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Haus: An Introspective of House Music, Architecture + Queer Culture at 3831

November 18, 2023 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Join us for a special roundtable talk on the iconographic and cultural reference to House as a ‘revolutionary Black Space’!


South Side Community Art Center is thrilled to host an informative and reflective roundtable panel, discussing both the iconographic and cultural reference to House as a ‘revolutionary Black Space’.



This dynamic panel will be moderated by SSCAC Exhibitions Manager and Curator Lola Ayisha Ogbara, featuring Boogie McClarin, Antonio Robles Levine (BLESSTONIO), Duane Powell, Frederick Dunson, Meida Teresa McNeal, and Skyla S. Hearn.


The panel will explore central themes such as “The House” as a revolutionary Black space; Architecture (Bauhaus), House Music, Queer Culture, and South Side Community Art Center’s history in relation to such themes.

Expanding upon Floating Museum’s Chicago Architectural Biennial’s theme for this year “This is a Rehearsal” framework, this program intends to highlight how SSCAC, or any other home/house or space in Chicago’s South Side, has served as a place of rehearsal or refinement of craft during the height of house music.


Trail-blazing performer, educator, philosopher, builder and guide, Boogie McClarin explores movement and music for liberation, transformation and celebration. Prolific, award-winning, and ubiquitous, Boogie McClarin has been an integral force in Chicago’s arts and culture for two decades, performing for a broad array of artists including: Chicago Dance Crash, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Chip E, Darryl Pandy, Hieroglyphic Being, Ni’ja Whitson, Orisha Dance Chicago, Kirby Reed, Ron Trent, Lisa Johnson Willingham, Trio Mokili (featuring Makaya McCraven and Junious Paul) and Oveous. She has appearances in videos by Kafele Bandele, Mr Greenweedz, and most notably in the Terry Hunter remix of the House music anthem, “In The Beginning There Was Jack” by Chuck Roberts ft Monique Bingham. A pioneer in dance education, Boogie McClarin began to cultivate her unique curricula and pedagogy while teaching “Hip-Hop/Funk/House” in 1999 at The Old Town School of Folk Music (eventually becoming “Chicago House” and “Urban Social Dance” in 2007).


Boogie McClarin continues to lovingly share her approach to dance in Chicago, nationally and internationally. She has produced shows, workshops, lectures and writing for classrooms, universities, theaters and public spaces.

Recent projects include work with Free Street Theater (“50 in 50” and “Still/Here”), Forward Momentum, and the Chicago House Music Festival.


Antonio Robles Levine (@Blesstonio) is a Chicago-based DJ, classically trained musician, event/music producer, and dancer. Antonio is fascinated with club culture and has spent years studying and curating events in Chicago and Santa Barbara. His multicultural background lends him an attuned, eclectic ear ready to sonically compel audiences and create electric and magnetic dance floor experiences. As a club dancer committed to fostering an inclusive, dance-focused environment, Antonio believes in the legacies of clubs and dance floors as brave spaces for “queerness, blackness, transgression, community, inclusivity, freedom, liberation, inspiration, and radical joy” (Honey Dijon), where dancers and DJs are equal, active participants in protecting these sacred spaces of movement. Antonio was the co-founder and resident DJ of Fortune, a party series that centered dance as liberation and holds a safe space for the TQLGB+, Femme, Non Binary, BIPOC, and disabled communities.


BLESSTONIO was nominated in the Chicago Reader’s 2022 “Best of List” for Best House Music DJ. Fortune won 2nd place in The Chicago Reader’s Best Dance Party category.


BLESSTONIO currently holds DJ residencies at Blind Barber, The Charleston, and AAJA Radio in London. He was an honorary guest DJ at the Frankie Knuckles Tribute two years in a row (Sept 2022 & Sept 2023) in partnership with The Chicago House Music Festival, DCASE, Rebuild Foundation, and The Frankie Knuckles Foundation. He recently sat on The Museum of Contemporary Art panel in discussion with house music pioneer and The Warehouse founder, Robert Williams. He has opened up for The Blessed Madonna, Ron Trent, and Ron Carrol.


Duane Powell‘s love for music started an early age growing up in the 1970’s being exposed to Chicago’s rich soul music scene.


As a historian, Powell created the interactive lecture series Rear View Mirror Sessions sharing his vast knowledge about the history of music legends at UChicago Arts, Stanford University, Detroit Institute Of Arts and Chicago Public Library. With his knowledge of the music industry, Powell became a fixture on the global music scene and began speaking about his knowledge of the business on panels and workshops including The International Soul Summit (ATL), Urban Organic (Detroit), I Got Soul Conference (Dallas), Chicago Artist Resource and the Chicago Cultural Center.


As a DJ, Duane has spun at and held residencies at many of the most popular venues and galleries around the city including the House Of Blues, Virgin Hotel, Museum Of Contemporary Art and Navy Pier. In addition, he has opened for many heavyweights in music including opening for Frankie Beverly & Maze at The Taste Of Chicago and has shared the bill with many legendary DJ’s and Grammy-winning producers in the dance music world including Joe Claussell, DJ Spinna, Steve “Silk” Hurley, Maurice Joshua, Josh Milan, Timmy Regisford, Ron Trent and more. In 2019, he was named Chicago’s best House Music DJ by the Chicago. In 2022, he was chosen to represent Chicago as a featured DJ for the hugely global Boiler Room TV.


In 2022, with his Sunday Service he opened the stage at The Chicago Gospel Fest and in 2023, he was invited to bring Sunday Service to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in D.C.


Frederick Dunson is the Executive Director of the Frankie Knuckles Foundation.

Serving others and giving back to his community has always been important to Frederick Dunson. Born on Chicago’s West Side, he attended Our Lady of Perpetual Help Grammar School, St. Ignatius College Prep and Columbia College where he majored in Arts & Entertainment Management & Public Relations. He was employed at the Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County for nearly 34 years. He received numerous commendations and acknowledgements for his public service and retired in December of 2014.


Since then he has continued his service work as Founder, President & Executive Director of the Frankie Knuckles Foundation – NFP, formed to honor famed Grammy Award winner Frankie Knuckles, Frederick’s best friend and business partner to continue Frankie’s legacy through charitable endeavors. Dunson and Knuckles who were partners of their production company D/E Entertainment held some of the most highly anticipated and attended events for 13 years at some of the most renown and venerable venues here in the city of Chicago.

Founded in December 2014, the Frankie Knuckles Foundation – NFP is a not for profit educational, and cultural organization dedicated to the advancement of Frankie Knuckles’ mission as the global ambassador of house music through media, conservation and public events continuing and supporting the causes he advocated. The FKF is a recognized 501c3 and focused on these initiatives: music in schools, LGBTQ youth homelessness, AIDS research / prevention & diabetes research / education.


Frederick currently serves on the Board of the Empowerment Center for Better Living where he attends and is a member as well.


Skyla S. Hearn, a proud Chicagoan by way of the Great Migration (Mississippi), is an information professional who is most concerned with supporting community efforts to further substantiate first-person-centered perspectives to strengthen their own documentation and to contribute to incomplete overarching records.

Addressing efforts to establish personal, community and cultural heritage archives, Skyla founded ActivelyArchiving and works closely with creators on local, national, and international projects; and is a co-founder of The Blackivists.


Institutional work includes inaugural Manager of Archives for Cook County Government under the Board President and Commissioners; Director of Archives and Special Collections for DuSable Museum of African American History; Adjunct Assistant Professor for the Museum and Exhibition Studies (MUSE) Graduate Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Skyla is currently the Lead Processing Archivist for the Johnson Publishing Company Archive at the Getty Research Institute.


Towards legacy building, she proudly co-edited the zine publication Our Girl Tuesday: An Unfurling for Dr. Margaret T.G.Burroughs alongside Tempestt Hazel and Sarah Ross with an introduction by Mariame Kaba, published by Sojourners for Justice Press.

Meida Teresa McNeal is Artistic and Managing Director of Honey Pot Performance. She received her PhD in Performance Studies (Northwestern) and her MFA in Choreography & Dance History (Ohio State). Awards include an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in New Performance Forms, Field Foundation’s Leaders for a New Chicago, 3Arts Award in Dance, Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artist, and the Links’ Hall Co-Missions Fellowship.


An Independent Artist and Scholar at the intersection of performance studies, dance, and critical ethnography, Meida teaches at University of Chicago and Columbia College Chicago. Meida also works with the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events’ Executive Administration team as the Senior Manager of Arts & Community Impact Investments building and implementing artist recovery programs and creative placemaking grantmaking initiatives. Prior to this role, Meida worked with the Chicago Park District as Arts & Culture Manager supporting community arts partnerships, youth arts, cultural stewardship, and civic engagement initiatives.



November 18, 2023
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
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Works in EMERGENCE are diverse in their subject matter and media, but a few themes reappear throughout. Working in abstraction or in the traditionally peaceful genre of still life, artists like William Carter, Allen Stringfellow, and Jonathan Green express themes of interiority or sociability, history or modernity. Notably, Stringfellow and Ralph Arnold both experimented with media and materials and worked extensively in collage, which allowed them to combine abstract design, figurative imagery, and on occasion political ideas.

Viewers typically expect Black artists to focus on particular aspects of their social and political identities within their work. Where might those expectations come from? Still life, abstraction, and collage may express many different things about artists’ interior lives and their visual and social observation, whether connected to public manifestations of identity or not.

William Carter’s mid-century still life Untitled presents a group of vibrantly colored bottles that invite the viewer’s gaze, set against a similarly colorful background with floral elements like grapes and leaves. They give evidence of conviviality and might be interpreted as symbols of social gatherings, but they could also just be a collection of pleasing forms. We might put Carter’s still life in dialogue with that of Jonathan Green, who became close friends with Carter while living in Chicago. Green’s close-up view of an eloquently simple composition presents oranges, a pear, and a lemon in front of two vessels. Works like this piece call the viewer to examine the objects the artist chose to include, to consider how they interact with each other like bodies in space, and to reflect on their meaning within the traditional genre of still life painting.

Collage might suggest the piecing together of identity from different components that might not usually coexist, giving room for more expansive imaginations of meaning than a straightforward representational image might allow. It could also just be an inventive way of combining colors, shapes, and textures. Allen Stringfellow’s Untitled, a collage from 1962, brings familiar motifs from still life—fruit and flowers, desserts and glassware—together with imagery of artist’s models and performers. Layered with paint and tissue paper that frustrate the viewer’s attempt to get clarity on the subject matter, the bursts of form and colors hint at the splashy abstraction of Stringfellow’s untitled, textured painting made from house paint and particulate on cardboard. Here the artist tests commonly found materials to create new textures and plays with the creation of colors and finishes that diverge from “Western” academic painting methods.

In The Waiting, Arnold constructs a large collage from different paper components, lace, and paint. In the piece, elements of European and African art are placed in dialogue with one another, while some figures appear alone and isolated, others in large groups. Without giving easy answers, Arnold implies questions about social issues. Who is waiting, and for what? In his Love Sign II, which bears the words “Love is Universal,” Arnold asserts the equal validity of all types of romantic affection and love, utilizing collage to convey a more straightforward political message.