Announcing Keynote Address and One State Artist Project Grantees

Aug 31, 2020

MacArthur Fellow and Artist Activist Mel Chin will offer our virtual keynote on September 29 at 1pm

Mel Chin is known for the broad range of approaches in his art, including works that require multi-disciplinary, collaborative teamwork and works that enlist science as a component to developing complex ideas. Miranda Lash, curator of Chin’s 2014 traveling retrospective exhibition, Rematch, described his work as having a mutative strategy, depending on concepts to derive the materials of its realization, from actions, to films, to objects, as necessary.

He created Revival Field (1991), pioneering the field of “green remediation,” the use of plants to remove toxic, heavy metals from the soil. From 1995-1998 he formed the collective the GALA Committee that produced In the Name of the Place a public art project conducted on American prime-time television. His Fundred Project (2008-2019) invests in actions to end childhood lead-poisoning through mass public engagement via the creation of art currency as a means for policy-maker education He continues to produce orginal films such as 9-11/9-11 (2007), to decenter preoccupations that engender nationalism and L’Arctique est Paris (2015), to deliver the poignant warnings of a Greenlandic subsistence hunter to an international audience for COP21. In the summer of 2018 he filled New York’s Times Square with a massive sculpture, Wake, on the ground, and an AR (Augmented Reality) project, Unmoored, in the air, creating an experiential portal into a past maritime industry and a future of rising waters. All Over the Place, a 40-year survey exhibition at the Queens Museum, was named by Hyperallergic as the best NYC exhibition of 2018. He is the recipient of many awards, grants, and honorary degrees including a MacArthur Fellowship in 2019.


Jade Williams and Tonika Todorova & Beatrice Bosco receive first ever One State Artist Grant


Jade Williams’ project, BLACK PURPLE BLOOM, is a traveling memorial tower created to honor the Black Womxn who have lost their lives to police brutality.

Through the collaborative efforts of artist Jade Williams’ in-house team and workshop participants across the state, handmade commemorative blooms are used to raise awareness for victims whose cases are not getting adequate coverage.

The blooms created are dedicated to individual victims and are used in the embellishment of the tower. In tandem, the Tower will sprout in different locations across the city of Chicago–from the bases of removed confederate statues to populated plazas and walkways. By putting this memorial in high traffic areas, we increase awareness and visibility of these victims’ stories, while advocating for their justice.

This space was created as a means to recognize and honor the cultural practices and art forms that Black and Brown womxn and femmes have created. Many of these practices and rituals have been condemned, demeaned, and appropriated over centuries and it’s time that they be celebrated. To fully understand the premise of this pop-up event, one can look to the writings and teachings of Alice Walker as her words have been the foundation of The Black Bloom Project’s principles and they capture the very essence of the space. Kits will be sold or donated with all needed materials needed to create sculptural blossoms to contribute to the project. Proceeds from the kits will be donated to a charity which seeks justice for women.

The process of constructing the blooms and memorial tower will be documented and shown as a short film during the One State Together in the Arts Conference followed by a Q&A with the artist.

Jade Williams (b. 1993, Streamwood, IL, United States) is an installation artist and surface designer whose work investigates the histories and complexities that surround Black Female Bodies. Jade received her BFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign where her work was exhibited at the Krannert Art Museum and Figure One Gallery. Recently, her work has been exhibited at Woman Made Gallery, the Leather Archives and Museum, and Slate Arts and Performance Center. Jade is a 2016 recipient of the James R. and Dorothy E. Shipley Award, the Florence M. House award, and winner of the 2016 Evanston and Vicinity Biennial. Currently, she lives and works in the Greater Chicago Area.

Tonika Todorova and Beatrice Bosco produce a One State 24 Hour Theatre Festival, premiering during the conference on September 30th.

In a time of transformation, during unpredictable circumstances, the arts, in order to persevere, will have to pioneer. Human connection and creative collaboration are still in the hearts of artists all over the world. It is with this in mind that Todorova and Bosco will gather powerful voices from communities across Illinois to collaborate on creating 5 short plays that intentionally use virtual mediums to tell the stories that must be told. Created, rehearsed, and presented in 24 hours. 5 Writers, 5 Directors, 15 Performers, 24 hours to write, rehearse and execute a one time only virtual event.

This 24-hour theatre festival will feature a diverse group of participants from across the state, collaborating and cross pollinating to present stories that need amplification during the current times.

Tonika Todorova calls herself an Adventure Architect. She has been alchemising various medium to create aesthetically awake events. As the Artistic Director of Silent Theatre she writes, directs, teaches and tours; as the Art Director for Beethoven Birthday Bash she has created multi-day festivals for International Beethoven Project; as a mother of twins and a toddler, she practices autonomous learning and skills share. She is excited by the possibilities in art pioneering caused by the limitations of our current events.

Beatrice Bosco is a director, producer, and educator, a veteran of Chicago’s off-loop theater scene. She holds a Ph.D. in Theatre from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was the Director of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest Chicago Arts Program, and taught a number of area schools including Roosevelt University, Columbia College, and the Theatre School at DePaul. She served as the Associate Director of Education at Chicago Shakespeare Theater and most recently as Director of Special Project at WBEZ, Chicago’s public radio station.