Love In The Time Of...
The Chicago ACT (Artists Creating Transformation) Collective builds political artistic collaboration and dialogue across multiple communities. We aim to generate work that both reflects and responds to current local needs identified by those most directly impacted. The Collective enacts self and community care through art-making.
Chicago has a long standing history of justice organizing efforts from settlement housing to labor movements to environmental justice, immigrant and refugee rights and racial solidarity to name a few. Through this work, there have been ongoing learning opportunities for holding space for multiple truths while threading together community efforts. In honoring the fierce work of activism past and present, the Chicago ACT Collective forms bridges between social movements as well as what it means to be in relationship to ourselves, each other, and the communities we are part of.
Formed in 2016 by William Estrada and Sarah Atlas, a group of artists, activists, educators, arts administrators, and thinkers came together to create work responding to justice and local grassroots efforts which quickly grew into a collective of chosen family. Love in the Time Of...is an opportunity to reflect on the ways in which art has been used to amplify critical conversations across our city’s social justice efforts while simultaneously cultivating a collective culture of love and care. Writer bell hooks states, ““Embracing a love ethic means that we utilize all dimensions of love-- "care, commitment, trust, responsibility, respect and knowledge"-- in our everyday lives'” (All About Love).
Through camping, solidarity campaigning through art-making, zoom check-ins during a global pandemic, radical care as a strategy, and cross collaborations, we have developed an interpersonal love ethic that carries--if not centers--continual conversations on social justice based artwork we are committed to developing in Chicago.
It is from this lens, Act Collective presents, “Love in the Time of…” as an ongoing ellipse of our commitment to create from the various dimensions of love as we envision and move toward liberation.
When We Fight We Win
In the fall of 2019, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and Local 73 (SEIU) banded together and marched in solidarity to demand justice for the students of Chicago Public Schools. Over 30,000 bodies flooded downtown, demanding restorative justice programs, nurses and librarians in every school, shared planning time, and equitable resources to be allocated across our city’s schools. This moment shed light on the depths of divestment from our students and working class families, delivering a historical win.
When We Fight We Win, is a sliver of collective movement building engaging art as an opportunity to educate, inspire, and heal. The show, therefore, serves as a site of reflection, recuperation, and strategizing in the midst of a global pandemic and national civil unrest.
In reflection, how do we pivot to center the voices of students and families most directly impacted by criminalization, police brutality, immigration policies, inequity in housing, healthcare, lack of access to food and other basic necessities? How can we use this living and breathing show as an opportunity to learn and imagine what’s next? Schools continuously find themselves as the centerpiece and heart of our communities. As such, it is our duty to continue to fight, and continue to win.
Curated by: Silvia Inés Gonzalez | Text edited by Niamh Burke | Wall Text Illustrated by: Shelby Rodeffer
Special thanks to the Chicago Teachers Union, teachers, families, students and Art Build supporters.