The Jane Addams Hull-House Museum
at the University of Illinois at Chicago opens "Unfinished Business: Arts Education," a hands-on exhibit demonstrating the history of arts education in Chicago and the need for art in a thriving democracy.
Visitors to the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum can weave part of a giant city map or print artistic political postcards in "Unfinished Business: Arts Education," the new exhibit on the history of arts education in Chicago.
The hands-on arts stations revive the one-time settlement houses commitment to learning by doing, said Lisa Lee, museum director.
Lee noted that funding for arts education is cut too quickly in bad economic times.
"Art urges a more engaged citizenry, allows for free expression, and creates opportunities for cross-cultural understanding," she said. "This exhibit connects Hull-House history and our times through participatory learning."
The exhibit will include:
*The Community Loom, three floor-to-ceiling looms designed and built by artist Alexis Ortiz, on which visitors can learn a simple indigenous weaving technique and contribute to a large woven map of Chicago.
*The Pop-Up Print Shop, curated by printmaker David Jones of Anchor Graphics. Visitors can use a relief printing press to print artist-designed postcards that they will send to politicians, urging them to support the arts.
"Art Educators Across History," interviews with contemporary Chicago artists juxtaposed with profiles of Hull-House arts education reformers, including world-record-holding break dancer Luis Castro, performance artist Maria Gaspar, Hull-House art school leader Michael Gamboney, Hull-House folk-dance preservationist Mary Wood Hinman, Chicago Public Schools art teacher Mathias Spider Schergen, and improvisational theater pioneer Viola Spolin.
The exhibit's opening reception will be followed by a public presentation by the Guerrilla Girls, the anonymous, gorilla-masked performance group that has protested racial and gender inequity in the art world through public art interventions since 1985.
Several programs will correspond to the exhibition throughout its year-long run, including a residency by the Albany Park Theater Project, a multiethnic youth theater ensemble.