West Town, Chicago - July 7, 2014 – Street-Level Youth media will host their 19th annual benefit night, “TuneIn TurnItUp” at SAIC’s Sullivan Galleries in Downtown Chicago on Wednesday, September 24th.
Encompassing a space of over 30,000 square feet, the Sullivan Galleries is the largest contemporary art gallery in Downtown Chicago. Street-Level Youth performances will amplify the surrounding exhibition, “A Proximity of Consciousness: Art and Social Action”, part of SAIC’s 2014 Social Practice Program, featuring ten outstanding artists— Jim Duignan,Paul Durica, Pablo Helguera, J. Morgan Puett, Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, Dan Peterman, Michael Rakowitz, Laurie Jo Reynolds,Temporary Services, and Rirkrit Tiravanija. Inigo Manglano-Ovalle’s participation in this exhibition is particularly meaningful, as he is one of Street-Level’s founders.
Street-Level is proud to showcase their artists in an exhibition focused on social practice. Through mentorship and programs, staff motivate youth to speak their truths through various forms of artistic expression. The benefit’s theme, “TuneIn TurnItUp,” draws focus to Street Level’s mission to inspire youth activism.
“I’d like for people to understand that Street-Level is not just a place where we teach kids how to make art and media, but a place where we come together as a family,” says Darius Shy, a personable and articulate artist at Street-Level. Seventeen-year-old Darius of West Garfield Park has been coming to Street-Level since middle school. “Many of our kids have started from very humble beginnings and Street-Level has helped them to promote themselves as artists,” says Shy. He sings praises of his friends at Street-Level, like Big Jab, a rapper and producer who just graduated high school and Dee Bangs who just released a seventeen track mixtape, #YoungNDoubted 2014. These artists come from very violent parts of the city says Shy. Street-Level has connected them with other creatives and helped them grow.
Darius will be co MC-ing the event with another long-time SL youth member, Darion Bangs on the night of September benefit, “TuneIn, TurnItUp.” Tickets to this fundraising event are available at Brown Paper Tickets and information on being a sponsor for this event is available at wwww.street-level.org/benefit.
Street Level Youth Media was established in the early 1990s by a group of artists, educators, and community activists interested in affecting change in their local Chicago West Town neighborhood. Among the founding artists of Street Level, Inigo Manglano-Ovalle’s project, Tele-Vecindario, was commissioned by “Culture in Action”, a public initiative curated by Mary Jane Jacob. Tele-Vecindario—one of their first projects commissioned as a part of Sculpture Chicago’s Culture in Action public art program—sought to address the social and cultural issues impacting urban communities. Through youth and adult collaboration, the group produced a series of video installations featured in a block party organized to bring together local residents for dialogue and participation in a communal event. The success of this project, and others that followed, inspired the group to formally establish Street-Level as a non-profit organization.
Today, Street-Level remains committed to educating Chicago urban youth in using media arts for self-expression, communication, and social change. Their teaching practice emphasizes artistic excellence and challenges youth to think critically about media and how it influences their lives. Through process-oriented, socially-conscious media art-making, youth learn to develop their creative ideas, articulate their unique point-of-view, and see how their art can positively engage and change the world.
To participate as a sponsor for this event, please go to our sponsorship webpage!