Vision Quilt Showcase at NVAM: Creative Community YOUmedia

On September 24, NVAM welcomed Vision Quilt founder Cathy DeForest to the the museum to present and discuss the work made by teens from throughout the city of Chicago during the summer of 2016.  Teens from Woodson and back of the Yards YOUmedia branches as well as the NVAM Teen council and community members gathered to share resources, reflect on the work made by students and hold dialogue concerning the ongoing trend of increased gun violence in Chicago and around the country.

During the showcase, young artists spoke of their personal experiences with gun violence both directly and indirectly.  Students from IMPACT family center shared about the frequency and subsequent frustration with gun violence in their neighborhood while NVAM Teen Council member Camile was moved to tears when she described the empathy and fear she feels knowing that youth and families are being killed in her city through gun violence.

“How many here have been affected by gun violence?” asked Cathy DeForest

Along with youth, community advocates listened and shared inspiration for hope for the future.  A mother of a child killed by gun violence read a poem while others shared insight into community involvement opportunites to make an impact and create positive change.


After the presentation the panels will remain on display at NVAM through the end of the month and then be made available at rallies, community meetings and  public display.  Learn more at

From IMPACT Family Center:

It was an awesome #ConnectedLearning experience for IMPACT Family Center teens to participate in the Vision Quilt program with National Veterans Art Museum and YouMedia @ Chicago Public Library.
The used art in making panels for Vision Quilt to express themselves about #GunViolence.
Here is a photo essay.
Teens have many social/emotional issues and a voice about #ChicagoGunViolence.
Hive Chicago
MacArthur Foundation
Mozilla Foundation
Chicago Housing Authority
Chicago Department of Family and Support Services


Eric Garcia visits the Back of the Yards CPL branch YOUmedia

Teens from the Back  of the Yards YOUmedia visited NVAM in July at the beginning of their summer Creative Community workshop series. Operation Mom’s Couch, a solo exhibition by local artist and veteran Eric Garcia was on exhibition .  Through out the course of the Creative Community workshops, BoY teens made art in response to the NVAM collection as well as in relation to the art made by Eric Garcia including development of superhero characters that relate to personal stories or issues of importance to the teens, developing short comic strips and narratives and designing comic book covers.


These finished projects as well as other works in progress were shared with Garcia when he was able to visit the branch in August. Along with sharing the process behind his work, Garcia shared how his work has developed over time and offered insight into how to work with changing ideas and influences.  Teens and youth in the program used this inspiration to decorate the YOUmedia space by adding their superheroes to the glass windows that make up the walls around the space. Overall everyone had a ton of fun and learned a lot about ways art can be used to share ideas through our personal stories as well as humor.

Teen Council Spring Showcase: Art as Activism

Developing a sense of self and an understanding of one’s place in the world is a journey that teenagers are particularly attuned to. The Spring Showcase features work by NVAM Out Loud members prompted by the themes of identity and art as activism. Supplemented by the workshops of veteran artists Eric Garcia, Mel L., and Maurice Costello, the Spring program emphasizes the importance of identity-based artwork. The final art projects are a result of the teens’ reflections about what they value and how they can connect their individuality to an idea larger than themselves. We feel fortunate to have a teen council that represents a variety of backgrounds and as a result, brings rich and distinct perspectives into the process of finding yourself and what you stand for.


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