“2018 Black Creativity Programs at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry” by S.M. O’Connor

The programming for 2018 Black Creativity festival will start at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry (M.S.I.) with Black Creativity Family Day on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (Monday, January 15, 2018).  This will be a free day for Illinois residents.  The Black Creativity Juried Art Exhibition and the Innovation Studio will both be open to the public.  This will be the forty-eighth annual arts-and-science festival for Black Creativity, which began with a juried art exhibition in 1970.  The Mission Statement of Black Creativity is “To inspire African-American children to pursue educational opportunities and careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and medicine, through programs and events that encourage children and their parents to utilize the Museum of Science and Industry as a resource for exploring and discovering their inventive and creative genius.”

      Black Esthetics, a Black African-American arts festival that later evolved into M.S.I.’s annual Black Creativity exhibition, opened on Sunday, February 1, 1970.  It is the longest-running gallery of African-American art.  Earl Calloway (1926-2014), an opera singer and fine arts critic for the Chicago Defender, organized Black Esthetics with the backing of Daniel Miller McMaster (1913-2005) was fifth President (1968-1978) and fifth Director (1951-1971) of the M.S.I.[1]  [Note that in his Chicago Tribune obituary for Mr. Calloway, Bob Goldsborough referred to its original named as the “Black Esthetic Festival.”  Getty Images referred to the “Black Aethetics Festival” in a picture dated February 1, 1974 that featured McMaster and Chicago Daily Defender publisher John H. Sengstacke (1912-1997).] Calloway recruited gospel singer Mahalia Jackson to perform that first year.[2]  One artist whose initial submission was rejected, known as Mr. Imagination, was more successful later with a later submission of original jewelry design that launched his career.[3]  McMaster’s handpicked successor, Victor J. Danilov, the sixth President (1978-1987) and sixth Director (1972-1987) of the M.S.I., determined to broaden the scope of the affair beyond the display of art, and in 1986 added a seminar where high school students would hear about careers in science and engineering.[4]  One of the speakers was Joe Morgan, one of Commonwealth Edison’s senior nuclear power plant operators, who told students that he had gotten to his position in society through “motivation and determination.”[5]  The first Black Creativity Gala featured a performance by members of the Duke Ellington Orchestra.[6]  The exhibit Black Achievers in Science developed for the first year Black Creativity replaced Black Esthetics, traveled to eleven more museums under the banner of the Association of Science-Technology Centers.[7]

Anchored by the Museum of Science and Industry’s Welcome to Science Initiative educational programs, M.S.I. executives have articulated four main goals for Black Creativity.  Firstly, to provide exposure for African-American youths to careers, educational pathways, and other opportunities in S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering, and medicine) fields.  Secondly, to highlight and recognize contributions and activities by African-American youths in S.T.E.M.  Thirdly, to increase access to the Museum of Science and Industry and its resources by African-American students and their families.  Fourthly, to showcase African-Americans and their contributions, past and present, to the S.T.E.M. fields.

An M.S.I. spokeswoman wrote, “The 2018 Black Creativity program, an annual tradition at MSI, kicks off on January 15. This month-long celebration honors the rich contributions and achievements made by African Americans while working to inspire children to develop their creativity in science, technology, engineering and math to become the innovators of tomorrow.   During Black Creativity, which coincides with Black History Month, guests will have the opportunity to take part in several experiences at MSI through February 21, including Family Day, the Juried Art Exhibition, Innovation Studio, Career Showcase, and much more. Black Creativity focuses on innovation, inspiring children to develop their creativity and become the inventors of tomorrow.”

The Juried Art Exhibition will consist of 100 paintings, sculptures, and mixed-media artworks from African-American artists across the U.S.A., chosen by a panel of five jurors.  It will run from Monday, January 15, 2018 to Wednesday, February 21, 2018.

For the seventh year in a row, a youth category will allow for the display of artworks produced by high school students.  The Juried Art Exhibition is covered by Museum Entry (general admission) tickets.

The panel selects first, second, and third-place overall show winners, as well as a winner in each art medium category, and overall in the youth category.  The winners will receive recognition at a Juried Art Reception on Thursday, February 15, 2018, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

csm_BC2017_FamilyDay_0202_b3b0a7076c

Figure 1 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: Mr. Spector took this picture of the Black Creativity Juried Art Exhibition in 2017.

2017 Black Creativity Juried Art Exhibit @ the Museum of Science and Industry, ChicagoFigure 2 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: Mr. Spector took this picture of the Black Creativity Juried Art Exhibition on Thursday, January 12, 2017.

Black Creativity 2018 Juried Art Exhibit

Figure 3 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: The Black Creativity Juried Art Exhibition features over 100 dynamic artworks from African-American artists from around the U.S.A.  Mr. Spector took this picture on Friday, January 12, 2018.

Black Creativity 2018 Juried Art Exhibit

Figure 4 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: The Black Creativity Juried Art Exhibition features over 100 dynamic artworks from African-American artists from around the U.S.A., including both professional artists and student-artists.  Mr. Spector took this picture on Friday, January 12, 2018.

2017 Black Creativity Juried Art Exhibit @ the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago

Figure 5 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: The Black Creativity Juried Art Exhibition features over 100 dynamic artworks from African-American artists from around the U.S.A.  Mr. Spector took this picture on Saturday, January 13, 2018.

The Black Creativity Innovation Studio will be open from Monday, January 15, 2018 to Wednesday, February 21, 2018.  With guidance from M.S.I. Facilitators, guests can invent things themselves.  “Powered by guests’ own curiosity, and inspired by our gallery of innovators, guests will have access to a variety of materials and tools to create prototypes that solves issues that impact their lives, communities and more,” a spokeswoman explained.  Facilitated session times will be offered at various times throughout the day.  Schools and community groups may call M.S.I.’s Group Center at (773) 684-1414 to reserve workshop time.  The Innovation Studio is covered by Museum Entry.

csm_BC2017_FamilyDay_0658_40cb7721a8

Figure 6 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: Black Creativity opened on Monday, January 15, 2018 with Family Day and will run through Wednesday, February 21, 2018.  This is the Innovation Studio. Mr. Spector took this picture in 2017.

PhotographerFigure 7 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: The Black Creativity Innovation Studio is a dynamic place where youths experiment and explore new ideas. Mr. Spector took this picture on Tuesday, January 31, 2017.

PhotographerFigure 8 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: The Black Creativity Innovation Studio provides a creative space for youths to consider future possibilities and opportunities in S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields. Mr. Spector took this picture on Tuesday, January 31, 2017.

PhotographerFigure 9 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: The Black Creativity Innovation Studio provides a creative space for youths to consider future possibilities and opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and medicine.  Mr. Spector took this picture on Tuesday, January 31, 2017.

The Black Creativity Career Showcase will be on Saturday, February 24, 2018 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  The Career Showcase will provide guests the chance to explore innovative careers by speaking directly to the innovators themselves.  Artists, scientists, and engineers will be stationed throughout the Museum of Science and Industry – not just the West Pavilion – for hands-on activities and one-on-one discussions.

csm_ScienceWorks_0221__1__cf860574e3Figure 10 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: The Black Creativity Career Showcase will be on Saturday, February 24, 2018 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Weekdays in February and March, school groups can reserve thirty-minute-long sessions with a scientist or engineer in the Jr. Science Cafes during Black Creativity.  Each such session will be an exciting opportunity for students to interact with professionals and learn about cutting-edge research from experts in the field.  To book a school group session, call the Group Center at (773) 684-1414 or use the Field Trip Reservation Form.  Up to thirty-five students can be accommodated for one session.  These are Jr. Science Café sessions are aimed at children and teenagers from 5th Grade through 12th Grade.  During Black Creativity, school groups can reserve Jr. Science Café or Jr. Art Café time specifically with an African-American scientist, engineer, or artist on certain dates between Tuesday, January 30, 2018 and Wednesday, February 28, 2018.  Click here for more details.

The 35th Annual Black Creativity Gala will be on January 27, 2018.  It will run from 6:30 p.m. to Midnight.  The Black Creativity Gala, which will be held at the Museum of Science and Industry, raises money to financially support all of the Black Creativity programming.  Additional opportunities to learn from S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) professionals will be offered throughout the year under the umbrella of Black Creativity.  Valet parking will be available.  Doors will open at the West Pavilion at 6:30 p.m.  Over 700 guests are expected to enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at 6:30 p.m. while viewing the Juried Art Exhibition.  The Welcome Remarks should be delivered at 7:30 p.m.  Dinner stations should be ready at 8:00 p.m.  The Englewood Children’s Choir and D.J. Nick “Nonstop” Nicholson will provide musical entertainment.  Creative Cocktails will be on the Lower Level (ground floor).  Tickets are $350 per person.  To purchase tickets or become a sponsor, click here.  To learn about becoming a sponsor, click here.

For a full list of events, visit the M.S.I. Website at www.msichicago.org/blackcreativity.  Allstate presents 2018 Black Creativity.  The 2018 Black Creativity partners are Powers & Sons Construction Company; ComEd; Dover, Inc.; ITW; Nicor Gas; Northern Trust; and Peoples Gas.  United Airlines is the official airline of Black Creativity.

 

 

 

PhotographerFigure 2 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: The south façade of the Museum of Science and Industry faces the Columbia Basin in Jackson Park.  Most Back Creativity programs and events take place in the West Pavilion, which is visible from Cornell Drive, and is left of the Central Pavilion in this picture.

 

The Museum of Science and Industry stands at the north end of Jackson Park, along 57th Street, between Lake Shore Drive to the East and Cornell Drive to the West.  The M.S.I. is open every day except Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.  Most days, it is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., but during peak periods it has extended hours (until 5:30 p.m.).  The address is 5700 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60637.  The Website is https://www.msichicago.org and the phone number is (773) 684-1414.

[1] Jay Pridmore, Inventive Genius: The History of the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago. Chicago: Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (1996), p. 148

[2] Pridmore, p. 148

[3] Pridmore, p. 149

[4] Pridmore, p. 149

Victor J. Danilov is not to be confused with Fr. Viktor Danilov (1927-2016), a Byzantine Rite Catholic archpriest in Belarus.

[5] Pridmore, p. 149

[6] Pridmore, p. 149

[7] Pridmore, p. 149

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