In partnership with the Center for the Study of Race, Politics & Culture (CSRPC), Arts + Public Life (APL) supports individual local artists whose work examines themes relevant to South Side communities and engages issues of race and ethnicity. Artists who participate in the program have demonstrated a history of rooting their practice in community engagement. The ten-month paid residency program provides space, materials and stipends, eliminating barriers to participation. During this program, artists have access to rehearsal, performance and exhibition space at the Arts Incubator and Green Line Performing Arts Center in Washington Park, and access to the academic and research resources of the University.
Scheduled to formally launch in January 2021, a modified version of the APL/CSRPC Artist-in-Residence program scaled to fit the new reality of socially distanced art experiences, and in compliance with safety measures, has been planned for 2021 to accommodate for COVID-related city and campus closures. During this modified residency engagement, the residents will have access to their artist studios at the Arts Incubator in Washington Park with no audiences nor visitors permitted entrance. Arts + Public Life and Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture are committed to cautiously and safely carrying out the vision for the artist-in-residence program, while finding innovative opportunities to support artists of color and South Side artists in unprecedented circumstances.
Meet the 2021 Artists-in-Residence:
Zakkiyyah Najeebah Dumas-O'Neal (she/her)
Najeebah Dumas O’neal’s work is most often initiated by personal and social histories related to family legacy, queerness, community making, intimacy, and interiority. Her practice borrows from visual traditions such as social portraiture, video assemblage, drawing, collage, and found images. She makes work to further understand and investigate how her own singular lived experiences, and others are connected to broader shared histories and social/cultural experiences. In addition to this investigation, there’s a commitment to reinforcing a different kind of gaze (and gazing) enacted through empathy, desire, love, and longing. Najeebah Dumas O’neal is continuously exploring how these feelings (within all her work and through engagement), are exchanged between herself, her family, collaborators of her portraits, and those who experience the work. Her work has been included in numerous group exhibitions and she has had solo exhibitions at ADDS DONNA, Mana Contemporary, and South Bend Museum of Art. She has also curated exhibitions at Chicago Art Department, Blanc Gallery and Arts + Public Life's Washington Park Arts Incubator. This past year Najeebah Dumas-O’neal was the 2019- 20 Jackman Goldwasser Artist in Residence at the Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago. She is also a co-founder of CBIM (Concerned Black Image Makers): a collaborative project that prioritizes shared experiences and concerns by lens-based artists of the Black diaspora.
A.J. McClenon (she/her/they/them)
Born and raised in “DC proper,” A.J. McClenon studied art and creative writing at the University of Maryland and The New School prior to receiving a Master of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2014. Chicago has since been a second home to A.J. Alongside artistic experiences, A.J. is passionate about teaching and community collaborations with the goal that all the memories and histories that are said to have “too many Black people,” are told and retold again. As a means to uphold these stories A.J. creates performances, installations, objects, sounds, visuals, and writings. These creations often revolve around an interest in water and aquatic life, escapism, Blackness, science, grief, US history, and the global future. A.J. is deeply invested in leveling the hierarchies of truth and using personal narrative to speak on political and cultural amnesia and their absurdities. It has been a pleasure for A.J. to have shared work and performed in spaces like the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; LA Film Forum; Echo Park Film Center; Danspace Project; Woman Made Gallery; Roman Susan Gallery; Links Hall; National Museum of African American History & Culture; and Hyde Park Art Center.
Lola Ogbara (she/her)
Lola Ayisha Ogbara (cultural worker/ artist) born and raised in Chicago, Illinois holds many talents under her belt, i.e. design, mixed media, sculpture, photography and instillation. “My practice explores the multifaceted implications and ramifications of sexuality in regards to the Black experience. I work with clay as a material in order to emphasize a necessary fragility which symbolize an essential contradiction implicit in empowerments”. Ogbara holds a Bachelor of Arts in Arts Entertainment & Media Management from Columbia College Chicago in 2013 and a MFA in Visual Arts from Washington University Sam Fox School of Art & Design. In 2017, Ogbara co-founded Artists in the Room, a collective of artists and scholars who host artists, emerging and well-known, in hopes of serving as a catalyst for artist development and networking. Ogbara has also received numerous fellowships and awards, including the Multicultural Fellowship sponsored by the NCECA 52nd Annual Conference. Ogbara has exhibited in galleries across the country. She is currently based in Chicago, Illinois.