Stories by Angel Idowu

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.

How a Community Group is Using Art to Help Children Heal

A community art center is making sure kids have an outlet to express themselves as the pandemic not only limits their activities, but also their resources. We visit the nonprofit SkyArt.

For Stamp Artist Michael Thompson, the Journey is the Destination

Stamp art created by Michael Thompson. (WTTW News)

Why artwork small enough to fit on a postage stamp is causing some trouble for the United States Postal Service.

How an Evanston Artist is Using Portraits to Help Small Business Owners

Portraits by Evanston artist Chris Froeter. (WTTW News)

Evanston-based artist Chris Froeter is using his paintbrush to find creative ways to attract customers and support small businesses during the pandemic. 

Paint the City Initiative Aims to ‘Heal the City Through Art’

A Paint the City mural in Chicago. (WTTW News)

An art alliance has been beautifying boarded-up buildings downtown and throughout the city as a form of protest, and a way to respond to how the world is currently understanding racism.

The History and Celebration of Juneteenth: My Family’s Connection

Reedy Chapel AME Church in Galveston, Texas.

When the Emancipation Proclamation was read in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, my great-great-great-great-grandparents were there.

Chicago Teens Lift Senior Citizens Out of Isolation During the Pandemic

Maya Joshi of the nonprofit Lifting Hearts with the Arts appears on “Chicago Tonight.” (WTTW News)

When a Chicago high school student found herself limited in activities due to the pandemic, she created an opportunity that would not only occupy her time, but the time of others. 

Chicago’s ‘Year of Music’ Goes Virtual

2017 Chicago Blues Festival in Millennium Park (Photo credit: City of Chicago, DCASE)

With Lollapalooza and other big summer events now officially canceled in Chicago, some city residents may be wondering what their entertainment options will look like in the months ahead. How the city is going virtual.

For Black Children, Learning How to Drive Steers Conversation to ‘The Talk’

It’s a conversation that goes hand-in-hand with learning how to drive. But many people argue “the talk” should not have to happen at all. 

Jazz Pianist Ramsey Lewis is Turning 85, And You’re Invited to the Party

Ramsey Lewis speaks with WTTW News via videoconference.

Birthday celebrations during the pandemic have gotten creative, but there haven’t been too many birthday concerts. Chicago jazz composer and pianist Ramsey Lewis is adding that to the list this weekend.