My name is Kevin A. Williams aka WAK www.wak-art.com Kevin A. Williams is an artist on a mission, but his is no solo trip: He wants to take you on the journey, too. His destination is a place where more African-Americans will appreciate, own and even create fine art that honors their rich heritage and hope filled destiny. So far, tens of thousands of people have willingly followed Williams to that vista – including talk-show host Oprah Winfrey, and actor comedian Bernie Mac. From celebrity homes to small businesses, corporate offices and women’s spas, Williams’ original and lithograph artwork hangs from coast to coast.
As the best-selling artist in the African-American print market, Williams is a popular personality at national art shows, conferences of African-American groups and major international events, including the Essence Music Festival. His art has been featured on television’s “Law & Order” (NBC) and “Soul Food” (Showtime). An artist who has received no formal training Williams’ success has been in what some may call non-traditional methods of reaching art consumers.
Kevin A. Williams/WAK
Urban Fine Artist
CEO, WAKART, LLC
A Chicago native with a childhood steeped in performing and visual arts training, Sadie Woods has had an exciting career, showcasing her talents everywhere from academia to nightclubs, boutiques to museums. As an award winning artist, curator, and deejay, her practice includes sonic art and sound design, deejay performance, exhibition making, and collaborations within communities of difference. read more
In the spirit of Renew ’71, the South Shore Chamber of Commerce and Special Service Area 42 (SSA #42) in partnership with Eric Williams owner of the famed Silver Room in Hyde Park and Rob McKay of Connect Gallery proudly present CONNECT South Shore Arts Festival. CONNECT South Shore will feature a tapestry of local and nationally regarded retailers, artists, musicians, and filmmakers, illustrating the richness of cultural expression, while generating small business revenue. Likewise, this enterprising marketplace is intended to stimulate visionary thinking and striking development opportunities for a community disproportionately impacted by patterns of disinvestment. This activation will engage and celebrate the South Shore community by showcasing South Shore’s artists and entrepreneurs. We hope to bring community members and folks from surrounding communities to South Shore to enjoy the Renew ’71 project currently underway
KID’N US is a collection of everything that makes up the “KID” in IN'-ZO, drawing from a plethora of inspiration from his childhood favorites Super Mario, Dragon Ball Z, and Mickey Mouse. Inspired by IN-ZO’s favorite childhood things specifically cartoons and junk food, the perfect combination for just about any kid, but an unfortunate mismatch for the adults responsible for them.
The Comedy Resistance is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization using live events, local activism, and digital content and tools to inspire comedians and comedy fans to increased civic engagement via voter registration, Get Out The Vote campaigns, and ongoing activism to drive policy.
Live shows starring Bob Odenkirk, Patton Oswalt, Maria Bamford, Reggie Watts, David Cross, Mike Birbiglia, Judah Friedlander, Janeane Garofalo, Julio Torres, Chris Gethard, Jo Firestone, Hari Kondabolu, and more have already taken place in California, Illinois, New York, and Texas.
We provide comedians with resources to do Voter Registration (VR) and Get Out The Vote (GOTV) drives at their shows and online directly to their fans
We produce free pop-up comedy shows featuring local comedians in areas where voter impact will be greatest
Gravity Waves – “Certain Atmosphere waves within a planet’s atmosphere” Rocket & Space Technology Glossary, www.braeunig.us
In Journey to self discovery as a black Caribbean woman from Barbados, questioning my position, power and value in everyday situations, personal spaces and social structures. Questioning and investigating my cultural identity, I asked myself many times, who am I? What am I? What is my position? What is my power? And what is my value? read more
The Chicago Top 5 collective presents an exploration of Identity through figurative painting.
IMPOSING | RENOWNED | INFLUENTIAL | FLAMBOYANT | IDIOMATIC
The spectrum of identity reaches far and wide. From the personal to the universal, Black is Larger Than Life. In a world that constantly applies pressure to minimize and marginalize our presence, we push back!
Chicago Top 5 Featured Artists:
David Anthony Geary
Martha A. Wade
Facebook: Chicago Top 5
Pigement Presents "Art Minded from His Dreams", an Artists Talk with Kevin "Wak" Williams will present a slideshow and discussion of his work including the recent commission for the National Headquarters of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority in Chicago. Refreshments will be available.
Opening Night, May 2nd, 6 - 9pm
ULTRAVIOLET Art Show Fundraiser
The color violet symbolizes compassion, support, and inspiration. Lupus patients embody these intangibles every day by supporting one another in their fights against the disease, and they inspire us with their strength and devotion to overcoming the disease.
We are powerful. We are ULTRAVIOLET.
The first of its kind, the ULTRAVIOLET art show is a collection of inspirational stories that champion and celebrate the survivors and those who support them.
This fundraiser will showcase the unique and original work of local and national artists, whose creative contributions will ensure funding for the Walk To End Lupus Now™, while raising additional awareness and support for those impacted by lupus.
Open to all artists or groups, regardless of age. Each artist or group may submit up to 3 pieces of art. Images must be in JPEG format.
Please include an artist's statement with a short description of the content, subject matter, medium, etc. This must be provided for each piece.
o Must be roughly 12"x12"
o Can be on any substantial substrate
o Must be pre-hooked
o Should include artist's name, artist's location, a title, contact info
o . Must be original
Please email photos samples of your work for consideration to email@example.com no later than March 26th.
The exhibit will run through Saturday, May 5th. The exhibit is a silent auction with bids starting at $50.
o Deadline to submit work for consideration: Monday, March 26th
o Invitations to participate will be sent: Friday, March 30th
o Deadline to deliver donated canvas: Week of April 23-27th
o Ultra Violet Fundraiser Art Show: Wednesday, May 2nd at 6pm
o Exhibit closing: Friday May 4
o 2018 WALK TO END LUPUS NOW, CHICAGO: Saturday, June 16th at 9am
PEL’S latest offering, “Luxurious Villain,” explores the discourse happening right now between luxury fashion brands and streetwear, where closed communication presents open product dialogue parallels between the haves and have-nots in fashion; a look into the juxtaposed platform of opulence meeting poverty, aspiration meeting downtrodden, avarice meeting originality. In short...how money and creativity don't publicly intermingle.
The painting exhibit by artist and author Charles Watkins III demonstrates the daily activity and culture of the African American Sharecropper. Through his work, Watkins shares his personal interpretation and experiences as a child born in Mississippi who moved to Chicago only later to return to live the sharecropper life with his grandparents in Mississippi during significant formative years in the 1960’s and later returned and settled in Chicago. Watkins is the author of the soon to be published book titled White Gold “Cotton”, the Sharecropper’s Stories. This exhibit will only be up for 5 days, you don't want to miss it!
Chicago art prodigy Thelonious Stokes becomes the first African-American student to attend the prestigious Florence Academy of Art In Florence, Italy to study art with a handpicked class of highly skilled artists. The 22-year-old multidisciplinary, identity-based performance artist and Chicago native will showcase his work in two upcoming exhibits to help provide financial support to pay for the historic opportunity to attend the Florence Academy of Art to study with master painters and nurture his natural gifts as an artist. His upcoming exhibits include “Horses and Birds: the Agency” which will highlight work from artist Timothy Jenkins for a special auction on Saturday, March 17 at Connect Gallery. Stokes says he became an artist for no reason other than to thrive. Stokes utilizes art as a vehicle to reform systematic injustice and redefine our contextual beliefs of what it means to be a man. “Being the first African American to attend the school makes me feel grateful,” expresses Stokes. “...Grateful yet aware of the relevance of institutional racism. By being exposed to the beauty of oil painting, I am now able to break the barriers of being defined as Black in America. I want to not only impact art itself, I ultimately want to share light with the inconsistencies of ethics and morale.” Thelonious has had the opportunity to work with Chicago artist legends, world-renowned social practice installation artist Theaster Gates and graffiti-artist-turned-painter Hebru Brantley. His work has appeared Art Talk 1” (Solo show) Silent Funny Gallery, Chicago, “L.A. Renaissance” Premo Art Gallery, LA, “Chicago’s New Realists” 33 Contemporary Gallery, Chicago, University of Chicago’s The Muffler Shop, Chicago and Artspace 8.
Rob McKay, The HLS Podcast founder and host of Episode 2 is excited to present "Freeway" Rick Ross. Ross is an American author and convicted drug trafficker best known for the drug empire he established in Los Angeles, in the early to mid-1980s. Ross was sentenced to life in prison, though the sentence was shortened on appeal and Ross was released in 2009 after teaching himself to read & write.
Rick Ross will sell and sign his book at The Silver Room 5-7pm and then step over to Connect Gallery 8-10pm to tape the podcast.
Darryl Spivey is a DJ, promoter, contributor and music enthusiast alike…Darryl Spivey (aka lyrrad semaj) has worn a lot of hats in the underground dance music community.
Born in Chicago, Darryl has spent many years promoting and playing alongside some of best local heavyweights, holding residencies, playing special events as well as promoting his own.
Being on the scene for close to 30 years, Darryl has cultivated an edgy/soulful style to his music selection that gets you tapping your feet and nodding your head and before you know it you suddenly find yourself dancing. For Darryl, it’s about bringing the energy, passion, and atmosphere to his music selection as well as the events he organizes. One night on his dance floor and you will be thoroughly convinced!
It would take a couple of pages to cover Elbert Phillips’ accomplishments and his devotion to the DJ craft. He came of age on the burgeoning Chicago House Music scene in the 1980s.From humble beginnings, Elbert would blaze a trail, his DJing taking him from Chicago (Sound Bar, Sonotheque, Zentra, Transit) to New York (Bang The Party Brooklyn/Manhattan, 2i’s, Glass) and then the world (the Monkey Club in Paris, the 2015 Empire/Full Circle 25th Anniversary Party in the U.K. and countless others).
After being chosen to play at a birthday party for Frankie Knuckles in 2002, Elbert would be given the honored privilege to open for Frankie at public and private gigs over the next four years.
Elbert has been working on studio production, resulting in the release of his remix of “Higher Together” (DJ Elbert’s Dancefloor Redux) featured on Qalomota’s Classics Remixed, and "Beacon Of Light" featuring spoken word artist, Isa Bright Starr on Qalomota Records (France)
The Habitual Line Stepper:
One who pushes boundaries with the purpose of actualizing their dreams.
Connect Gallery and The Habitual Line Stepper Podcast is proud to present Craig Hodges.
Our conversation with two-time NBA champion and world-famous three-point shooter Craig Hodges will center around Hodges upbringing in Chicago Heights, his rise to success in the NBA, as well as his lifelong quest to improve the condition of the Black community. Despite Hodges achievements in the NBA his civic voice ultimately lead to the end of his professional playing career.
Venue capacity is limited, arrive on time.
Light refreshments will be served (until supplies last)
Suggested minimum $5 cash donation per person
Evil and hate thrive on silence. If you are not actively sharing love, you become a part of the hate narrative. The use of language and light as a medium shares empowering ideas of protest against the hate in our world and the proliferation of love as a healing and nourishing agent.
Luther Riley (Fantôme) is 19 years old and has been designing clothes his entire life. As a child he made clothes for his sisters' Barbie dolls out of socks and old pillow cases. Fantôme's seasonal collections are a reflection of the things that surround Luther and his life at the time. Gaining inspiration from everyday events and objects he finds ways to incorporate everything from a conversation with a friends to an empty seat on the train.
Luther's dream is to make Chicago a fashion hub and have people appreciate fashion as an art form instead of a commercialized commodity. He launched his fashion brand Fantôme in April 2016 and is currently enrolled as a sophomore at the Illinois Institute of Art in downtown Chicago.
Something special for you...
Pop up discussion with @ François Kevorkian!!!! On Friday 24th Connect Gallery 7-9 pm
Topic: A in depth view into the production and remix of the classic recording of Dinosaur L "Go Bang" written and by produced by the late great Arthur Russell and remixed by Francois K.
This classic broke barriers and is one of the most important recordings in music history. Francois is the man responsible for this ground breaking body of work. The sound, the sensibility, and the depth of Francois' production on this recording is mystical and unmatched. The world heard this record and it was never the same.
You will get a chance to hear from the man himself about his relationship to the creation of this masterpiece. See you there!!!
Magnifying the indigenous cultural and artistic assets signature to the South Shore community, the South Shore Chamber of Commerce and Alderman Leslie Hairston (5th), have partnered with Eric Williams owner of the famed Silver Room in Hyde Park and Rob McKay, co-owner of Connect Gallery to curate, ‘Connect South Shore’. This 3-day pop-up marketplace will dwell in vacuous storefronts along 71st Street, on the weekend following Thanksgiving.
Connect South Shore will feature a tapestry of local and nationally regarded retailers, artists, musicians, and filmmakers, to promote the richness of cultural expression, while generating small business revenue. Likewise, this enterprising marketplace is intended to stimulate visionary thinking and striking development opportunities for a community disproportionately impacted by patterns of disinvestment.
“Following last month’s epic unveiling of the Renew 71 project and advisory committee, Connect South Shore will serve as the next logical step along our journey to revitalize, not only 71st Street, but the entire South Shore community and surrounding neighborhoods,” says Alderman Hairston.
This colloquium will cater to males between the ages of 12-24 and will foster a space to engage in dialogue about creating opportunity and re-engineering the social ecosystem for black males. This session will explore the underlying question of "How can we prepare our urban youth for the global economy, whether socially or economically?"
Breaking through Breaking Beyond whose mission is to eliminate the pervasive epidemic of trauma plaguing our urban environments by providing educators and organizations with tools and resources needed to incorporate trauma-informed practices into their work, will be hosting this event.
Connect Gallery is proud to partner with ReVive Center for Housing and Healing for The Art of Giving, ReVive’s annual fundraiser. Please join us to experience a beautiful evening at a gorgeous venue with live and silent art auctions. For more than 100 years ReVive has provided housing and healing to Chicago's homeless community.
Please visit ReviveCenter.org for information and advance ticket sales.
In support of ReVive Center for Homeless and Healing, Connect Gallery is hosting a community painting party to support The Art of Giving, ReVive's annual fundraiser. Artists Solomon Adufah and David Geary will facilitate a workshop that will guide children and adults alike to produce a 12 x 12 canvas depicting healing, love, and connection. The produced paintings will be sold by auction at the fundraiser to benefit ReVive.
Please join us Saturday, October 28, 11am-1pm (we will begin promptly at 11am) to participate in the workshop. This is a free event and all painting supplies will be provided.
The first installment of the Entrepreneurship Series brought to you by the Nigerian American Professional Association (NAPA). Panelists include Suzette Opara of 828 Collection, Wale Nibu of JoJayden Handmade and Chichi Ezurike of Zurik Girl who will share their stories and lessons they've learned.
Sponsored by African Fashion Week - Chicago