Stories by Angel Idowu

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. 

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.

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. 

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 stay-at-home order not only limits their activities, but also their resources. We visit the nonprofit SkyArt.

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.

Virtual Art Gallery Explores Why the Stay-at-Home Order Isn’t Ideal for All

A new virtual art gallery is starting a conversation on why the current stay-at-home order isn’t ideal for everyone, as it explores race and social class issues.

Chicago Music School Makes Virtual Classes the New Norm

The Hyde Park Suzuki Institute is offering virtual classes during the pandemic. (WTTW News)

As we enter the third month of Illinois’ stay-at-home order, a look at how the Hyde Park Suzuki Institute is getting “extra creative” as it moves its classes online.

Mosaic Pays Tribute to ‘Wizard of Oz’ Author at His Chicago Home

A tile mosaic honoring L. Frank Baum created by Chicago artist Hector Duarte. (WTTW News)

Last November, a yellow brick road appeared in the Humboldt Park neighborhood to honor the late author L. Frank Baum. Recently, another installation was added to the historic corner, and we were there for its unveiling.

Drive-in Theater Offers Escape from Pandemic with Trip Back in Time

Opening night at the McHenry Outdoor Theater. (WTTW News)

About 90 minutes north of the city, a drive-in movie theater is bringing back the 1950s — and it’s giving families an escape from the coronavirus pandemic, too. We visit the McHenry Outdoor Theater.

From Newsroom to Writer’s Room: Sylvia L. Jones Talks ‘Clark Sisters’ Film

Sylvia L. Jones speaks with WTTW News via Zoom.

In the midst of uncertainties brought on by the pandemic, Chicago screenwriter Sylvia L. Jones is celebrating one of her biggest achievements yet: her first feature film.

Chicago Artist Shares Unique Take on ‘Stay Home Chicago’ Remix

Chicago musician Wyatt Waddell speaks with WTTW News via Zoom.

When local artists were asked by Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office to sing their remake of a Chicago classic, musician Wyatt Waddell decided to recreate the song altogether. 

From the Jungle to Chicago: Local Artist Returns Home Amid Pandemic

Sharon Bladholm (WTTW News)

An assignment in Peru turned into a nightmare for Chicago artist Sharon Bladholm, who was trying to get back home when the coronavirus pandemic hit. 

How ‘Rephotography’ is Capturing Chicago in the Age of COVID-19

(Credit: Mark‌ ‌Hersch‌)

Photographer Mark‌ ‌Hersch‌ ‌contrast‌s the busy streets‌ ‌of the‌ ‌early‌ ‌1900s‌ ‌with ‌the‌ ‌empty‌ ‌streets‌ ‌today‌ ‌to‌ ‌capture‌ ‌the ‌pandemic — and provide a sense of hope.‌ ‌We hit State Street to see just how he does it.

Chicago Children’s Theatre Offers Spring Break Alternative With Spring Red Kite Camp

A screenshot from a Red Kite Camp meeting via Zoom. (Courtesy Chicago Children’s Theatre)

Described as a unique learning experience with theater as the focal point, The Red Kite Project specifically works with children on the autism spectrum.

High Schooler’s ‘Swan Project’ Shares Musical Message with the World

Musician Cameron Chiu speaks with “Chicago Tonight” via video chat. (WTTW News)

Music has always been a source of comfort for 18-year-old Cameron Chiu. When the coronavirus prompted a stay-at-home order, he and his classmate created a project that would bring people together.

Chicago Gospel Singer’s Message in ‘Goshen’ is More Timely Than Ever

Chicago gospel singer-songwriter Donald Lawrence speaks with “Chicago Tonight” via videoconference. (WTTW News)

The city had declared 2020 as Chicago’s “year of music.” Now with live music all but shut down, we’ve been talking with artists who were set to share their sounds before the coronavirus outbreak – including Donald Lawrence and the Tri-City Singers.

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 his latest mural on Chicago’s West Side.

Virtual Play Offers Night Out at the Theater, Without Leaving Home

Ty Fanning, left, and MacGregor Arney in “Teenage Dick.” (Photo credit: Charles Osgood)

As you work through your list of at-home entertainment options, don’t forget to consider a night of theater. Chicago’s Theater Wit is now livestreaming the play “Teenage Dick.” Here’s how it works.

‘We’ll Be Back Stronger’: Performing Arts Companies Rally, Reflect

(WTTW News)

How the Chicago performing arts community is preparing for the uncertainty of the spring season.

How Chicago Artists are Coping with the New Coronavirus Economy

The Chopin Theatre in Wicker Park (WTTW News)

Some businesses deemed essential are staying open as Gov. J.B. Pritzker orders residents across the state to stay home and help prevent spread of the novel coronavirus. But how are mom-and-pop operations weathering the storm?