July Member Spotlight: Illinois Humanities

Above: Mural at The Breathing Room Space in Chicago, a community hub for Envisioning Justice, photo courtesy of Illinois Humanities.

Established in 1974, Illinois Humanities is the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities and produces free programs and events, gives out grants, and offers educational opportunities to youth and adults all across Illinois. Its mission is to strengthen the social, political, and economic fabric of Illinois through constructive conversation and community engagement.

Recently celebrating the arrival of a new Executive Director, the organization is preparing for two big initiatives this summer:

Envisioning Justice: An Exhibition 

A capstone to the past two years of the Envisioning Justice initiative, this dynamic and multi-faceted exhibition shares the work of Chicago artists and communities as they visualize, actualize, and reimagine strategies, policies, and approaches in service of a society that is just for all.  Featuring artwork, ephemera, and documentation from seven Chicago communities impacted by incarceration and works by artists whose practices respond to such themes, this exhibition interrogates the failures of our criminal justice system while presenting plans toward self-empowerment and communal liberation.

This free exhibition opens August 6 and runs through October 12 at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Sullivan Galleries. A public reception will be held August 17 at 2pm. 

For more information, visit envisioningjustice.org.

Gwendolyn Brooks Youth Poetry Awards 

To celebrate the centennial of the birth of poet Gwendolyn Brooks in 2017, Illinois Humanities, Our Miss Brooks 100, and the Poetry Foundation revived the statewide poetry contest that the Illinois state poet laureate had personally overseen from 1970 until her passing in 2000. Now in its third year, the Gwendolyn Brooks Youth Poetry Awards honors young poets across Illinois. The annual awards ceremony for winning poets in grades K-12 is going to be held on Saturday, August 10th at the Poetry Foundation in Chicago.

For more information please visit ilhumanities.org/poetry.

Above: Mural at The Breathing Room Space in Chicago, a community hub for Envisioning Justice, photo courtesy of Illinois Humanities.