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Project highlights the work and legacies of Mexican-American muralist Hector Duarte.
Project highlights the work and legacies of Mexican-American muralist Hector Duarte. Photo: Chicago Park District

Initiative highlights local artist; exposes city’s youth to the arts

The Chicago Park District recently announced it will host a programming and community exhibition series that celebrates and nurtures community based art. The Art of Flocking: Cultural Stewardship in the Parks will highlight the work and legacies of Mexican-American muralist Hector Duarte and Sapphire and Crystals, Chicago first and longest standing African-American women’s art collective. 

“The Chicago Park District is pleased to continue our long, rich history of celebrating local artists and bringing cultural opportunities to Chicago neighborhoods,” said Chicago General Superintendent and CEO Michael Kelly. “The Art of Flocking also helps us expose our youngest generation to the arts and hopefully inspire them to explore their own talents.”

The initiative will build upon two existing Chicago Park District programs: Art Seed, which engages children ages three and older and Young Cultural Stewards, a multimedia program aimed at youth, ages 12 to 14. Art of Flocking will engage 2,500 participants in 216 programs at 18 parks through August 3rd and a community exhibition series August 1st -3rd at Willye White Park in Rogers Park, Piotrowski Park in Little Village and Tuley Park in Chatham. The series will culminate in a celebration August 11th at two Burnham Wildlife Corridor Gathering Spaces, which were designed by the featured artists. 

Program participants will explore themes of migration, ancestral roots, personal and structural transformation through storytelling, media making, mural painting, puppetry, ceramics and performance. Young Cultural Stewards will create individual and collaborative works of art and go on field trips to Hector Duarte’s Studio, National Museum of Mexican Art, Chicago State University, Garfield Park Conservatory, Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Burnham Wildlife Corridor to explore the histories and legacies of Hector Duarte and Sapphire and Crystal’s community-based arts practices.  

"I am thrilled to be working on the Art of Flocking with the Chicago Park District's Young Cultural Stewards and the Terra Foundation for American Art. Sapphire and Crystals is a Chicago-based collective “flock” of African American female artists with a 30+ year history, and I look forward to honoring the legacy of co-founder Marva Lee Pitchford Jolly while sharing our work with a new generation," Juarez Hawkins, Sapphire and Crystals collective member and Young Cultural Stewards teaching artist.

The Art of Flocking: Cultural Stewardship in the Park is part of Art Design Chicago, an initiative of the Terra Foundation for American Art exploring Chicago’s art and design legacy, with presenting partner The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.

For more information, visit https://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/programs-memberships/young-cultural-stewards-art-flocking