What: Beer Summit: Groundbreaking, Obama’s Presidential Library and occupying and defining space.
When: Monday, April 20, 2015, 6:30-8:00 PM
Where: The Chicago Cultural Center, First Floor Garland Gallery

Guest: Michael Golec, Andres Hernandez, Leah Gipson  

The future Obama Presidential Center has the potential to dramatically change the community within which it will be cited. Whether Jackson Park, Washington Park, or UIC, some kind of change is coming. Yet, artists are already working via design and space intervention to forward transformations in communities. What insights do these projects have to offer the planners of the Obama Presidential Center? Are there other development models that focus on community activity and education, and less on economic activity, as a measure of success? How can we visualize a future community and transformation of spaces? How does the visualization of ideas and spaces help to re-imagine the past and the future of Black political power and Chicago’s communities?


Michael J. Golec is Associate Professor at the department of Art History, Theory and Criticism at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Golec’s research and teaching focuses on theories and histories of graphic visualization, technical images, and typography. His current research addresses issues of statistical mindedness and de-distancing in the graphic visualization of U.S. Census data, where, among other examples, Richard Wright’s photo-journalistic project “12 Million Black Voices” offers an opportunity to critically evaluate the fact of population.  Golec’s recent publications include “Facts Between Pictographs and Photographs,” forthcoming in Zeitschrift für Ästhetik und Allgemeine Kunstwissenschaft and “Graphic Visualization and Visuality in Lester Beall’s Rural Electrification Posters, 1937” in the Journal of Design History. Golec is the author of “Brillo Box Archive: Aesthetics, Design, and Art” (Hanover: Dartmouth College Press, 2008) and, along with Aron Vinegar, co-edited and contributed to “Relearning from Las Vegas” (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2009).

Leah Ra’Chel Gipson, LCPC, ATR is an art therapist, activist and founder of West Side Art Chicago, an artist collective she began as a way to generate opportunities for social practice in Chicago’s historic west side neighborhoods. Gipson develops collaborative community-based projects to disrupt, engage, and negotiate spaces. Project Lot is a series of installations, created alongside artists Jen Brown, and Eve Sanford. The installations temporarily occupy vacant lots to initiate conversation about the potential and politics of “unoccupied” space. Most recently, Gipson and collaborating artist, Rae Taylor, were featured in Chicago Artist Month for Black Eutopia, an event that transformed a site of business in North Lawndale into a space for dialogue about art, social class, and Black labor. She is an instructor at the Department of Art Therapy at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. http://www.leahgipson.com

Andres Luis Hernandez is a Chicago-based artist-designer-educator whose recent projects, Forum as Form, Hush Harbor, and Absence is Fullness re-imagine physical, social, and cultural environments by addressing urban redevelopment and absence and emptiness as opportunities for imaginative possibility. He has exhibited work in Chicago at Blanc Gallery, Cobalt Studio, Highland Park Art Center, Museum of Science and Industry, Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, and Washington Park Arts Incubator, as well as nationally as part of the Billboard Art Project. Hernandez was a participant in the 2013/14 Artist-in-Residence Program sponsored by the University of Chicago’s Arts + Public Life Initiative and the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, & Culture. Hernandez is Associate Professor at the Department of Art Education at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. http://whimplaceknow.com