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In this talk, artist and scholar Meida Teresa McNeal explores the creative practices--from murals and sculpture to music and movement--that provided a means of expressing Black empowerment from Chicago’s Black Renaissance of the early 20th century to its Fifth City Movement of the 1960s-1990s.
Emerging on Chicago’s West Side during the 1960s, the Fifth City movement was built around the core values of imagination, self-actualization, consensus-building, and collective action. These values were embodied by Fifth City artists in a range of works, from murals on the sides of rehabbed multi-unit apartments, to preschool songs that framed Black subjectivity as endless potential, to an Iron Man sculpture erected at 5th St & Homan Ave on the West Side. Like much of the art of Chicago’s earlier Black Renaissance--defined by artists like Richard Wright, Gwendolyn Brooks, Louis Armstrong, and Katherine Dunham--these Fifth City works served as ever-present, visible signs encouraging the Black community to envision itself--and its possibilities--anew.
About the speaker:
Meida Teresa McNeal is Artistic/Managing Director of Honey Pot Performance. An independent artist and scholar working at the intersection of performance studies, dance, and critical ethnography, Meida is a part-time faculty member at Columbia College Chicago and the University of Chicago. She also serves as Arts & Culture Manager for the Chicago Park District on a team supporting community arts partnerships, youth arts, cultural stewardship, and civic engagement initiatives across the city’s parks and cultural centers. Her awards include the 3Arts Award in Dance and a Links Hall Co-MISSIONS Fellowship, and she has served as a Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artist. She received her PhD in Performance Studies from Northwestern University and her MFA in Choreography & Dance History from the Ohio State University.
Explore the Newberry's Midwest Dance Collection.
This program is generously sponsored by the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation.
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