Explore how communities in Chicago are using art to work towards solidarity, outreach, and activism. During this intensive experience, participants will think critically about the issues of urban America and actively engage with members of various communities as they use art for unique and beneficial means.
Today was our second and last day at Little Black Pearl. Since we work so fast, there was not much for us to do. Some of us did did some paper work for Ms. Moody, others made phone calls about the summer program. Some of us also cleaned windows. Then we got the opportunity to work with the after school program. We were divided into three different groups: Ceramics, Multimedia, and Music. In these classrooms we mostly just observed. Those of us in the ceramic room got to work with the clay: a giraffe and two bowls were made. Then after dinner we broke off and did our own thing. A group of use decided to walk down to the Navy Peir. We got to see a wonderful view of the City (see below)
Today we grabbed a delicious breakfast provided by our wonderful hostel family, learned the importance of not putting buttered waffles into the toaster, and got groceries for the week. We took a trip to the Cultural Center where we saw the Morbid Curiosity exhibit and walked through a contemporary photography studio. It tackled the subject of how we assume that photos show us exactly what happened. All the works blurred the lines between reality and imagination. Personally, I thought the different mediums used were inspiring. We got back to the hostel and played a long game of apples to apples (my cards described me as unscrupulous and cuddly, among other things). I ended up falling asleep on the floor for a little while and after my nap we enjoyed a delicious Indian meal made by our lovely trip mates and Carolyn. It's been a great time so far here in the Windy City and I can't wait for the rest of the trip! Let's hope the gorgeous weather continues! I'mma get my tan on!
Hellooo Chicago! Day 2 and it feels like I'm already culturally apart of this city. Today, as Sarah mentioned, we had got up early went to the grocery store- L train plus bags do not work so well- and then went on an adventure to two museums/exhibits in the windy city. At the cultural center we headed straight to the main exhibit titled “Morbid Curiosity”. At first a couple of us were a little hesitant because we didn't know what we were getting ourselves into and thought that it would be a little too “depressing” for our tastes- actually, anyone sane. It was actually the most interesting thing I had seen in a long time. It spoke true to the title, and as an anthropologist major and sociology minor it especially interested me due to the fact that it asked the question “Why?” and it displayed cultural and social meanings and interpretations of death from other countries.
One of the pieces that especially stood out to me was one of a hanging chandelier made entirely of fake bones painted extra white. The description that made me think the most said that “people don't see death directly, rather they see it in the eyes of others”. When thinking of this quote I thought of how true it is and how true and real it could be to other aspects of life. Specifically when spending our time in Chicago. People tend to not see the help that is needed in a community directly or right away, but when working with the people of the city they can ask and ponder, leading to discoveries one could never have imagined.
Today was our first day of our mission of service. After a short "L" ride we arrived in the south side of Chicago with the destination of Little Black Pearl. Little Black Pearl is a non-profit organization, that is a beam of hope in an economically destiute area. It seems to be functioning amazingly with support of the community and ample corporate sponsors. It is an ever-expanding project that has grown from a basement into a $10 million dollar facility, and incorporating a high school into its ambitious project as of this year.
Walking around the facility it seemed like an oasis in the neighborhood it was staged in, which is a testament to the success and the support the foundation has had. The organization offers a variety of art opportunities: glass blowing, ceramics, sculpture, after school programs, a recording studio, and a varitey programs for high school students. Our tour made me envy the students who were in attendance. After a short lunch break we had an opportunity to lend or service to the organization by cleaning and framing some photos. However, for me, this trips has been less about about the actual service but rather seeing how art can be integrated into the community and being introduced to this by serveral organizations that have been successful in this pursuit, and Little Black Pearl is a prime example of this.
After dinner we had some free time so the group split up, some went to the Hancock Observatory and some went to a hookah bar called Samah.
On Saturday morning we all woke up, with shining faces, and met up at the bishop... AT SIX-THIRTY AM..... Then we all piled in safely, and everyone but the front two rows fell asleep. zzzzzzzzz
Once we reached Madison, we stopped for lunch, and everyone felt like a hibernating bear. Stiff, sore, and groggy! We re-packed ourself in the van, and drove on towards Chicago. In the distance, we could see the skyline for about 40 minutes while we sat in traffic, so frustrating! But then again, we decided to drive in on St. Patricks Day... We saw some lovely things, including but not limited to:
-lots of green
-a green river
-people 'frolicking' in the streets
-a big kosher hot dog dancing
-a female dancing and licking the van window.... no lie...
First, some of us got ready, and then we went on the L train and saw some very interesting characters running through the streets, flash mob?? We went and passed the cheesecake factory and went on the fastest elevator in North America, it only took 40 seconds to get to the 94th floor. Our ears popped and it was mildly uncomfortable, but cool. And when we got to the top it was totally worth it because it took my breath away! So cool at night and we could see the carousel at Navy pier, so we'll go there later. On the way down our ears popped again and we HAD to stop by the cheesecake factory and pick up a few slices. I got the best cake, compared to everyone else, it was reese's peanut butter cup, mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
It was totally worth $8.
On the way back on the L train, we experienced true Chicago... yep.
On the other side of town:
The rest of use went to a hookah bar had a really laid-back atmosphere with seating on cushions on the floor and curtains you could draw to make it a more private experience. It was a really fun opportunity to sit back and just chat with new people about the trip, art, and social change. Hey that's what our trip is about!!
We all came back by curfew and tucked in bed, already anticipating the next day's activities : )