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Hosted + produced by Kristen Kaza + Elijah McKinnon
Artists The Healing Corner, Tasha Viets-VanLear + Darling Shear.
This space is wheelchair accessible.
A reunion is defined as the "process of being brought together again as a unified whole." Synthesized with the intentions of the Chicago Home Theatre Festival, Reunion Chicago, Humboldt Park's femme, queer, and poc-centered coworking/event space aims to create a sense of communion, incite moments of joy, and pave pathways to healing with an intimate evening of programming & meal sharing centered around ritual.
Featuring musical & dance performances by femme women of color, the evening will weave together storytelling with themes of lineage, heritage and tradition, reflecting on the question prompt, What does home mean to you? A live community art installation facilitated by the Healing Corner will give attendees the chance to answer that question themselves.
Hosted and produced by Reunion's Co-Directors Elijah Mckinnon & Kristen Kaza, featuring artists Tasha Viets-VanLear and Darling Shear and an interactive activity with The Healing Corner, this evening will celebrate family, femininity, ritual and reflection. Attendees are encouraged to bring a meal, snack or token that reminds them of reunions and gatherings of their past to share with the community that comes together for this one-time-only event.
Kristen Kaza is the Creative Director and Founder of No Small Plans Productions, partying with a purpose since 2012 producing & programming events with and for Chicago's creative and philanthropic communities. She has programmed and produced events for the Museum of Contemporary Art, United States Artists, Chicago Community Trust, EMPIRE Fox, EXPO Chicago, and many more. NSP is the Executive Producer of Slo 'Mo, a longtime R&B dance party celebrating community & slow jams hosted by Kristen. In 2016, Kristen launched REUNION, a coworking & event/exhibition space in Humboldt Park prioritizing space for women, the queer community and people of color. At REUNION, they host classes, workshops, events and art shows, as well as work during the day in their bustling coworking studio. Kristen teaches marketing and public relations at Columbia College Chicago, her Alma Mater, and is an active member in the LGTBQ community.
Elijah McKinnon is a marketing maven, cultural producer, and artist. In addition to serving as the Founder and Director of People Who Care --- an independent consultancy that works exclusively with Chicago-based nonprofits and grassroots initiatives such as AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Northwestern University, Chances Dances and many more -- they are also actively involved in Chicago's queer, creative and philanthropic communities. Elijah recently directed and produced season two of “Two Queens in a Kitchen,” Open TV -Beta’s turn-to-relevance cooking series that examines the queer experience through food, lifestyle and personal anecdotes. They are constantly moving and shaking in an attempt to build meaningful relationships and encourage resource sharing. In addition to their professional and artistic credits, Elijah co-produced and starred in Chicago's #PrEP4Love campaign; manages REUNION, a co-working/event studio located in Humboldt Park; holds a seat on the board of IPaintMyMind; volunteers at Creative Mornings Chicago; serves as the Executive Director and host of Canvas Primer; and is the Head of Marketing and Design for Open TV - Beta.
The Healing Corner started in the West Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago in response to a shooting that took place next to a prayer vigil. Realizing prayer circles were no longer enough, The Healing Corner community building events were created to engage the community in open dialogue. The Healing Corner goes to different corners known for violence predominately on the West Side of Chicago and passes out free food, hugs, and resources. We build a dialogue around the issue of violence while forming and maintaining community relationships. The Healing Corner also fosters collaboration with other community organizations. Our events predominately take place in the West Humboldt Park, Garfield Park, and Austin neighborhoods.
The Healing corner was launched in the end of 2015 by Arielle Maldonado & Krystal Robledo. We put an emphasis on getting to know the young men and boys who hang out on the corner and guide them towards a positive path. Through encouragement, guidance, resources, and love, we hope to change lives and create peace in our most troubled inner-city communities. If we don't teach and display unity, we cannot expect our brothers to stop killing each other. We must lead by setting a positive example. HEAL Chicago stands for Hope, Empowerment, Atonement, and Love. The Healing Corner is a street outreach program of HEAL Chicago. We have big hopes for the future!
Tasha Viets-VanLear is a 23 year old Black queer, poet, singer, and budding organizer born and raised on the northside of Chicago. She currently works for the nonprofit activist organization, BYP100, as the Executive Assistant to National Director Charlene Carruthers. TASHA began releasing music in the Spring of 2016 and has since continued to write and perform in the name of Black joy, self-love, and radical softness. She believes in a world without police and prisons, and uses her art, above all else, as a vessel for revolution, liberation, and love. To listen to her music, stay updated on shows, and get in touch, follow TASHA on Twitter, Instagram, and Soundcloud as @wowtashawow.
Darling is a Chicago Native but has roots in Atlanta where Darling started dance training. Darling attended North Springs Charter School of the performing arts where Darling was trained in Ballet, Modern, Jazz and African. Darling began dancing professionally right out of high school and in that time worked with many great choreographers. The highlights were working with Bubba Carr choreography/artistic director to Cher for 12yrs and counting, Rhonda Henriksen soloist with Hubbard Street and Twyla Tharp, Tracy Vogt former Philadanco dancer, Hinton Battle the Original Scarecrow from the broadway production of “The Wiz” and Lauri Stallings Hubbard street soloist and founder/artistic director of gloATL. Darling moved back to Chicago the summer of 2011 to start Suna Dance a collaborative artist group and had the first performance in November of 2011. Darling, a freelance dancer/choreographer in the city has worked with The Fly Honeys of the The Inconvenience, Body Cartography of Minneapolis, Links Hall, Victoria Bradford, Chicago AIDS Foundation, chances dances, no small plan productions, Slo’Mo, the Public hotel, Soho House Chicago, Growing Power inc., expo Chicago, Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre, the school of the art Institute, Depaul museum, University of Chicago, University of Illinois in Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Chicago Film Archive, Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, Salonathon, and Open TV beta.