Please join us  for the 3rd Friday of the month for the Bronzeville Art District (BAD) Trolley Tour 2023! Bronzeville Art District is Celebrating 17 years, Every 3rd Friday between June and September take a ride on the Double-Decker Bus for fine art and entertainment in Bronzeville! Ride the Double-Decker bus that will take you to […]


SSCAC is thrilled to host artists Eric Von Haynes and Angela Davis Fegan for an on site letterpress print activation, artist Andrea Yarbrough for a viewing of her PACE Mural Arts outdoor installation commission, and John Pendelton of Planks and Pistils!   Participants at our Juneteenth program will be able to print letterpress broadsides with […]

Black Light Cinema Project and Homecoming: Black Craft & Design in Chicago

Join us for an opening reception to celebrate and kick off our summer exhibitions!     In a world rich with diverse cultures and histories, the concept of belonging and homeplace holds profound significance. Within the tapestry of human experiences, one thread stands out with resilience, creativity, and an indomitable spirit – the Black cinematic […]

The New School: QTPOC Pathways

Join us for a panel discussion navigating the shift in the representation of Black gay/queer/trans/non-binary identities in Chicago from the 1980s to today.     In the 80s, the heat of bodies could be felt throughout downtown Chicago from the clubs to the streets. Passersby called out to each other and occasionally locked eyes holding […]

Before I Let Go: Film Screening & Discussion

Join us for a special film screening hosted by filmmaker Cameron Granger, with guest filmmakers cai thomas and Bobby T. Luck.      We invite you to join us for a special screening of Cameron Granger's film Before I Let Go, created during his residency at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 2022, alongside Change The Name (2021) by […]

Eselean Goree Henderson: A Practice in Clay

Join SSCAC Archives and Collections Manager Lamar Gayles Jr. for a special program on Eselean Goree Henderson.   Join us for a conversation with SSCAC Archives and Collections Manager Lamar Gayles Jr. on Eselean Goree Henderson, a prolific Chicago-area ceramicist whose work has heavily impacted the Black artistic landscape of Chicago through her own practice […]

PACE Artist Catalyst: A Closing Celebration

Join us to celebrate PACE Artist Catalysts Cecil McDonald Jr. & Andrea Yarbrough.     Join us with artists Cecil McDonald Jr. & Andrea Yarbrough to celebrate their commissioned artworks as part of their PACE Artist Catalyst Award! A conversation will take place with the artists, and Essence McDowell, a communications strategist, organizer and coauthor […]

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 […]


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.