Apr 1–Jun 30, 2021
The practice of leveraging art for healing is firmly embedded in the inception of A Long Walk Home (ALWH), founded in 2003 by African American sisters Salamishah Tillet and Scheherazade Tillet. Made up of socially engaged artists, healers, therapists, activists and academics, ALWH has been at the forefront of social justice movements bringing long overdue attention to violence against Black girls and young women. The organization works with artists, students, activists, therapists, community organizations, and cultural institutions to advocate for racial justice and gender equity in our schools, communities, and country-at-large. ALWH is committed to increasing resources and opportunities for society’s most vulnerable girls and women in the Chicago area—low-income, girls and women of color, those with disabilities, and LGBTQ-identified—and those most impacted by violence.
To learn more about A Long Walk Home, you can visit their website alongwalkhome.org.
A Long Walk Home, The Black Girlhood Altar Project, inaugural Art & Advocacy Residency at Weinberg/Newton Gallery, 2021; photography by Evan Jenkins
Black Girlhood Altar Project will engage Black girls and young women in Chicago as citizen-artists who will research, assemble and activate the altars, using the project to advocate for change within their communities. Each public altar will serve as a sacred space and gathering site for grief, healing, safety and comfort through multi-disciplinary art practices. ALWH is interested in finding ways for communities to come together to grieve, celebrate life, and make sustainable changes in their own communities. Over the course of the residency, ALWH and Weinberg/Newton Gallery will present programming that offers the public insight into the creation of Black Girlhood Altar Project.
The Black Girlhood Altar: Healing Sanctuary, event at Weinberg/Newton Gallery, 2021; photography by Kyle Flubacker
Chicago Monuments Project Community Program
Memorials & Monuments: A Public Conversation about a Community Altar
May 26, 2021, 6–7PM
▶ Watch the Video
A Long Walk Home’s art collective members — Scheherazade Tillet, Robert Martin Narciso, and Leah Gipson — will host a virtual public conversation on the history of community altars. There is a growing need for African Americans and other people of color to create culturally safe community spaces. This movement has grown out of our collective grief and trauma following the public deaths of Trayvon Martin, Rekia Boyd, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and many others, along with the emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement. Following each death, and countless other less visible tragedies, our communities have used art to grieve and reclaim the public spaces, constructed altars, painted murals, and to spread the images of those who have died so senselessly, so that they would not be forgotten.
This spring, during its time as Art & Advocacy Resident at Weinberg/Newton Gallery, the collective is working on Black Girlhood Altar Project, creating four spiritual altars as temporary monuments to Black girls who are missing and murdered. The violence towards young black girls has gone largely unacknowledged, with missing and murdered women and girls literally falling off the radar — missing persons reports never filed, no media coverage, and lack of response or recording of these cases by police and other jurisdictions.
To learn more and share your thoughts, please visit www.ChicagoMonuments.org — and join the conversation on social media using #ChicagoMonuments.
The Black Girlhood Altar: Healing Sanctuary
June 18, 2021, 7–10PM
In the gallery courtyard
Window installation on view through June 26
Marking the culmination of A Long Walk Home’s Art & Advocacy Residency, this event will activate the Black Girlhood Altar in the Weinberg/Newton Gallery courtyard, one of four sites for a temporary monument to missing and murdered Black girls. Traveling back from its previous sites in Chicago, the altar will exist in the gallery’s courtyard as a symbol of collective placemaking for the sacred lives of Black girls. The event is free and open to the public, with guests invited to bring offerings for the altar.
Artists Scheherazade Tillet, Robert Narciso and Leah Gipson invite the community to encounter different moments from each installation of the altar seen through the gallery windows, on the sidewalk and in the courtyard. The event will also feature healing practitioners, outdoor activities, music, and food. ALWH aims to create dialogue about real and permanent change through an inclusive youth leadership lens. This final installation in the gallery explores the ways in which art institutions and galleries within Chicago can be used as avenues to help aid social justice causes at grass root levels, promote anti-racism within American culture, and create greater visibility for Black girls.
Please note that this event will be outdoors in our courtyard, which has a somewhat uneven, loose gravel surface. To be respectful of those with allergies and environmental sensitivities, we ask that you refrain from wearing strong fragrances. To request an accommodation or for inquiries about accessibility, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chicago-based art organization A Long Walk Home is the inaugural recipient of the Art & Advocacy Residency.
Participating A Long Walk Home artists Scheherazade Tillet, Robert Narciso and Leah Gipson will collaborate to realize Black Girlhood Altar Project, an installation comprised of four community altars to be placed throughout Chicago this May and June as temporary monuments to missing and murdered Black girls.
Conceived as an expansion of the gallery’s mission to raise awareness for social justice issues in collaboration with artists, the Art & Advocacy Residency offers awarded artists the use of the 2,200 square foot gallery space over the course of 12 weeks, in addition to a stipend.