Elmhurst Art Museum Explores Fair Housing through a Social Justice Lens

Elmhurst Art Museum Fair Housing Chicago DefenderWith social justice at the forefront of some of American’s biggest concerns,  the Elmhurst Art Museum is taking a moment to highlight racial and housing inequity through art. Starting December 3rd through May 8th, 2021, the historic Mies van der Rohe McCormick House, adjacent to the Elmhurst Art Museum, will present a complementary exhibition entitled, “There is Black Housing in the Future: Equitable Public Housing as Memorial,” supported by the Goethe-Institute and Wunderbar Together. This exhibit is inspired by Afro-Futurist artists and writers who affirm African-American communities’ visibility and well-being over space and time. The exhibit will feature Pittsburgh-based interdisciplinary artist and cultural producer Alisha Wormsley and conceptual artist Ayanah Moor, professor of print-media at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Wormsley and Moor will create an installation in the McCormick House as a means of activism and education to support the fight for the future of Black housing, using everyday items to guide viewers in the production of message-based posters, yard signs, and even kites to support communities’ voices.   The exhibit will reference grassroots organizations, such as Moms4Housing, which advocate for affordable, dignified housing for all. John Mckinnon, Executive Director of Elmhurst Art Museum, states, “We believe that art is a powerful tool for change, and our mission as an art museum is always to inspire people to see and think differently through art. We are proud to launch a number of events and exhibitions that further important conversations about inequities of the past leading up to today.”

Elmhurst Art Museum Fair Housing Chicago DefenderThe Fair Housing exhibits continue throughout 2021, with more opportunities for patrons to leam more about the Chicago Freedom Movement continued fights for fair housing in the Chicagoland area.  On January 18th, 2021, Martin Luther King Day, the Elmhurst Art Museum will host a group discussion for those interested in learning more about this important work. The group discussion will include participants from the 1966 marches and other experts in the field. The virtual event is free and available on  www.elmhurstartmuseum.org·

The reflection on historical and contemporary responses on fair housing continues at the Museum March 4th through June 20th, 2021 with, “In Focus: The Chicago Freedom Movement and The Fight for Fair Housing,” sponsored by the David C. & Sarajean Ruttenberg Arts Foundation. In Focus features some of the first-ever color documentary photographs taken of Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as other Chicago civil rights leadership and organized public marches. Each photo was taken by 85-year-old photographer, activist, and Wheaton resident Bernard Kleina and provide context for the 1965-67 movement led by King, James Bevel, and Al Raby, who fought against systemic racism and segregation of the Chicagoland area and inspired the Fair Housing Act of 1968.

The Museum is located at 150 South Cottage Hill Avenue in Elmhurst (IL), 25 minutes from downtown Chicago by car or public transportation (Metra). The Museum is one block from the Elmhurst Metra station. Admission is $15 ($12 for seniors) and free for students and children under 18. The Museum encourages non-members to purchase tickets online in advance of visiting the Museum. Members, children, and students may check-in without an advance ticket purchase. All visitors must wear a face mask and are asked to review the Museum’s COVID-19 protocols before visiting at www.elmhurstartmuseum.org/visit/covid/.

The Museum’s galleries are open in accordance with the Restore Illinois Plan to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Current hours: Monday – Wednesday (closed), Thursday – Sunday (12 p.m. – 5 p.m.). Members-only hours Saturday and Sunday (11 a.m. – 12 p.m.). The first Friday of every month is free.

For more information, visit elmhurstartmuseum.org.

Chante’ Gamby is a writer and therapist passionate about social justice and empowering others to live their best lives. You can follow her on Facebook at Fringefam, Instagram@fringegram, or on her website, www.fringefam.com.


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