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Chicago Artist Maria Gaspar Speaks to Art and Social Change Students

On Monday, October 18, Chicago-based artist, activist and educator Maria Gaspar visited the Ignatian Service Learning course Art and Social Change via Zoom. Gaspar’s practice explores what she has termed “Spatial Justice” in her home neighborhood of Little Village Chicago. “As students spend this school year exploring the self in relation to environment and space, it is necessary to connect with artists who use various environments as their medium, as well,” says Visual Arts Teacher Mr. Keith Brown. “Maria inspired us with her background, art education and community-based art making experiences.”
Watch Maria Gaspar’s presentation here.

The artist specifically noted the 96 Acres Project around Cook County, a series of community-engaged, site-responsive art projects that involve community stakeholders’ ideas about social and restorative justice issues and examine the impact of incarceration at the Cook County Jail on Chicago’s West Side and beyond.

“So far this year our students have explored aspects of identity in relation to their interests and in relation to Loyola Academy, generating a project that examines comfortable and uncomfortable spaces around the school,” explains Mr. Brown. The project includes diagrammed floor plans of LA, a student survey on space and two artworks that represent thoughts and feelings around comfortable and uncomfortable spaces.

Images will be available shortly.

About the Artist: Maria Gaspar is an interdisciplinary artist negotiating the politics of location through installation, sculpture, sound, and performance. Gaspar’s work addresses issues of spatial justice in order to amplify, mobilize, or divert structures of power through individual and collective gestures. Her work spans formats and durations, including sound performances at a military site in New Haven (Sounds for Liberation); long-term public art interventions at the largest jail in the country (96 Acres Project, Chicago); appropriations of museum archives (Brown Brilliance Darkness Matter); and audio-video works, documenting a jail located in her childhood neighborhood (On the Border of What is Formless and Monstrous).

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