The pandemic’s impact has been far-reaching, with no industry left untouched. That includes Chicago’s arts community, which faced the closure of theaters and concert venues and the cancellation of many in-person arts festivals and showcases at the height of the pandemic.
However, COVID-19 also served as a catalyst for public art, creating more visibility and autonomy for artists, and it redefined how art can be used to engage and connect with communities.
On Monday, WTTW arts correspondent Angel Idowu moderated the latest edition of our “Chicago Tonight: Black Voices” community conversation. She was joined by Erin Harkey, first deputy commissioner of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events; Dwight White II, multidisciplinary artist and creative consultant; Bernard Loyd, president of Build Bronzeville; Tonika Lewis Johnson, co-founder of the Englewood Arts Collective; Jon Veal, co-founder of Alt-Space Chicago; and Alexia Young, founder of Art West Chicago in Garfield Park.
During the conversation, our guests talked about how COVID-19 impacted their work and what changes to Chicago’s arts scene will remain in place long after the pandemic.