VaxChiArt 2.0 Returns to Inspire Low-vaccinated Communities CDPH, DCASE, and Design Museum Commission Local Artists to Paint the Town in Color to Encourage Vaccinations & Partner with CCC to Exhibit Art

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Thursday, March 31, 2022
Art Exhibition and Reception at Kennedy-King College (740 W. 63rd St)
3:00pm-6:00pm

This spring, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) and the Design Museum of Chicago continue their VaxChiArt collaboration to engage well-known Chicago artists to creatively fuel the COVID-19 vaccination effort. VaxChiArt 2.0, an extension of a campaign originally launched last summer, features original art from more than 80 local artists displayed in some of the lowest-vaccinated neighborhoods across the city. In addition to outdoor murals on the South and West sides, this initiative will feature exhibitions in select City Colleges and Chicago Park District Field Houses as well as artwork on street pole banners.

The community exhibitions open on March 30th, starting in the Austin neighborhood, and will run for approximately six weeks at various locations across the city. The launch schedule is as follows:
Wednesday, March 30th
Art Exhibition and Reception at Columbus Park (500 S. Central)
4:00pm-6:00pm

Thursday, March 31st
Art Exhibition and Reception at Kennedy-King College (740 W. 63rd St)
3:00pm-6:00pm

Friday, April 1st
Art Exhibition and Reception at Rowan Park (11546 South Avenue L)
4:00pm-7:00pm

Art Exhibition and Reception at Harold Washington College (30 E. Lake St)
Date and time to be announced

As of March 27, 82.2 percent of Chicago residents age 5 and older have received at least one dose of vaccine. However, vaccination rates remain lower among Black Chicagoans. CDPH is focused on increasing vaccination in neighborhoods particularly on the South and West Sides where the pandemic has had disproportionate impact.

“Our VaxChiArt campaign is a creative way to place public health messages in diverse communities, support the arts, and encourage our residents to protect themselves and their loved ones by being vaccinated and remaining vigilant with their health,” said Allison Arwady M.D., Commissioner, CDPH. “While case rates may be down, it is not a time to let down our guard or lose momentum in the push to protect everyone. The more people we get vaccinated and boosted, the fewer hospitalizations and severe outcomes we will face.”

“Chicago artists have been invaluable partners by using their creativity to sustain and encourage us throughout the pandemic,” said DCASE Commissioner Erin Harkey. “These new murals continue that work by celebrating those that are protecting our community, and their loved ones, by choosing to be vaccinated.”

Joining the campaign this spring are new Chicago-based artists who were commissioned to create original murals focused on the themes of health, vitality, community, and vaccine distribution.

Joseph Perez, best known as “Sentrock,” is a self-taught street artist. Sentrock witnessed street art as a form of expression, which established his interest in picking up a spray can and continuing his artistic voice. Sentrock developed his early works from graffiti writing in Mexican American neighborhoods. Community members can view his mural at 5908 W. Chicago Ave. The unveiling will take place on March 30th at 10 a.m.

Two additional murals are planned featuring Mural Moves, a collective reclaiming community spaces through painting and mural making with artists Dorian Sylvain, Celia Benito and Kari Blak; as well as JC Rivera, an illustrating artist whose work can be found in various magazines and galleries worldwide. Both will be unveiled later this Spring.

“This campaign was designed to showcase how visual talent brings the beauty of uniting the city,” says Founder and Executive Director of Design Museum of Chicago, Tanner Woodford. “Now bringing art into the communities brings a new perspective of encouraging people to get vaccinated.”

“Two years into the pandemic, parks continue to play a vital role in the wellness of our city,” said Chicago Park District Interim General Superintendent & CEO Rosa Escareño. “From providing places for respite during the stay-at-home order to offering essential programming and hosting vaccination sites, the Park District has supported families and communities every step of the way. We are excited to welcome and showcase these incredible works of art, commissioned to commemorate this historic period and hope to encourage unvaccinated park visitors to get vaccinated and do their part to keep our neighborhoods and city safe.”

“Art is often an outlet for us to cope with tragedy and uncertainty. It is my hope that the VaxChiArt 2.0 exhibit will inspire the unvaccinated to get vaccinated,” said Kennedy-King College President, Dr. Gregory Thomas. “We are honored to be a part of this effort and serve as a place for the community to experience this world-class art exhibit to capture the pain and resilience of our community in our new Center of Equity for Creative Arts (CECA) at Kennedy-King College.”

Visit Chicago.gov/VaxChiArt, to see the artists and their work created for the campaign.

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