Collaborations

Throughout my career, I have been lucky to have the opportunity to work with a multitude of other talented individuals and organizations. These creative projects range between murals, theatre, workshops, and beyond. In each experience, the mission of the collaborative group is always to focus on how individuals can work together to use creative talents to make a positive impact in the world.

Public Space, Street Performances in Manifest, Chicago, IL

Public Space came out of a collaboration with artist, Alexandria Miller-Vanover, in which we created a text that converged multiple perspectives of the female experience in public space. The text pulls from personal experience, media sources, instructional manuals. It was performed both at a theatre and in the public- 4 different locations on the street during Manifest, an annual urban arts celebration in the South Loop neighborhood. 

Materialize, Chicago, IL, 2015

The Materialize installation was an experiment in examining the creative process. It includes drawing, painting, video, and projection- all playing off eachother along the way. I wanted to combine the visual composition of "making" through a process and blend it into the visual composition of "viewing" a product. It began as collaboration with the dancer, Stefanie Piatkiewicz, who was working on developing choreography for a dance. I began capturing the gestures of her movements on large paper. As I continued working on the surface, I wanted to add another level to the project. I began playing with the materials and the video from throughout the process. I found a lot of interest in the video of my hands as I created the large painting. I edited down, tore apart, and pixelated the video until it was almost unrecognizable- with only a few clear images of my hands. In the final installation, the two-dimensional drawing was used as a ground, which the video is projected onto- and as the light from the projection moves across the surface, the imagery underneath is emerged and concealed.

Instructor, Storybook Project, Ronald McDonald House, Oak Lawn, IL

English teacher, Sara Carlson, and art teachers, Kristin Tyszkiewicz and I, developed a concept to create an interdisciplinary learning experience to make original storybooks for the families at the Ronald McDonald House in Oak Lawn, IL. The English class wrote the stories, my Honors Studio students created the visuals illustrations (characters and settings), while the Graphic Design classes turned those hand drawings into digital images and added text to the page. At the end, more than 100 Richards students collaborated to create 20 original coloring books. These were copied and printed in max quantitities and dropped off at the Ronald McDonald House.

Contributing Artist, Sounding Bronzeville

I was able to contribute my efforts on a project led by artists, Fo Wilson and Norman Teague, and a large community of other artists: designers, furniture makers, willow experts, etc. The entire sculpture is created using willow to build green and living sculptures. The sculpture park is located in the Burnham Wildlife Corridor to attract more community to the south lake shore areas, as part of the Roots and Routes Initiative. ​The park's design correlates the migration of people and wildlife. It is a gathering space to bring sounds of Bronzeville and sounds of nature together. My group contributed the design and creation of the fence to the park. The project was funded by the Chicago Park District and Field Museum.

Instructor, Community Garden Mural, Morgan Park Academy, Chicago, IL

During one of my summers teaching the Enrichment Summer Arts Camp, I had the opportunity to organize and implement a large scale mural in a community garden within the neighborhood. Since the camp included students ranging within the ages of preschool to 8th grade, it was a challenge to balance the drastic gap between their artistic skill levels. By the end of the mural, each student was able to get involved in some way.

Instructor, Open Your Heart Mural, Harold L. Richards High School, Oak Lawn, IL

This permanent mural, titled Open Your Heart, was created to commemorate 2016’s All American Day. My coworker, Kristin Tyszkiewicz, and I joined our art classes to design and implement the mural. The design was inspired by artist, eL Seed, a French-Tunisian street artist whose unique style incorporates elements of both the graffiti and Arabic calligraphic traditions. The mural was designed to not only celebrate diversity, but also combat Islamophobia and Arabophobia, a lot like eL Seed’s work. The center piece of our mural recreates eL Seed's Open Your Heart image. On the two larger sides, the silhouettes of students from Harold L. Richards High school were overlapped. The clear line of words that continues on the two outside panels is Maya Angelou's quote, "In diversity, there is strength and beauty."

  

Organizer and Instructor, Calumet Park Recreation Center, Calumet Park, IL 

For this project, I worked with a grammar school and another art educator in the area, Jen Glaz, to construct a large scale mural for the Calumet Park Recreation Center. The images and words throughout the design speak to the community's achievements. It celebrates the power of the people associated within the city. The students were able to be a part of the idea development and construction of the entire mural, which now resides in the Calumet Park Recreation Center. 

Organizer and Instructor, The Memory Project, Saint Xavier University, Chicago, IL (2010)-While I was student teaching at Reavis High School, my painting class participated in the Memory Project. The Memory Project is a nationwide initiative in which art students create portraits for children living in orphanages around the world. Given that children in orphanages usually have few personal keepsakes, the purpose of the portraits is to provide them with a special memory of their youth and to help honor their heritage and identity. The project also allows art students to practice kindness, empathy, and service to others. A local journalist, Donna Vickroy, wrote an article about our participation in this project. The article is available online click here.

 

Contributing Instructor, The Memory Project

Throughout the years, my painting classes have participated in the Memory Project. The Memory Project is a nationwide initiative in which art students create portraits for children living in orphanages around the world. Given that children in orphanages usually have few personal keepsakes, the purpose of the portraits is to provide them with a special memory of their youth and to help honor their heritage and identity. The project also allows art students to practice kindness, empathy, and service to others.  A local journalist, Donna Vickroy, wrote an article about our participation in this project. 

Contributing Instructor or Curator, One Million Bones, Washington DC

One Million Bones was a national project to use education, art making, and a public installation to raise awareness about genocide in our past and present. I began participating in this project by collaborating with English teacher, Stephanie Delejewski, where we spent weeks on our cross-curricular unit. These bones were sent to a smaller scale temporary exhibition at Columbia College. After the bones were displayed in Chicago, they were sent to Washington DC, where I also traveled to participate in the installation at the National Mall. I was able to join the great lakes team and help lay out over one million bones.  I wrote a SchoolArts magazine that was published. This can be seen click hereFor more about the project, click here.

Contributing Instructor, Umbrellas for Peace, Morgan Park Academy, Chicago, IL

Since One Million Bones, I worked on a small installation of student work with a summer camp at Morgan Park Academy, where I teach students between the ages of 4 to 12. I also worked with another instructor there, Julia Sendziak. We worked on the Umbrellas For Peace project. Artist, Matt Lamb, started this global art initiative, which uses painting and decorating umbrellas by children with the ultimate purpose of promoting peace throughout the world. In this project, we were able to share group discussions of world peace, as well as ideas of personal peace within each of the children. This ultimately ended with the students participating in a mini-parade around the streets near the school. It was a fun way to get the students excited about their participation in the project and an invitation to the rest of the community to join our commitment to peace. 

Artistic Director, Community Theatre Benefit 

South Suburban Family Shelter, Homewood, IL

I created the designs for t-shirts, advertisements, and program booklet for two benefit productions to raise funds for the South Suburban Family Shelter. I also played an role in the set design and organizing art workshops prior to the performances at Prairie State College. The production was organized and directed by my friend and fellow educator, Brigid Caulfield.