Maria Gaspar, Cook County Jail
Tue, Apr 8, 2014, 6–8 pm
In collaboration with Enlace Chicago, the Chicago Public Art Group, and other community partners, artist Maria Gaspar presents a socially engaged project that looks at Chicago’s Cook County Jail and its impact on the local community and the city as a whole.
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.
Through community-based, site-responsive art projects led by artist, Maria Gaspar, Enlace Chicago, and the Chicago Public Art Group, county residents, artists, educators, and community organizations are working together through a long-term process that artistically and creatively reflects our collective, evolving ideas of incarceration. The project draws insight from communities impacted by criminal and social justice issues; supports arts and culture development efforts in the county; and recognizes the potential for human transformation. This year will see its first installment of projects using audio documentaries, which involve community audio trainings for youth and adults in partnership with Vocalo (90.7 FM) that capture the untold narratives of Cook County Jail’s impact on its affected communities.
For this Tuesday evening program, Gaspar leads a discussion with guest speakers.
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.