After nine years of serving the Chicago community through arts and social justice, Weinberg/Newton Gallery (688 N. Milwaukee Ave.), a non-commercial gallery dedicated to promoting social justice causes through art and programming, is partnering with Firebird Community Arts and Gun Violence Prevention PAC (G-PAC) to present its final exhibition, DISARM, Everyday Violence, Every Day, an explanation of the challenges of structural racism and violence that Chicago still faces today, on view since June 23, and ending on September 9th, 2023. Weinberg/Newton Gallery will permanently close its doors on September 9 with a public, celebratory closing party to take place that evening.
The hard work and creativity of the Weinberg/Newton Gallery team and the artists that have exhibited here, has allowed us to carry out our mission and engage in a wide range of social justice issues through art, said Founder of Weinberg/Newton Gallery, David Weinberg. We have been able to reach the Chicago community with our messaging through our dedicated staff and artists with strong voices. Thank you to all that have supported and contributed to the gallerys mission throughout the years.
The final exhibition features artwork by local and national artists, each speaking to the clear fracture line from the Chicago Race Riots of 1919 to todays segregated public spaces, such as beaches and parks, to the bounded areas of city disinvestment and the plague of gun violence it creates.
On July 27, 1919, Eugene Williams, a black teenager was stoned and drowned by a white man for floating his raft over an invisible line into a whites-only South Side beach an event that sparked the most violent week in Chicagos history. The Chicago Race Riot of 1919, plus countless other incidents of violence by white people against black people in and around public spaces, provides an origin story for the challenges of structural racism and violence that Chicago faces today.
Firebird Community Arts is an arts organization located in Chicagos East Garfield Park that works to empower and connect people through the healing practice of glassblowing and ceramics. As part of DISARM, Everyday Violence, Every Day, artists participating in Firebirds flagship program, Project FIRE, have created an immersive experience in the gallerys enclosed video room that represents the imaginary race line Eugene Williams crossed in 1919 at Lake Michigan. Sand will be on the floor of the room, with a roped dividing line, and ambient beach sounds will be playing.
Outside of this room there will be an intricately blown-glass marker with a poem on it written by Firebird youth participants honoring Eugene. Firebird will also present five glass markers that are part of a larger set of 38 being produced to memorialize each life taken by the Chicago Race Riots of 1919. These markers will be placed at the location of each individuals death. The exhibition will also feature eight large scale photographs of the Firebird community participating in a memorial event at the site of Eugene Williams death.
Until we reflect on and open up dialogue with this painful history and its context of poverty and structural racism, we will be unable to unravel the complex public health crisis of gun violence, says Nabiha Khan-Giordano, Executive Director and Curator of the exhibition.
The main gallery space will be transformed into an immersive dark room to spotlight a video installation by celebrated Director, Photographer, and Cinematographer, Carlos Javier Ortiz, who was also the first exhibiting artist at the gallery in 2014. Ortiz films A Thousand Midnights and Shikaakwa explore the devastation of violence on youths within the context of structural racism as a public health crisis.
Additional artists featured in DISARM, Everyday Violence, Every Day include Jennifer Nagle Myers presenting A City Without Guns and Jefferson Pinder presenting float.
Weinberg/Newton Gallery is also proud to join forces with political action committee Gun Violence Prevention PAC, which is working to counter the political influence of the gun industry and their lobby in Springfield. G-PAC raises the resources necessary to elect and protect public officials with the courage to stand up to the gun lobby and keep guns out of the hands of criminals, gang members, domestic abusers, and the dangerously mentally ill.
Related on-site programming will take place in partnership with Firebird Community Arts and Gun Violence Prevention PAC including an opening reception on June 23 from 5 8 p.m. at the gallery. Reservations can be made here.
DISARM, Everyday Violence, Every Day is curated by Weinberg/Newton Gallery Executive Director Nabiha Khan-Giordano and presented in partnership with Firebird Community Arts and Gun Violence Prevention PAC.
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.
Firebird Community Arts Center works to empower and connect people through the healing practice of glassblowing and ceramics. The organization is primarily in communities with populations that have been impacted by collective or individual trauma. Many of the artists in this exhibition are participants of Firebirds flagship program, Project FIRE a glassblowing and trauma recovery program for individuals who have been impacted by gun violence. In addition to creating works of art, Project FIRE participants can heal and excel through mentorships and trauma-informed support groups, case management, and medical treatment.
Gun Violence Prevention PAC was founded to counter the political influence of the gun industry and their lobby in Springfield. G-PAC raises the resources necessary to protect and elect public officials with the courage to stand up to the gun lobby. The devastation imposed by the gun violence epidemic on our communities and families is unimaginable it is the price that we are forced to pay for a culture of gun violence that has been allowed to flourish without accountability for far too long.