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Welcome to
lack Arts Chicago

Black Arts Chicago is the first full-service organization dedicated to audience development and marketing communications for African-American artists and cultural institutions. Our mission is to better inform the public about Black theatre, dance, film, art, music and literary events and grow the attendance, patronage and support for these artists and institutions.

Black Arts Chicago consists of a number of platforms; the Black Arts Chicago free monthly publication, the website, a weekly e-mail bulletin, and social media page on Facebook and Twitter.

Up-to-date news and information on the city's Black artists and cultural activities can be found at the Website, and on the Black Arts Chicago's Facebook page.

The Black Arts Chicago monthly guide is available for free at more than 400 locations throughout the city including theatres, clubs, restaurants, galleries, retail shops and bookstores. It has a circulation of more than 10,000 copies.

Also, a weekly e-mail of current Black arts and culture events is available without cost by sending your e-mail address and Zip code to

Black Arts Chicago is published by Target Market News, one of the nation's leading authorities on the African-American consumer market. Lrean more aboutus at

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The Black Arts Chicago guide is published
with continuous updates online by Target Market News. Copyright 2017 by Target Market News. All rights reserved. The original contents of this newsletter and Website may not be reproduced without prior written permission. All references to original material in this newsletter must include an attribution to Black Arts Chicago.

Published by Target Market News
228 S. Wabash Ave., Ste 410
Chicago, IL 60604
Tel. 312-408-1881

Ken Smikle - Editor & Publisher







Presented by The Definition Theatre Company
By Branden Jacob-Jenkins
Directed by Chuck Smith
In association with Goodman Theatre
A modern riff on Dion Boucicault's 1859 classic melodrama, The Octoroon, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins' Obie Award-winning historical satire follows a plantation in financial ruin, the tumultuous love story of its heir apparent, the evil overseer plotting to take it all for himself and the slaves trying to keep it all together. Hilarious, pointed, and provocative, An Octoroon offers up a subversive take on race in America -- both then and now.
Featuring ensemble members Carley Cornelius, Kelson McAuliffe, Tyrone Phillips and Chris Sheard with Breon Arzell, Sydney Charles, Danielle Davis, Tiffany Oglesby, Maya Prentiss and Ariel Richardson.
Victory Gardens Biograph Theater
2433 North Lincoln Ave
July 21 - Aug 20
Thur, Fri & Sat at 8pm,
Sat & Sun at 2:30pm
Tickets: Previews: $25
,Regular: $30-$40, Students: $15

Written and Directed by Rueben Echoles
From Black Ensemble Theater's Associate Director Rueben Echoles comes a world premiere musical that speaks to audiences of all ages. Last Dancer Standing gives us a glimpse of the behind-the-scenes world of the newest (fictional) reality dance competition. Ten of the finest dancers from all across the country -- and all different walks of life -- battle it out for a chance to win $10,000 and an opportunity to tour with R&B singing sensation Justin Paul. It's reality TV live on the stage. At the core of the show are ten dancer/actors challenged with all types of routines from hip hop to ballet and everything in between.
Black Ensemble Theatre
4450 N. Clark
4450 North Clark St
July 22 - Aug 3
Thurs 7:30 pm, Fri and Sat 8 pm, Sun 3pm.
Tickets: $45- $65

Directed by Ron OJ Parson with
Associate Director Felicia P. Fields
Music Director Abdul Hamid Royal
A lively musical tribute to the hit songs of saxophonist and songwriter Louis Jordan, Five Guys Named Moe introduces Nomax: a broke, newly single guy singing the blues late into the night. Suddenly, five unexpected friends -- Big Moe, Four-Eyed Moe, Eat Moe, No Moe, and Little Moem -- emerge from his radio to help ease his broken heart. Pioneering musician Louis Jordan's new approach to jazz paved the way for rock and roll in the 1950s. .
Court Theatre
5535 South Ellis
Sept 7 - Oct 8

Written by Dael Orlandersmith
Directed by Ron OJ Parson 
This Obie Award-winning play by Dael Orlandersmith depicts one woman's journey through life's obstacles in an East Harlem neighborhood. Artistic Affiliate Wandachristine takes on six different characters during the course of this solo play -- some broken, some on the way down, and all memorable. The New York Times hails this script as 'wholly original and riveting'. 
American Blues Theatre at Stage 773 
225 W Belmont Ave
Now thru Aug 5
Thurs 7:30pm, Fri 7:30pm, Sat 7:30pm, Sun 2:30pm
Ticket Price: $19-$49


From August 5 through 31, the Gene Siskel Film Center presents the 23rd Annual Black Harvest Film Festival, a vibrant month-long celebration of independent films that tell the stories and explore the images, heritage, and history of the worldwide black experience. More than forty filmmaker appearances are scheduled as we go to press, with more pending. Special events include the presentation of the Gene Siskel Film Center Legacy Award at the August 6 screening of TELL THEM WE ARE RISING to Margaret Caples, executive director of the Community Film Workshop and co-founder of Diverse Voices in Docs. Legendary animator Floyd Norman, the first African American artist hired by Disney, conducts a must-see Master Class on August 26, prior to a screening of the documentary FLOYD NORMAN: AN ANIMATED LIFE, at which he also appears for Q&A with director Michael Fiore.
Gene Siskel Film Center
164 N. State St
Aug. 5 - 31
Tickets: $11, $6 for members. Opening Night $55

I AM THE BLUES takes the audience on a musical journey through the swamps of the Louisiana Bayou, the juke joints of the Mississippi Delta and Moonshine soaked BBQs in the North Mississippi Hill Country. The film visits blues musicians rooted in the genre's hayday, many in their 80s, still living in the American deep south and touring the Chitlin' Circuit. Let Bobby Rush, Barbara Lynn, Henry Gray, Carol Fran, Little Freddie King, Lazy Lester, Bilbo Walker, Jimmy "Duck" Holmes, RL Boyce, LC Ulmer, Lil' Buck Sinegal and their friends awaken the blues in all of us.
Black World Cinema/Studio Movie Grill
210 W 87th St,
July 28 - Aug 4
2:35pm,  5:10pm, 7:45pm, 10:20pm


This exhibition invites you into a dream, a stream of consciousness that encapsulates snippets of African American history and art.
Inspired by Theresa, the subject of Dawoud Bey's large photograph, and Nick Cave's Soundsuit sculpture, this exhibition invites the viewer to grapple with issues relating to slavery, segregation, and stereotypes. Together We Can Dream has been arranged in a generally chronological manner and was installed to acknowledge the highs and lows of the African American experience in America. This dreamscape questions notions of progressive ideals and unity, especially in cultural institutions.
Together We Can Dream was curated from the Smart Museum's collection by a group of fourteen teens participating in the Smart's summer art program.
Smart Museum
5550 S. Greenwood Ave.
Now until Aug 13
Open Tues - Sun 10 am - 5 pm

Curated by Chicago-area sculptor and visual artist 'Piloto' Nieves Ruiz
The Cintio Vitier exhibit brings together a wide range of abstract, acrylic, watercolor, portrait, landscape and mixed media works that creatively access legacies shaped by or in resistance to social upheaval. The exhibit also calls attention to artistic practices as mobilizing forces that convene youth and elders from diverse geographic communities.
University of Illinois at Chicago
African-American Cultural Center Library
830 South Halsted Street, 209 Addams Hall M/C 020,
Til Aug 23
Mon - Fri
9am - 4pm
Admission: Free

Newspapers, magazines, and websites frequently offer lists. Chicago-based artist Cauleen Smith has created another kind of list, a new canon of humanistic literacy presented as a series of drawings. The project represents a new dimension of Smith's work, one that engages with the idea of a collective consciousness through manually drawn renderings of book covers. In this series of 57 drawings she proposes a selection of books that is both personal, conveyed by the frequent inclusion of fingers or a thumb shown holding up a given book, and idiosyncratic. Harriet Tubman, C. L. R. James, and bell hooks find their place alongside Starfish, Sea Urchins, and Their Kin by Nelson Herwig.
Art Institute of Chicago
111 S Michigan Ave
Tickets: Prices start at $14.00 for Chicago residents plus a $2.00 service fee


Tuesdays on the Terrace Series
Dee Alexander's performances span virtually ever music genre related to the African diaspora -- gospel, blues, neo-soul, rhythm-and-blues, and world music -- making her one of the premiere vocalists and songwriters in American music today.
Museum of Contemporary Art
220 E Chicago Ave
Tue, Aug 1, 5:30 - 8pm
In case of rain, the event takes place inside the MCA's Kovler Atrium.
Free admission for Illinois residents

Tuesdays on the Terrace Series
Pharez Whitted is a performer, educator, composer, producer, and clinician. He has performed throughout the United States and overseas. He is currently the director of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra's (CYSO) Jazz Orchestra. . Whitted has performed with such notable musicians such as Branford Marsalis, George Duke, Elvin Jones, Kirk Whalum, John Mellencamp, Nancy Wilson, Meshell Ndegeocello, Chaka Khan, and his uncle Slide Hampton. He has two albums that were released on the MoTown Jazz Label (MoJazz) and three other recently released albums on various labels. Whitted was recently named Chicagoan of the Year in Jazz 2016.

Museum of Contemporary Art
220 E Chicago Ave
Tue, Aug 8, 5:30 - 8pm
In case of rain, the event takes place inside the MCA's Kovler Atrium.
Free admission for Illinois residents

Tuesdays on the Terrace Series
The Xavier Breaker Coalition formed in 2013 in an effort to design a group that can thrive in a variety of musical situations. The Coalition opened for many groups, including Brian Auger's Oblivion Express and HBC (Scott Henderson, Jeff Berlin, Dennis Chambers). They have been featured in many festivals including the Chicago Jazz Festival and have been the first-call house band for the Keilworth 'Saxophone Idol' competition since 2013. The Coalition released their debut album, Dreamology, in 2015. The Xavier Breaker Coalition features Rajiv Halim (saxophone), Joel Raem (guitar), Jeremiah Hunt (bass), and Xavier Breaker (drums).
Museum of Contemporary Art
220 E Chicago Ave
Tue, Aug 22, 5:30 - 8 pm
Free admission for Illinois residents

Tuesdays on the Terrace Series
Halim is joined by trumpeter Victor Garcia, guitarist Matt Gold, bassist Junius Paul, and Ernie Adams on drums.
Halim is a saxophonist, composer, and educator from Chicago. He has performed at venues and festivals in Canada, Poland, Belize, and Taiwan, and has performed and/or recorded with many great musicians. A highlight of Halim's recording career came in 2016 when he contributed saxophone solos and harmony parts to the composition 'Finish Line' by Chance the Rapper for his project Coloring Book, which won the 2017 Grammy Award for 'Best Rap Album.' Halim released his debut album, Foundation, in August 2015.
Museum of Contemporary Art
220 E Chicago Ave
Tue, Aug 29, 2017, 5:30 - 8 pm
Free admission for Illinois residents

Multi-reedist and pianist Ari Brown is a dynamic and important member of the Chicago avant-garde jazz scene and his technique and traditional jazz chops are highly expressive across his instruments. Brown has performed all over the world, touring with Elvin Jones, and working with musicians ranging from McCoy Tyner and Don Patterson to Sonny Stitt, Lester Bowie, Bobby Watson, and Anthony Braxton. He has been part of Kahil El'Zabar's Ritual Trio and is the go-to saxophonist for Orbert Davis's Chicago Jazz Philharmonic. Along with Brown, the quintet features Kirk Brown (piano), Yosef Ben Israel (bass), Avreeayl Ra (drums), and Dr. Cuz (percussion)
Museum of Contemporary Art
220 E Chicago Ave
Tue, Sept 12, 5:30 - 8 pm
Free admission for Illinois residents

Starring Kathleen Battle
Legendary soprano Kathleen Battle makes her Auditorium Theatre debut with a powerful program of songs inspired by the Underground Railroad, the secret network that helped bring 19th-century slaves to freedom. The five-time Grammy winner and opera star brings 'remarkable freshness and beauty' (The New York Times) to this performance of classic spirituals and traditional pieces, including 'Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,' 'Wade in the Water,' and 'Lift Every Voice and Sing.' Battle's voice has been hailed as one of the 'most beautiful in the world.'
Auditorium Theatre     
50 E. Congress Parkway
Sat., Sept 30, 7:30pm
Individual tickets go on sale on Friday, July 28 at 10am

Absence and Presence of Black Bodies in Visual Culture.
This exhibit explores how people of African descent have been represented in public health campaigns. The traveling exhibit features a collage of early 20th century newspaper prints and images from private institutions, health journals and popular media alongside modern health campaigns involving global epidemics from cholera to Ebola to HIV/AIDS to malaria.
The African American Cultural Center
University of Illinois-Chicago
830 South Halsted Street
MC0202nd Floor Addams Hall
Mon - Fri, 9 am - 4 pm
Now until Aug 23
Admission: Free


Second City Karaoke is Chicago's first and only social, team-based karaoke league. This summer, we're building our community on the South Side with Open Karaoke nights at The Revival. Grab your friends, family, and frenemies for two hours of your favorite tracks from our massive songbook, available online at Seize the mic! We'll see you there.
The Revival
1160 E 55th St.
Tickets: $5.00
Fri Aug 11, 9 pm

Directed by J. Cody Spellman
Within the context of today's racial and political climate, this show uses humor, poetry and music to examine where we've been…and where we're going. From parent/teacher relationships in CPS classrooms, to backyard barbecues on Chicago's South Side, this sketch comedy revue explores the complexities of our 'true selves' and our collective search for meaning.
The Revival
1160 E 55th St.
Now until Aug 5th
Tickets: $5 - $15.00

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Sculpture by Richard Hunt is rededicated in its new location in downtown Niles

(April 25, 2017) A sculpture by famed artist Richard Hunt was rededicated April 23rd in its new location in downtown Niles. The piece, called 'Hybrid Form II,' is now in its new permanent home near the corner of Front and Main streets, across from where it was first placed near the Main Street Bridge in 1974. The piece has been in storage since 2014 when it was removed during the Main Street bridge reconstruction project.

The Hunt sculpture was a gift to the city from three brothers, Albert, Howard and Robert Haas, in memory of their grandparents, Albert and Freda Green, who settled in Niles in 1874.

Niles Mayor Nick Shelton (left) greets artist Richard Hunt at rededication ceremony

Hunt, a Chicago native and internationally acclaimed sculptor, has had his large metal pieces installed in museums and public places throughout the nation. His works can be found in many locations in Michiana, including in South Bend and at the University of Notre Dame, as well in the cities of Dowagiac and St. Joseph in southwest Michigan.

'I started making larger pieces in the late 1960s,' Hunt told those assembled. 'This was one of my first larger pieces ... It's interesting to see how something intended for one location makes its place somewhere else.'

One of his more recent works was installed last year in the new National Museum of African American History in Washington, D.C.

- From South Bend Tribune

'One of the Most Influential Artists Anywhere': Kerry James Marshall makes 'Time' 100 list

TIME magazine announced its annual assessment of the 100 Most Influential People and artist Kerry James Marshall made the list. The 2017 roundup of people at the forefront of ideas, innovation, power and change, includes major figures in five categories -- pioneers, artists, leaders, titans, and icons.

         Photograph by Broomberg & Chanarin

Pope Francis, U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, Congressman and civil rights legend John Lewis, UK Prime Minister Theresa May, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, architect David Adjaye, Melinda Gates, and Chance the Rapper made the list. Chicago-based Marshall is among the artists, a group of 17 also featuring author Colson Whitehead; actor, rapper, and TV series creator Donald Glover; musicians John Legend and Alicia Keys; and film directors Ava DuVernay and Barry Jenkins.

'Mastry,' Marshall's 35-year survey exhibition is currently on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles. His Time 100 tribute was contributed by Grant Hill, the former NBA player and collector of African American art.

'For too long, the contributions of black people in American society have been ignored, marginalized and denied. Kerry James Marshall confirms and confronts those depictions and omissions with artistic flair, portraying everyday events in black lives,' Hill wrote. 'He forces people to assess the American experience through the black experience. In so doing, he has established himself not only among the giants of the black art milieu, but as one of the most influential American artists anywhere.'

- By Victoria Valentine
From Culture Type


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