For our 2016-2017 annual event we decided to move out of the gallery and host an outdoor, public event in the North Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago. PNAP developed a mural designed by artists at Stateville and hosted events with project partners at the University of Illinois, Chicago Museum and Exhibition Studies program, National Alliance for the Empowerment of the Formerly Incarcerated (NAEFI), Men Making A Difference (MMAD) and WizeupRizeup.
In the fall 2016, artist Aaron Hughes taught a class at Stateville called “Drawing the Personal, Printing the Public”. Seven artists learned printmaking (a technique that was last taught at Stateville more than a decade ago by Dr. Margaret Burroughs). They created image, text and pattern-based works with the intention of collaging and expanding the work for public spaces. In the spring of 2017, a UIC class taught by William Estrada put the work into action. A group of graduate students in the class-- Chelsea Ridley, Jonathan Kelley, Ayana Chavis and Noora Al Balushi-- were already working with Benny Lee of the National Alliance for the Empowerment of the Formerly Incarcerated (NAEFI) and Robert Calhoun and Charlie Wilson from Men Making A Difference (MMAD). Together, we chose a building at 3346 W 16th St, Chicago, IL 60623 that was gifted to Benny as the site for the mural. The building is empty now but is the future site of a NAEFI community museum.
The mural was painted by community members on May 6th. The next week we hosted a BBQ and celebration of the new mural. Damon Locks DJed; Marvin Tate and other performers read poetry and performed; William Estrada facilitated screen printing with his Mobile Street Art Cart; and local chef Skyler Dees cooked up the delicious food.
This event was made possible by a partnership between Prison + Neighborhood Arts Project, Men Making a Difference, University of Illinois Chicago Museum + Exhibition Studies program, National Alliance for the Empowerment of the Formerly Incarcerated, WizeupRizeup and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. A BIG shout out to Benny Lee, all the members of MMAD, Frank Latin, Skyler Dees, Deon from WizeUpRizeUp, Jason LaFountian, Aaron Hughes, and William Estrada. And deep gratitude to the UIC team: Therese Quinn, Anthony Stepter, Joe Troutman, Chelsea Ridley, Jonathan Kelley, Ayana Chavis and Noora Al Balushi, Amruta Patel, Elena Bulgarella and Christopher Bernu.