, and involved community on the South Side of Chicago.
The Woodlawn Residents Association, in partnership with the Chicago Public Art Group, has created a community mural that pays homage to the local labor history in the Woodlawn neighborhood. Woodlawn Works, located at the railroad underpasses between 66th and 67th streets and Dorchester Avenue, is a collaborative undertaking between four lead artists (Rahmaan Barnes, Damon Reed, Max Sansing, and Bernard Williams), co-lead artists, engaged neighbors, assistant artists, and local high school and University students. The University of Chicago supports this project by connecting the planning group with interested UChicago students, staff, and faculty, as well as promoting the project throughout campus and the neighborhood. The University’s Office of Civic Engagement is also collaborating with Woodlawn Residents Association and the Woodlawn Voices and Visions organization on a film documentation project led by local high school students that will tell the story of the mural process.
Meaningful connections between urban researchers and artists, thinkers, and community activists are essential to the University’s effort to support research that responds to urban opportunities. Through Salvage, an ongoing series of symposiums sponsored by the Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory, UChicago Department of Art History, and the College that explore the value of art and the use and reuse of materials, the Office of Civic Engagement hosted a conversation with Woodlawn neighborhood community members to discuss public art and open space on the mid-South Side. The Office also identified Woodlawn artmakers from the Revival Arts Collective (Anton Seals, William Hill, and Andres Hernandez) to speak about their practices at Salvage 3.0: Built Space. The symposium explored the act and art of salvaging public art and its positive impact on the community.
For more information on public art on campus, please visit publicart.uchicago.edu.