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Chicago Architecture Biennial presents 'Activating the Loop's Community' featuring Chicago Loop Alliance

Posted  4 years ago

Press contact: Jessica Cabe | PR and Communications Manager, Chicago Loop Alliance jessica@chicagoloopalliance.com | 312-782-9160

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CHICAGO—As part of the Chicago Architecture Biennial’s Tuesday Talk series, Chicago Loop Alliance, a Biennial sponsor, will lead a discussion on the role of civic organizations in designing for community development. “Activating the Loop’s Community” is free and takes place from 6-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 19, at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St.

To promote economic development and placemaking in the Loop, Chicago Loop Alliance launched a program called ACTIVATE in 2014. ACTIVATE transforms alleys from overlooked passageways into pop-up celebrations of art and public space. Six seasons later, ACTIVATE has grown into a beloved Loop staple attended by thousands with a loyal following of creative Chicagoans.

ACTIVATE provides something the Loop previously lacked—a celebratory, artistic experience meant specifically for locals. By engaging with curators from around the city, ACTIVATE has also created a platform for diverse groups in the city’s downtown core.

“Activating the Loop’s Community” will discuss lessons about placemaking learned from ACTIVATE and explore the role of civic organizations in designing for community development. Speakers include Chicago Loop Alliance’s Director of Planning Kalindi Parikh, board member David Broz (Principal, Gensler), artists Sam Kirk and Barrett Keithley, and independent curator Missy Perkins.

“There is a perception amongst Chicagoans that the Loop is just a place to work, and not a community itself; ACTIVATE changes that narrative by allowing the Loop’s population of residents, workers and visitors to reclaim public spaces for exploration of arts and culture,” said Kalindi Parikh, Chicago Loop Alliance director of planning. “Chicago Loop Alliance is excited to host a conversation about this program and share what we’ve learned with the public.”

About Chicago Loop Alliance

Chicago Loop Alliance (CLA) is a membership organization as well as the sole service provider for Special Service Area#1-2015, and the Chicago Loop Alliance Foundation produces public art projects and events. CLA’s mission is to create, manage and promote high-performing urban experiences, attracting people and investment to the Loop. For more information, please visit www.loopchicago.com.

About the Chicago Architecture Biennial

The Chicago Architecture Biennial is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to creating an international forum on architecture and urbanism through the production of distinctive exhibitions and public programs. The Biennial creates new opportunities every two years for emerging talent in architecture, design and the arts to engage a wide public audience. The third edition of the Biennial will open September 19, 2019 – January 5, 2020, and will convene the world’s leading practitioners, theorists and commentators in the field of architecture and urbanism to further explore, debate and demonstrate the significance of architectural concepts in contemporary society.

About the panelists

Kalindi Parikh is the Director of Planning for Chicago Loop Alliance. She oversees CLA’s placemaking programs, including the State Street Gateway plaza; numerous public art programs; and ACTIVATE, a pop-up celebration of the arts that takes place in alleys and other unconventional public spaces. She also manages the creation of economic reports and urban plans for the Loop. Parikh has a master’s in urban planning and policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a bachelor’s in city and regional planning from Ohio State University. Previously, she has worked in urban planning and economic development for One Columbus (formerly Columbus 2020) and for her hometown, the City of North Olmsted, Ohio.

David Broz has led the Gensler Education Practice Area for the past 10 years and has been instrumental in its growing to the No. 1 university architect in the country. Broz leads his clients through innovative programming workshops to challenge the academic status quo, which results in cutting-edge learning environments that are future-ready. Broz’s team has published dozens of research documents on how space can better support learning and transform the overall campus experience. Broz is an active blogger and public speaker who leads discovery sessions about the future of academia and how the built environment can positively impact today’s digital native students. His impact extends beyond the education studio to the City of Chicago as the founder of the Chicago Loop Alliance Placemaking Committee and its past Chairman of the Board.

Barrett Keithley is a 31-year-old Aboriginal American born on the South Side of Chicago. He is a self-taught artist whose passion for art started as a child reading and writing poetry. His early influences were poems by Langston Hughes and the writings of James Baldwin. Like Hughes and Baldwin, Keithley conveys stories within his body of work. He paints stories about growing up in the area of the South Side known as the “Wild Hundreds”—that depicts the lack of opportunities and resources his neighborhood received. He combines the negatives and positives of his upbringing to construct his own original style of painting. Keithley chooses to use characters that are abstracted, frontal and flat. In addition, at times he will combine a realistic image to depict complex themes in a pattern technique. He uses colorful imagery to showcase themes such as poverty, prosperity and tranquility.

Sam Kirk is a multidisciplinary artist who explores culture and identity politics through her creations. Her artwork focuses on a variety of intersections which encompass a call to celebrate differences and enact change. Her paintings include vivid, powerful images of women, members of the LGBTQIA community and those who have historically been underrepresented. She was recently recognized in Forbes Magazine and Oprah Magazine for her public art career, notably her “Sister Cities” Mural, a commission by World Business Chicago and the City of Casablanca, and a recent installation in Times Square for World Pride 2019. She is the first woman and American to participate in their Annual CASAMOUJA Street Art Festival. She has also exhibited throughout the U.S. in galleries and museums. Her artwork is in several notable collections, with a piece about transgender identity added to the permanent collection of the National Museum of Mexican Art.

Missy Perkins is an art curator, event coordinator, community outreach director and consulting service working under Missgem13 LLC to elevate Chicago’s creative scene through innovative cultural art and music events. Perkins has curated more than 100 art exhibitions and produced events with strong roots in Chicago’s graffiti, street art and underground hip-hop scene. She has curated several ACTIVATE events and assisted with sound, stage and lighting for most of them. Other curatorial projects include Wicker Park Fest arts and music stage, Miami Art Basel showcases, Arts in the Dark Parade floats and managing art exhibits at Gallery Bar. Perkins has worked closely alongside producing events and curations with Red Bull, Don Julio and Remy Martin. She currently manages Soul Hop artist Chai Tulani, collaborates with cultural catalyst Roe Melloe, is on the advisory board for The Simple Good and is a member of the female collective Fuse Her Fly.


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