On Friday, June 18 from 7 – 10 p.m., A Long Walk Home (ALWH) artist collective will host a special Juneteenth event, The Black Girlhood Altar: Healing Sanctuary at Weinberg/Newton Gallery (688 N. Milwaukee). This event, marking the culmination of ALWH’s residency, will activate the Black Girlhood Altar in the Weinberg/Newton Gallery courtyard, one of four sites for a temporary monument to missing and murdered Black girls. Traveling back from its previous sites in Chicago, the altar will exist in the gallery’s courtyard as a symbol of collective placemaking for the sacred lives of Black girls. The event is free and open to the public, with guests invited to bring offerings for the altar.
Offerings for Yemaya, Jada. Rainbow Beach, 2021.
Courtesy of Scheherazade Tillet/ A Long Walk Home
Artists Scheherazade Tillet, Robert Narciso and Leah Gipson invite the community to encounter different moments from each installation of the altar seen through the gallery windows, on the sidewalk and in the courtyard. The event will also feature healing practitioners, outdoor activities, music, and food. ALWH aims to create dialogue about real and permanent change through an inclusive youth leadership lens. This final installation in the gallery explores the ways in which art institutions and galleries within Chicago can be used as avenues to help aid social justice causes at grass root levels, promote anti-racism within American culture, and create greater visibility for Black girls.
ALWH, an art organization that empowers young people to end violence against girls and women, are the inaugural recipients of Weinberg/Newton Gallery’s Art & Advocacy Residency. The residency began in April 2021 with participating artists Scheherazade Tillet, Robert Narciso and Leah Gipson collaborating to realize The Black Girlhood Altar, a multi-site installation comprised of four community altars placed throughout Chicago.
The Black Girlhood Altar has engaged Black girls and young women in Chicago as citizen-artists to research, assemble and activate the altars, using the project to advocate for change within their communities. The ALWH Collective is interested in finding ways for communities to come together to grieve, celebrate life, and make sustainable changes in their own communities.
“Over the past year, we, as a people, have been in grief, casualties to a global catastrophe, and witnesses to our nation's racial and gender inequities,” said ALWH co-founder Scheherazade Tillet. “For those of us who have survived, we now have the responsibility to remember, use these lessons of empathy we've learned, and ultimately help others heal. A Long Walk Home, a collective of artists, activists, and healers, have used our time during the Weinberg/Newton residency to create ‘altars’ that are spiritual offerings and community art spaces which act as powerful and enduring symbols for the missing and murdered Black girls and women throughout the city of Chicago.”
The practice of leveraging art for healing is firmly embedded in the inception of ALWH, founded in 2003 by sisters Salamishah Tillet and Scheherazade Tillet. Made up of socially engaged artists, healers, therapists, activists and academics, ALWH has been at the forefront of social justice movements bringing long overdue attention to violence against Black girls and young women.
Conceived as an expansion of the gallery’s mission to raise awareness for social justice issues in collaboration with artists, Weinberg/Newton Gallery’s Art & Advocacy Residency offers awarded artists the use of the 2,200 square foot gallery space over the course of 12 weeks, in addition to a stipend.
About Weinberg/Newton Gallery
Weinberg/Newton Gallery is a non-commercial gallery with a mission to collaborate with nonprofit organizations and artists to educate and engage the public on social justice issues. Through artwork and programming, the gallery provides a vital space for open discourse on critical contemporary issues facing our communities. Connecting artists with social justice organizations, we work to drive change and cultivate a culture of consciousness.
History of Weinberg/Newton Gallery
In 2016, David Weinberg Photography became Weinberg/Newton Gallery. The change reflected the values of The Weinberg/Newton Gallery Family Foundation, which has been led jointly by David Weinberg and Jerry Newton since 2009.
About A Long Walk Home
A Long Walk Home is an art organization that empowers young people to end violence against girls and women. Founded in 2003 by African American sisters Salamishah Tillet and Scheherazade Tillet, A Long Walk Home works with artists, students, activists, therapists, community organizations, and cultural institutions to advocate for racial justice and gender equity in our schools, communities, and country-at-large.
ALWH is committed to increasing resources and opportunities for society’s most vulnerable girls and women in the Chicago area – low-income, girls and women of color, those with disabilities, and LGBTQ-identified – and those most impacted by violence.