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Making a Place of Purpose, a Collection of Small Actions

Fire spinners from Pyrotechniqs entertaining guests of at the Red Line Service: Summer Festival at the Smart Museum

This daylong event considers how sites of culture can function as spaces of belonging.

Organized by the Smart’s 2016/17 Interpreters in Residence, The Belonging Collective, and inspired by Conversations with the Collection: Belonging, the day will feature a variety of small, intimate actions including interactive meals, artist-orchestrated experiences, micro-tours, performative readings, musical performances, shared reflections, and more.

FREE, open to all. Lunch will be served at 12 pm and dinner at 5 pm. Programs and making stations are open to all, but space may be limited. Drop by or join in on Facebook »

The Belonging Collective

Arts + Public Life Teen Arts Council • Sojourner Scholars • Red Line Service • Stockyard Institute

Other partners and presenters

American Theater Company • Quenna Barrett • Faheem Majeed • National Public Housing Museum • Audrey Petty • Marya Spont-Lemus • Alisha Webster

Actions and meals

Artist talks • Candy store installation • Floating Museum • Grandma’s Kitchen • Reading of The Projects • Silkscreen station • Tours led by Dopecents • Zine and manifesto station • Mixtape station

How do we find our purpose in responding to the urgency of now? How can we call upon and interrogate the creative and intellectual histories of our pasts to understand the nuances of our present? How can art kindle self-reflection and provide a lens through which we can interpret our own experiences, helping us find peace and direction?

For this event, The Belonging Collective will mine the Smart’s collections to connect us to a longer arc of human experience. Together we will build language to name our hopes, fears, exaltations, and the forms of inquiry through which we understand our world. Led by artists, cultural workers, academics, and students the day will feature a variety of small, intimate actions.

Together, we will enact belonging across the Museum and outside its walls. We will question how our engagement with art can help bring clarity and direction for how we address the pressing social issues of our time and how we lead our own lives. We will explore how the accumulation of small, focused actions and shared experiences can yield powerful change when intentionally connected. And we will share strategies and ideas for how to do this work across our different practices and spaces. 

This event is presented as part of the AAMD’s Art Museum Day, a celebration of the vital role art museums play as cultural, educational, and economic anchors, helping make their communities great places to live and work.

It also is presented as part of Chicago Community Trust’s On the Table, an annual forum designed to elevate civic conversation, foster new relationships, and inspire collaborative action across the region.


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