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MCA Live
Maria Gaspar, Cook County Jail

Tue, Apr 8, 2014, 6–8 pm

Cook County

Maria Gaspar,
Cook County Jail: The Visible and Invisible Archive

Courtesy of the artist

Cook County Jail, located on Chicago’s West Side community of Little Village, is one of the largest pre-detention facilities in the country, housing an estimated 10,000 detainees daily and 100,000 per year. Located on 96 acres of jail compound, it is the largest piece of architecture in the Lawndale communities.

96ACRES, formed from community dialogue and led by artist Maria Gaspar, Enlace Chicago, and the Chicago Public Art Group, is a series of public, community-based, and site-responsive art projects that engage residents, artists, educators, youth, and organizations around social and restorative justice issues. This spring, 96ACRES will broadcast a set of audio documentaries derived from community stories and local histories in partnership with Vocalo (90.7 FM) that capture the untold narratives of the Cook County Jail’s most impacted populations. Upcoming projects include an online archive of research, artistic projects, and collected narratives; a summer/fall series of participatory public art projects along the jail; and a workshop series around curriculum sharing for educators.

For this Tuesday evening program, 96ACRES with Maria Gaspar will lead a series of interventions that create a dialogue around power and place throughout the museum.

About the Artist

Born in Chicago, Maria Gaspar is an interdisciplinary artist whose work ranges from sculpture and installation to performance and social practice. She has presented her work at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Illinois State University, and the Hyde Park Art Center, as well as the Durand Art Institute in Lake Forest, Illinois; the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts in Grand Rapids, Michigan; the MCA Tucson; and the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center in San Antonio, Texas. Her community-based projects include permanent public art and participatory works throughout Chicago and Mexico City with youth and adults. This includes City As Site (2010), creating site-responses with youth on the West Sides of Chicago and as lead artist for a series of community-based projects at the Cook County Jail in Little Village, Chicago. Most recently, Gaspar presented her audio documentary, Cook County Jail: The Visible and Invisible on Vocalo (90.7 FM) and is preparing a forthcoming project at the Ex Teresa Arte Actual in Mexico City.

Gaspar is an Instructor in Performance Art and Contemporary Practices at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She holds an MFA in Studio Arts from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a BFA in Fine Arts from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.