Stories by Angel Idowu

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.

How Balinese Dancing is Bringing Communities Together

A lifelong dancer is working to keep his family’s Indonesian culture alive through Balinese dancing. 

Need a New Quarantine Activity? Try Virtual Ukulele Lessons

A Highland Park shop specializing in ukuleles is keeping its music community alive by offering virtual lessons on how to play the “happiest instrument on the planet.”

Virtual Bronzeville Art District Trolley Pays Homage to South Side Artists

For the last 15 years, Chicagoans have explored the art of one of the city’s most historic neighborhoods thanks to a trolley. But this year, the Bronzeville Art District Trolley tour is going virtual. 

How a Concert Series is Lighting Up the Night By Candlelight

Fever’s Candlelight Concert series. (WTTW News)

A concert series is going the social distance to make sure you can safely soak up live music outdoors with family and friends. How the series is adjusting to the pandemic.

Oranges, Grapefruits and Limes: How One Artist is Creating Jewelry Out of Citrus

What do oranges, grapefruits and limes all have in common? They’re all fruits being used in an art project turning citrus into jewelry. 

‘Ducks on the Mag Mile’ Celebrates Special Olympics Illinois

The pandemic is forcing Special Olympics Illinois to conduct their annual Duck Derby a little bit differently this year. But there is one tradition that remains the same.  

Lightfoot Mural Creates Landmark for South Side Neighborhood

Mayor Lori Lightfoot is featured in a mural created by Chicago artist Rahmaan Statik. (WTTW News)

When a local real estate agent decided to commission a mural, he chose to include a prominent figure who has made history as the first black woman to become mayor of Chicago. We visit South Shore for a look.

Students Tell Story of Bronzeville Neighborhood Through Their Eyes in ComEd Sponsored Film Festival

Harold Washington Cultural Center on 47th and King Drive, as seen in the student film, “Bronzeville Documentary.”

This weekend, the portrayal of Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood will be on display during the Bronzeville Film Festival.

How ‘Situation Chicago’ Is Working to Save Chicago Music Venues

Local musicians and business owners are joining forces to help music venues in Chicago withstand the pandemic through a new album, “Situation Chicago.”

How ‘Mural Moves’ is Using Art to Invest in Communities

(WTTW News)

A family of artists is encouraging communities to reclaim their neighborhoods through the art of storytelling. We check out their work at 71st Street and Jeffery Boulevard in South Shore.

#ReleaseTheRecords Movement Seeks Release of Police Misconduct Files

(Courtesy of Jacob King)

Organizers are pushing for the Chicago Police Department to release officer misconduct records, saying publicly available top-level data omits the public’s narrative and prevents them from seeking “narrative justice.”

Chicago Tap Theatre’s Virtual Show Goes the (Social) Distance

Arts correspondent Angel Idowu joins dancers of Chicago Tap Theatre for a lesson during their rehearsal for “30 Feet Together, 6 Feet Apart.” (WTTW News)

When the pandemic hit, the Chicago Tap Theatre adapted to the new virtual reality. This weekend, they’re taking it a “tap” further with their virtual show “30 Feet Together, 6 Feet Apart.”

How ‘Rita’s Quilt’ is Connecting Women Around the World

While at an estate sale last September, Chicago artist Shannon Downey found an unfinished quilt and knew she had to complete it, but would need help. 

Mural With a Message Promotes Mental Health Awareness, Optimism

A mural by Myron Laban on Chicago’s West Side. (WTTW News)

“You deserve to be happy.” That’s the message artist Myron Laban believes people really need to hear in the midst of today’s uncertainties. We check out one of his latest murals on Chicago’s West Side.

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