HOW CAN WE PAY TRIBUTE TO THE BUILDING OF BLACK WEALTH BY USING PUBLIC ART?
Black Wall Street Journey, a multifaceted city wide project, pays tribute to the building of Black wealth using public art to tell the stories from the journeys of Black communities in Chicago and beyond. It builds on the connection between Chicago and Tulsa, home to the prosperous Greenwood neighborhood known as Black Wall Street and target of the 1921 Race Massacre killing over 300 Black Tulsans and sending over 10,000 looking for refuge. Black Wall Street Journey’s mission is to highlight the innovative minds and entities that have made Chicago a hub of Black prosperity using public art to inform and promote to the general public about Black wealth.
The main goal of the project is to use public art as a way to inform and promote to the general public about the Black wealth and business of Southside Chicago and beyond. BWSJ is comprised of two branches, art and technology, with activations through multiple outlets including murals by Dorain Sylvain and the 24-hour black wealth video stream ‘Black Wall Street Journal’. The ‘Journal’, on view throughout Chicago, features local Black-owned businesses, curated texts by Natalie Moore, and research surrounding Black wealth by Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society, in collaboration with the Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation and the Department of Sociology at the University of Chicago.
Going deeper, Black Wall Street Journey includes a series of poster installations throughout the city and a summer program in collaboration with the Smart Museum of Art and Chicago Housing Authority’s 2021 summer teen program. Black Wall Street Journey is Artist Rick Lowe’s first Chicago-based social sculpture as part of Toward Common Cause: Art, Social Change, and the MacArthur Fellows Program at 40, a multi-venue exhibition and program series organized by the University of Chicago’s Smart Museum of Art to mark the 40th anniversary of the MacArthur Fellows program throughout 2021.
Black Wall Street Journey is being realized in collaboration with the University of Chicago’s Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society and Arts + Public Life initiative and numerous individual collaborators. Lead support for the project is provided by the Allstate Foundation.
In addition to a $250,000 grant award from the Allstate Foundation for the first year of project development, this project was made possible in part with support from the National Academy of Design/Edwin Austin Abbey Memorial Trust Fund for Mural Painting; and in-kind support from JCDecaux. Black Wall Street Journey is being supported through research funds from the Neubauer Collegium, The Field Foundation of Illinois and a series of collaborations with a host of local contributors.