Nestled underneath the Stevenson expressway, Brighton Park expands from Western Ave, to 48th Place and the CSX tracks.
Brighton Park is a primarily Latinx immigrant working class neighborhood in Chicago. In the 1990s to 2000s, its residents shifted from primarily Polish/ Eastern European to a Mexican population. In the late 1850s, Brighton Park was originally known as a center for a livestock trading market, mills, and several industries before being annexed by Lake Township to Chicago in 1889. Influenced by immigrant communities who were attracted to work in industrial parks in the area, the neighborhood is home to many churches.. Most notably Pope John Paul II visited Five Holy Martyrs Parish in 1979, and held mass in his native language for Polish Catholics.
Currently the majority of commercial business in Brighton Park is on Archer Ave, the main street that runs through the neighborhood.
Mexican celebration of independence on September 16th. Community joins together on the streets to yell for independence.
Mexican Catholic tradition that happens before christmas day. Every night between Dec 16th and the 24th community walks from church to different community homes asking for "shelter" for the birth of Jesus and a celebration ensues every night in different neighborhood homes.
"This is a podcast where we will explore Chicago’s southwest side through the stories of the residents who live here. We will dive deep into topics through anecdotes and question our opinions through political and sociological perspectives. I want to start off by focusing on the neighborhood I live in, Brighton Park and eventually branch out to other neighborhoods as time goes on. We all have a story to tell, I want to make yours heard. Connect with me on Instagram to send me your anecdotes at @itspa_hola... One of the things that is so powerful and beautiful about our communities is that we make a lot of these things for ourselves and we create our own resources and we are each others' resources a lot of the times and I think there is a lot of strength in that cause if people aren't going to give us stuff we are going to make for ourselves and I think it's really great that I see a lot of people are already doing that and I want to support them in any way that I can." - Paola PonceVISIT
Year(s): 2014-2016, 2019, 2020
Participants: 40 [4th-8th grade students]
Description: Over several years, Green Star Movement completed several projects at this elementary school in Brighton Park. GSM murals can be found on the main entrance, facing the playing field and playground, and on the theater entrance.
Moni is a Brighton Park based visual artist who is part of the McKinley Park based collective, Marimacha Monarca Press. Zine & Printmaking workshops, pedestrian based education and outreach models. Currently have studio that is not open for workshops due to COVID but plans to do so once that is possible. Curate art projects that encompass topics relevant to our communities specifically as qtpoc in our neighborhood. Educator at Richards Career Academy + other arts teaching work inside and outside of schools. Pop-up art making at community events.
Visual artist and graphic designer - working with graphite and charcoal in drawing and illustration. Surrealist painter - working with a demon based character (reflection of self, outlet?) Work is focused on introspective self work "Try to work in smaller scale but really work with larger scale, eventually want to work with literal illustrations and bringing them into the digital realm" shifting towards digital comic book or animation. Design work for community as well - worked with National Museum of Mexican Art and other projects like Cuarenta Anos de Esperanza: did a 3D map design for that project. Marimacha Monarca: Workshops around printmaking and zinemaking at events like Grabadolandia and other street festivals to teach community that may not be exposed to these arts practices - mainly families and youth. Focus on queerness and latinidad but open to everyone. Before Covid also chosen to be a part of Chicago Park District for Night Out at the Park - turned into an educational film because of covid - (how to harvest different seeds from local flowers specifically milkweed and others that are native to Chicago and essential to the lifecycle of the monarch) linked to queerness and the transformation comparison between butterfly and coming out. Individual: Works with Chicago Dance Theater running youth learning pod doing craft projects between classes (wicker park based).VISIT
"Everything we do is in service of the neighborhood and we are proud of that. The majority of students that come into Kelly do not have a background in music or the arts or have ever acted on a stage. Our choir program (beginner-advanced) perform out at churches in the area different competitions and concerts in our auditorium open to the community. The orchestra department is newer so we have concerts in the school and hoping to expand . The theater program is not just school based but also ASM based. We mostly attract students from Kelly but students from other schools are open to join (runs fall, spring, and summer). In summer we invite local elementary school students to participate under the leadership of the high school students that are part of that department. In the school year we not only do musical performances, but we also do a lot of smaller productions of just acting or singing- a lot of individual based competitions and performances across the city. The band has been around since the early 1900s, very long tradition of having band specifically and we live up to that. I think we are one of the top three schools in band including Lane Techs and Whitney Youngs. Our most known group is marching band doing 20-30 events a year (State St. parade, Mexican independence parade down archer, Memorial day festival) They travel every other year (done NeW Orleans parades, others in DC, in Orlando Florida at universal studios). All made up of students from the neighborhood who learned in our program and advanced to such high standards and traveling for their art. Also do college visits and perform in the field during halftimes. Musical Pit Band- Jazz group & New orleans brass band -- exists more outside the schools."VISIT
CICA mission is to promote cultural awareness and art appreciation through the celebration of Mexican Folkloric Dance in our surrounding communities and the world. Teach Mexican Folklorico & dance, music classes for adults 1:1 , and youth in dance classes. Teach in 12 schools through Frida Kahlo Comm Organization. Organize community events & showcases (like Mexican art museum).VISIT
This cultural center is part of a national club collective of Zacatecan, Mexican immigrants focusing on providing mutual aid amongst other types of support for their community in Chicago and across the nation.VISIT
Since 1973, Mujeres Latinas en Acción is the longest standing Latina-led organization in the nation. Over the years we have honed our offerings including community services that empower Latinas and their families, and supports them as they heal, and thrive within our programs. || "We are an organization that does not offer direct arts or cultural programming but we do group setting programming, including our Empresarias program that is women entrepreneurs coming together to share their ongoing business ideas and work. This ranges from food making to jewelry, etc. and these women rely on each other for support and look at their neighborhood and community for inspiration. We also do work in domestic violence and rape crisis prevention (one of three) and we are geared towards culturally relevant programming and healing opportunities. So we bring groups of survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence to heal together - for Latinas its a really successful way for helping survivors (this differs per community and culture) but for us it works. Group setting helps target a lot of that self hate and isolation that happens for victims of this type of trauma."VISIT
"We offer direct community services like LIHEAP, financial assistance, we help families file for medical benefits, we provide resources to families struggling with housing, we have counselors at our partnered schools, we also run programming inside schools for parents and students, we have parent mentors program, safe passage.. On the organizing side we are focusing on immigration, defunding the police, mental health, violence prevention, political education and more."VISIT