“Ode to the City” is a grassroots project that targets communities with stories to tell and art to create. We provide neighborhood members with the resources and platform to tell those stories.                                           


Our Mission

Our aim is to empower multigenerational artists from city neighborhoods to tap into the power of color to challenge dominant narratives, and to imagine alternatives for their communities and for themselves through a variety of artistic medium. Our vision is as follows:

  1. Amplify the voices and perspectives of underrepresented community members and artists by providing materials and platforms for their stories and art to be shared with the public. 

  2. Rebuild cultural foundations of underinvested neighborhoods by inciting community revitalization that is culture based, artist led, neighborhood driven, and long-term in scope.

  3. Stage a series of public exhibitions highlighting creations and stories in local spaces, encouraging community and city-wide engagement in local artistic movements. 


Free and open to the broader Chicago public, these workshops and exhibitions will aim give voice and visibility to marginalized city residents, uniquely allows for local inhabitants to work to reclaim a public narrative about their neighborhoods. Through this project, we hope to deconstruct stereotypes, breakdown barriers, and inspire neighborhood and city-wide exchanges of collaborative action, art-making, and new understanding.

What We're implementing 

  • 8 week long multigenerational workshop series, all held in community spaces and open to the public 
  • An open mic/reading series where our teaching artists and workshop participants can share their work together in local spaces.
  • A teaching artist core staff who will bring expertise from a broad range of artistic mediums to kid's summer day camps. 
  • A culminating, multimedia artistic exhibition featuring the products of our 8 week workshop series. 

WHere we're working

We have four series of weekly workshops:

  1. Saturday afternoons - Mixed Media (Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative, Greater Grand Crossing; Saturdays, 1-3 pm):

  2. Tuesday evenings - Poetry (Bing Art Books, Washington Park; Tuesdays, 6-8 pm)

  3. Thursday afternoons - Mixed Media (DuSable Museum, Washington Park; Thursdays, 1-4 pm)

  4. Monday evenings - Visual Arts (Arts Incubator, Washington Park; Mondays, 6-8 pm)

See full schedule with workshop descriptions and teaching artists bios here