Bronzeville Art District Trolley Tour with DJ Finding Ijeoma

Join us for a night of dancing this Friday for our 3rd Bronzeville Art District (BAD) Trolley Tour of the summer, with guest DJ Finding Ijeoma! She’ll be dj’ing alongside our current video works on view in the Burroughs gallery, as part of 'Black Light Cinema Project'!   Alexandria Eregbu is a creative anthropologist. Her […]

Telling Your Story: Grant Writing Workshop for Artists

Join us in a workshop with Lauren Woods for a partnership with ILA’s flagship program, G-to-G (Getting to Our Goals) Coaching Series.     ILA’s flagship program, G-to-G (Getting to Our Goals), is an ongoing effort to advance our mission of educating, celebrating, and elevating Black artists across Chicago. These monthly activations serve as an […]

Telling Your Story: Grant Writing Workshop for Artists Part ll

Join our second workshop with Lauren Woods for a partnership with ILA’s flagship program, G-to-G (Getting to Our Goals) Coaching Series!      After the wealth of information exchanged in our first session of "Telling Your Story" workshop, we invite you to join ILA, SSCAC, and Lauren Woods for an afternoon writing session, specially catered […]

3831 Activation | Friendship Meditation: A Rehearsal

Join us for an evening of "rehearsal" with Anna Martine Whitehead and Damon Locks !   Presented with Chicago Architecture Biennale, during Chicago Exhibition Weekend.     Locks and Whitehead will activate the basis of their friendship -- rehearsal. They think there is something to learn about relationships, energy, and faith from dreaming new worlds […]

Through a Lens of Beauty & Wonderment: Notes on Collaborative Friendship | Opening Reception

Join us for an opening reception to celebrate and kick off our fall/winter exhibition with curator and artist Nnaemeka C. Ekwelum!          …Notes on Collaborative Friendship (First floor Burroughs Gallery) is the culmination of Nnaemeka C. Ekwelum’s doctoral research on friendship, artistic collaboration, and decolonial Black political thought. Through a series of […]

All of Living is Risk | Opening Reception

  Join us for an opening reception to celebrate and kick off our fall/winter exhibitions alongside curators Rikki Byrd, and Gervais Marsh, with artist Cory Perry!          All of Living is Risk (2nd floor Cortor Gallery) brings together works by Cory Perry (b. 1989, Fayetteville, Arkansas) and Nnaemeka C. Ekwelum (b. 1990, […]

Dr. Burroughs Legacy Day

Join us for a family friendly afternoon of celebrating and learning more about the legacy and art practice of Dr. Burroughs!   We're excited to share this day viewing specially selected works by Dr. Burroughs from the SSCAC Archives and Collections Department, as well as rotational screenings of interviews and talks featuring Dr. Burroughs, and […]

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

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 […]

Iteration(s), with Jared Brown and Briana Lynn

Briana Lynn & Jared Brown will intuitively combine sound, improvisation, and omni-directional text to create a composition unique to SSCAC.     Meditating on this year's Chicago Architecture Biennial's theme : “This is a Rehearsal,” Briana Lynn and Jared Brown will re-iterate their experimental collaborative composition to the South Side Community Art Center (originally performed last […]


A day celebrating Black artists and your hard work throughout the year! We'll also be joined by artist Cory Perry for a special performance.   The South Side Community Art Center has hosted innovative, ground-breaking, and forward exhibitions and programs throughout 2023, which would not have been possible without the array of Black ingenuity and […]


Join us for our 2nd annual 3831 Holiday Pop-Up, with some of the city’s most talented Black creatives!   Come through to support some of Chicago’s most gifted and talented Black creatives as we move into the Holiday season.     3831 Holiday Pop-Up is a mini pop-up market hosted in our historic Burroughs gallery, […]

Bronzeville in Reel Time with South Side Home Movie Project

Join us for an afternoon of South Side home movies, featuring newly preserved films of Bronzeville from filmmaker Ramon Williams!     In partnership with South Side Home Movie Project, with support from the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelly Foundation, SSCAC is thrilled to host a special screening showcasing select cinema reels of Ramon Williams. Ramon […]


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.