Tempestt Hazel is a curator, writer, artist advocate, and director of Sixty Inches From Center. Over the years she has worked in arts administration, curating, and multidisciplinary programming at the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), Chicago Artists Coalition, and Arts + Public Life at the University of Chicago. Her exhibitions and research have been produced with the University of North Texas, South Side Community Art Center, Terrain Exhibitions, Contemporary Arts Council, Black Metropolis Research Consortium, and University of Chicago, with upcoming projects at the DuSable Museum of African American History and the Smart Museum of Art. Tempestt’s writing has been published in the books Support Networks: Chicago Social Practice History Series, Institutions and Imaginaries: Chicago Social Practice History Series, Contact Sheet: Light Work Annual, Unfurling: Explorations In Art, Activism and Archiving, The Shape of Spilled Milk, and for Artslant, Hyde Park Art Center, the Broad Museum, Duke University and several artists' monographs.
Sixty Inches From Center is a non-profit online arts publication and archiving initiative that supports and promotes art and writing that thrives primarily outside of mainstream historical narratives.
Stella Binion was born on the westside of Chicago and was raised by her two parents, alongside her older brother. Stella has been writing before she could write, telling her mom to jot down her words on scraps of paper from the age of three. Her high school writing career began by attending Young Chicago Authors workshops and open mics which eventually lead to being a co-captain for the nationally ranked Rebirth Poetry Ensemble performance poetry team. Now she's focusing on her on-page writing, looking up to the works of Robin Coste-Lewis, Warsan Shire, Suheir Hammad, and other women writers of color. She was recently appointed as one of the five literary student ambassadors of the National Student Poets Program, sponsored by the Presidents Committee of the Arts and Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. She is representing the Midwest region. Stella is a senior at Walter Payton College Prep, leads Payton's Advisory Leader Organization (PALs), and is an Executive Editor of Payton's Art & Lit Magazine (PALM).
Growing Concerns is a poetry collective that fuses lyrical narrative and hip hop poetry with original music and soundscape to create spoken word performance that is greater than the sum of its parts.
Krista Franklin is the recipient of the Propeller Fund and the Albert P. Weisman Award, and has held residencies at A Studio in the Woods, Cave Canem, and the University of Chicago’s Arts + Public Life Initiative. Her poems and visual art have been published in Black Camera, Copper Nickel, Callaloo, Vinyl, BOMB Magazine and Encyclopedia, Vol. F-K. Willow Books published Study of Love & Black Body, her chapbook of poems, in 2012. Franklin’s work has exhibited nationally, and was featured on 20th Century Fox’s Empire (Season Two). She is the co-curator of the Chicago citywide poetry and art initiative, EKPHEST: A Festival of Art + Word, and 2nd Sun Salon, a community meeting space for writers, visual and performance artists, musicians and scholars. She holds an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts – Book & Paper from Columbia College Chicago.
Cecil Mcdonald, Jr.: I am most interested in the intersections of masculinity, familial relations, and the artistic and intellectual pursuits of black culture, particular as this culture intersects and informs with the larger culture. Through photography, video, and dance/performance, I seek to investigate and question the norms and customs that govern our understanding of each other, our families, and the myriad of societal struggles and triumphs. I studied fashion, house music and dance club culture (not in any particular order) before receiving a MFA in Photography at Columbia College Chicago, where I currently serve as an adjunct professor.
Born in Louisville, Kentucky Jamila Raegan’s creative practice was formed at an early age by her mother a visual artist and father a criminal defense attorney and music enthusiast. Raegan’s engagement with the arts and social justice has taken many forms. She studied photography and Pan-African Studies at the University of Louisville. Her vocal work led to national and international tours with groups such as Kindred The Family Soul, Platinum Pied Pipers, and collaborations with The Pearl Dance Collective in Brooklyn. She served as a founding board member and arts educator at Extreme Kids and Crew, a not-for-profit arts organization for children and families with special needs in New York City. Raegan’s most recent project with co-creator Ayanah Moor features site-specific vocal and musical performances in memorial to victims of police violence, entitled Offerings.
FlyGirls, led by director Sydney Chatman, will lead a tour through Bronzeville proceeding the performances. Black Girls (Can) Fly! is a play about a ten-year old girl from Chicago named Bessie Mae. Drive-by shootings, school closings, and Black Lives Matter protests has taken a toll on young Bessie Mae. Her fear, of staying alive, has forced her to stay in-doors. She does not understand why anyone would want to leave their neighborhood. When an opportunity to take a trip with her parents presents itself, Bessie Mae has to decide if she is going to allow her fear to enable or empower her to fly! See what happens to Bessie Mae in Black Girls (Can) Fly!