THE UNDERWORLD: George Crump articulates a collective, yet intimate expression of his mind’s eye through a body of work that makes social statements regarding life experiences, both subjective and observational.   In his most recent body of work, Crump situates his conceptions of “the underworld” by way of the psychological and social afterlives of oppression, with a tone of the spiritual, often positioning his figures between reality and surrealism. Crump applies […]

An Unapologetic Dream: A MLK Celebration

Hyde Park Art Center in collaboration with South Side Community Art Center and Arts + Public Life, presents a free virtual screening of Unapologetic by Chicago filmmaker Ashley O”Shay, a film told through the lens of Janaé Bonsu and Bella Bahhs, two fierce abolitionist leaders, that gives a deep look into the Movement for Black Lives, from […]

WE ARE HERE: Honoring Women in the Center’s Collection

WE ARE HERE: Honoring Women in the Center's Collection, features artworks made by several women artists in the Center’s collection.   This exhibition provides us an opportunity to think about the materiality of Black women’s art, while also expanding biographical and visual information on Black women artists. The curatorial project permits the center an opportunity […]

Creative Wellness with Marcus Alleyne

FEBRUARY 19 3PM CST ON ZOOM   Marcus Alleyne is a Chicago-based artist working in mixed media, primarily painting and collage. His work explores personal and social subject matter such as religion/spirituality, music and culture. As diverse as his work is, he is equally prolific in each of his genres of media. He is passionate […]

COMING TO THE TABLE: In Conversation with Archivist Skyla Hearn

Archivist Skyla Hearn and SSCAC Public Engagement lead zakkiyyah najeebah dumas o'neal kick off our Women's Month and 3831/VOICES series to engage in an informal conversation that traverses Skyla Hearn's archiving practice, their intersecting connections to Black women arts workers and SSCAC, and the influences that help sustain them in their work. Grab a cup […]

PROMPT/ DREAM/ BUILD: Andrea Yarbrough & ebere agwuncha

Andrea and ebere's multidisciplinary practices are informed by acts of care and storytelling, that ultimately become actualized within the objects and projects they build out- individually and collectively. Engaging in practices of co-thinking, designing, and building, they both expand on alternative modes for solidarity amongst Black women, restorative design approaches, and a socially informed process […]


With a curated selection of images from the SSCAC archives, Artist Catalyst Cecil McDonal Jr., and Public Art Manager, Dorian Sylvain invite you to participate in an art making activity intended to encourage conversation about community. Prompts exploring community heroes, language, and culture will guide each participant's project. The workshop will be held Wednesday, March […]


Black Fashion Archive was founded in 2018 by Rikki Byrd to offer a digital repository of Black style and Black contributions to the fashion industry. Rikki will share the trajectory of her visual research, Black cultural impacts on the fashion industry, and how an archival approach informs her work.   ZOOM REGISTRATION:      […]

TOWARD THE CENTER: In Conversation with Patric McCoy, Juarez Hawkins, and Jonathan Green

REGISTER VIA ZOOM   Join SSCAC Archives and Collections Manager LaMar Gayles Jr. for a conversation with EMERGENCE exhibiting artists Patric McCoy, Juarez Hawkins, and Jonathan Green for a conversation centering their individual practices, personal knowledge of artists in the SSCAC archive, and their relationships to Black art communities specific to Chicago's South Side. This […]


CLICK HERE TO REGISTER VIA ZOOM  In conjunction with EMERGENCE: Intersections at the Center, the current exhibition at the South Side Community Art Center, the exhibition's curators, zakkiyyah najeebah dumas-o'neal and LaMar R. Gayles, Jr., discuss the exhibition and the research that made it happen. The conversation will be moderated by Greg Foster-Rice ON ZOOM.   […]


ZOOM REGISTRATION HERE   SSCAC is thrilled to invite you into one of many conversations between SHAWNE MICHAELAIN HOLLOWAY and Camille Bacon that have activated feelings of remembrance, love, grief, and longing. For this program they will respond to the liminal, but expansive spaces within EMERGENCE that relate to aspects of desire, yearning, and intimacy […]


RSVP HERE In conjunction with EMERGENCE: Intersections at the Center, the current exhibition at the South Side Community Art Center, CEREMONIES will be screened IN PERSON, in partnership with South Side Projections. Co-curator of EMERGENCE and SSCAC Public Programs and Engagement manager zakkiyyah najeebah dumas-o’neal will lead a post-discussion with Aymar Jean Christian, associate professor of […]


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.