Stories by Angel Idowu

How a Chicago Artist is Working to Help Musicians in Need

(WTTW News)

A Chicago artist is working to make sure no musician is left behind with a community organization dedicated to Black musicians in Chicago.

Chicago Children’s Choir Celebrates Black History Month With Virtual Concert

A still image from a video provided by the Chicago Children’s Choir, which is presenting a virtual Black History Month concert in February 2021. (Courtesy Chicago Children’s Choir)

A musical journey through Black history explores how African traditions not only influence music genres today, but how they have helped the Black community celebrate and maintain its traditions.  

Sister Group A4L Talks About the Impact of Gospel Music

The gospel group A4L. (WTTW News)

A group of young women are changing the narrative of gospel music — and who it’s for. We meet a band of sisters who are on a mission. 

Inside ‘Immersive Van Gogh’ Exhibit Making US Debut in Chicago

Inside the “Immersive Van Gogh” exhibit in Chicago. (WTTW News)

A long-awaited exhibit has made its way to the U.S. and Chicago is the first stop on the tour. We get a first look at this one-of-a-kind digital experience.

How a Chicago Nonprofit is Working to Change the Face of Classical Music

(WTTW News)

The Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative is preparing gifted students for higher education and careers in music — and debunking myths along the way.

Congo Square Theatre Talks About Sharing Black Stories, Virtually

Congo Square Theatre Managing Director Charlique Rolle. (WTTW News)

When the pandemic hit, theaters across the country were faced with the harsh reality that they were among the first to close their doors — and would be among the last to reopen. How one Chicago theater company has taken its stage online. 

Keeping Chicago’s Dance History Alive, 1 Interview at a Time

In a seven-hour live interview marathon Sunday, dancers from across the country will reflect on Chicago’s impact over the course of their dance careers.

Arts Workers Across the US Unite for Federal Funds in DAWN Act

An image taken from a promotional video for the “Be An Arts Hero” campaign. (WTTW News via Be An Arts Hero)

Artists are calling on the Biden administration to provide economic relief to the arts sector through a proposal called the DAWN Act — that stands for Defend Arts Workers Now — that was co-organized by Chicago playwright Matthew Lee-Erlbach.

Legacy of Muddy Waters to Live On at MOJO Museum

The North Kenwood house Muddy Waters bought will be preserved as a museum, recording studio and more. (WTTW News)

A museum honoring the “father of modern Chicago blues” is headed to North Kenwood. Family members of the late musician Muddy Waters tell us what’s in store for the MOJO Museum.

How Virtual MLK Day Celebrations Are Continuing the Activist Mission

From dance and musical numbers to excerpts from some of Martin Luther King Jr.’s most prominent speeches to science experiments, Chicago artists are finding creative ways to further his movement in virtual celebrations.

At Lolita’s Bodega, Local Artists of Color Take The Spotlight

Chicago artist Armando Rios — aka Mr. Barbudos. (WTTW News)

How a one-of-a-kind shopping experience in Humboldt Park — and now online — is helping Chicagoans invest in local artists. 

Coffee Company Partners with Chocolateria to Bring Mexican Drinking Chocolate to Chicago

(WTTW News)

A chocolateria has made its way to Chicago by way of local coffee company Dark Matter. On the menu? Mexican drinking chocolate that just so happens to be made with cacao beans from Mexico. We visit Sleep Walk for a taste.

‘Tree of Remembrance’ Honors Lives Lost to Chicago Gun Violence

(WTTW News)

As Chicagoans say goodbye to loved ones who have died from gun violence, a local artist is working to make sure their lives are honored this holiday season through his nonprofit, Never Forget Chicago.

Free Virtual Concert ‘Pasión Latina’ Marks a First for Lyric Opera

Ana María Martínez (WTTW News)

Lyric Opera of Chicago has plans for a virtual concert Sunday unlike anything it has done before: a Spanish-language concert. We meet some of the artists involved with the premiere of “Pasión Latina.”

How a Chicago Artist is Bringing Attention to Homelessness

Chicago artist Zac Lowing (WTTW News)

Zac Lowing scours the beach for sea glass, but his work is about more than the sculptures he creates. Through his platform, he hopes to bring attention to the homeless community. 

Mural in Belmont Cragin Encourages Resilience as COVID-19 Numbers Rise

(WTTW News)

A new mural on the city’s Northwest Side bridges the gap between health care providers and the community they serve.

Chicago Artist Explores Blackness as Both a Color and Identity in New Exhibit

Chicago-based artist and architect Amanda Williams. (WTTW News)

We explore the latest exhibition from Amanda Williams which responds to the social media trend Blackout Tuesday, in which Instagram users posted black squares to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Wesley’s Shoe Corral Celebrates 50 Years in Business

A shoe store on the city’s South Side is celebrating 50 years as the only independent Black-owned shoe retailer in the country. We go for a visit.

Indigenous Artist Takes Painting Class Online for Cross-Cultural Exchange

(WTTW News)

Every year, Indigenous artist Carlos Orozco travels to Chicago from Oaxaca, Mexico, to lead workshops on painting alebrijes. We check out this year’s virtual offering. 

Day of the Dead Exhibit Honors Those Who Died from COVID-19, Celebrates Life

(Sólo un poco aquí: Day of the Dead, National Museum of Mexican Art)

The exhibit would normally feature authentic artwork from Mexican artists, including traditional ofrendas, or altars. This year, the artwork comes from both the museum’s personal collection and local artists.

A Classic Soul Song Gets An Update

Vocalist Tiaybe Bledsoe (WTTW News)

Chicago artists are paying tribute to the Pointer Sisters in a remake of a song that underscores the importance of working together. We meet the creatives behind the “Yes We Can” project.

South Side Neighborhood Offers Safe Art Alternative With Beverly ‘Alt’ Walk

(WTTW News)

Beverly and Morgan Park are continuing a seven-year tradition of celebrating local artists, but this year they’re doing things a bit differently. We visit the historic area for a preview of the event.

Chicago Architect Uses City as Backdrop for Virtual Drawing Class

Joel Berman speaks with “Chicago Tonight” via Zoom. (WTTW News)

Chicago architect Joel Berman is using his love of design to teach the next generation of artists in a new virtual drawing class. We recently joined the students to learn more.

New Book ‘Boarded Up Chicago’ Explores Mural Movement Amid Unrest

A mural in Chicago featured in the new book “Boarded Up Chicago: Storefront Images Days After the George Floyd Riots.” (WTTW News)

A father and son documenting the city’s reaction to the police killing of George Floyd turn their images into a new book.

Anonymous Artist Dont Fret Turns Office Space Into Art Gallery

Artwork by Dont Fret featured in the show “Office Space for Rent.” (WTTW News)

Nestled between computers, tape dispensers and staplers in a public relations office in Lakeview sits the latest collection by anonymous Chicago artist Dont Fret. We go for a look.

Evanston Artist Transforms Neighborhood, One Garage Door at a Time

Evanston artist Teresa Parod paints a mural on a garage door. (WTTW News)

Alleys serve many purposes, but they’re not typically used as the backdrop for public art. Enter Teresa Parod, who is using house paint to elevate the ordinary into the extraordinary.