Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education is pleased to announce Convergence 2021. This iteration of the exhibition is once again a digital experience. The projects you’ll encounter on this website are works from the 2020-2021 school year, a year of pauses and restarts as schools rotated transition between remote, hybrid, and then in-person classrooms. Throughout the projects, you will see the impression left by the various phases of the reopening as documentation moves from home to classroom. With only a few teaching artists teaching in-person, their primary teaching mode was through virtual platforms. Despite the ongoing teaching issues during the pandemic, our teams continued with artistic investigations that promoted student choice for realizing one’s own art process, invited students to express their perspectives about the world, and engaged students to take collective action.

This year, we again partnered with ACRE to enlist a guest curator and a web designer to render the collective work of the A/R Partner schools. Josh Rios, a curator-consultant for last year’s Convergence exhibit, graciously returns to collaborate with us on re-envisioning the work of the students, teachers, and teaching artists. Artist and designer Elsa Hannabarger was instrumental in realizing the website’s spatial organization and viewer navigation. A big thank you to both for their ideas, conversation, and time on this project.

- Mark Diaz

Curatorial Statement

It is a great honor to be part of the team presenting the projects outlined in this website and to continue to learn from the CAPE community and its collaborators. As an educator and artist, I have gleaned something significant from each of the many inquiries and student engagements represented throughout. Without question, the last few years have been challenging as a global pandemic has brought into sharpened focus already existing socio-cultural and political inequalities. Also without question, are the remarkable CAPE teaching artists who pivoted, experimented, and adapted their understandings and practices in accordance with many unknown and developing protocols, all while centering their students’ diverse needs.

Creativity is a central part of everyday life, how we make sense of the world around us, and how we imagine the possibility of another world. CAPE and the projects featured here showcase the value and interrelated qualities of creative expression and critical thinking, and just how impactful such concepts are for young people coming to terms with their world. Congratulations to all involved, including the teaching artists, the curatorial team members, and the administrators who made this work possible. Congratulations to the students as well, to the parents and all supporting family members, both chosen and biological.

- Josh Rios

Land Acknowledgement

CAPE would like to acknowledge that Chicago is the traditional lands of the Bodéwadmi (Potawatomi) and was a meeting place for many tribes that maintained and continue to maintain representation in the area including the Odaawaa, the Ojibwe, the Myaamia, the Waazija, the Sauk and Meskwaki, the Kiikaapoi, the Peoria, the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ, as well as other nations unknown or undocumented in colonial history. Chicago has always been an important link between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River, making the area an active and complex social site since time immemorial.

Land dispossession and harmful appropriation of culture still happens to Indigenous communities today. Artists, museums, and educational spaces have historically played a key role in creating visual representations of Indigenous people that have been injurious and aided in the creation of idealized versions of settler colonialism. Regardless, Native and Indigenous Americans continue to thrive in Chicago today. Please continue to challenge and educate yourself regarding these histories and legacies and note that a Land Acknowledgment is an important recognition of the past, but also requires action to be meaningful.