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Work-Shift/ Chicago:
In a continuing exploration of the changing face of labor in the post-industrial Midwest, we have begun development of another installment of the continuing series, Work-Shift, sited in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago.

Our project study area will encompass a number of closed-down factory sites--General Electric, Helene Curtis, Western Electric, Schwinn, Leaf Brand Candy--with particular emphasis on Brach's Candy, the only large employer left in the Austin area. The corporate ownership of Brach's has threatened to move the operation, first to Canada then to Argentina, putting 1,500 people, primarily African-, Hispanic- and Polish-Americans out of work.

We will conduct an historic/ social/ cultural archaeology of the sites and identify systems, infrastructures and spaces that might lend themselves to appropriation and infiltration with community content. Once we have studied local labor histories and dynamics and have conducted community outreach with workers and community leaders, we will propose and develop a public site activation that will possibly involve the deployment of text/ video projections, audio, and live performance at the selected site(s).

It is our objective to draw public attention to local industrial/ labor histories and the related social dynamics of work, to aid public experience, interpretation and understanding of the selected industrial site(s). By exploring the impacts of various regulating systems--government, unions, global economics--we intend to clarify the vulnerabilities of industry and labor-past, present and future.

Community Partners:
South Austin Coalition Community Council
Teamsters Union Local 738
The Center for Labor and Community Research/ Chicago
Robert Emmett Academy/ Public School

This third manifestation of Work-Shift, already under development in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago, will begin with community research and proceed with community input every step of the way.

Work-Shift/ Cedar Rapids:
To follow up our successful sitework, which ran for seven sold-out performances at the abandoned Sinclair-Wilson-Farmstead meatpacking plant, we are in the preliminary stages of exploring a more permanent sitework in the old industrial neighborhood of Oak Hill in Cedar Rapids.

Our project study area encompasses the entire Oak Hill district, a former industrial stronghold alongside the Cedar River. We are tracking the urban planning process now underway in that district, undertaken by the City of Cedar Rapids Department of Development and its consultant, the Smith Group/ JJR from Madison. We are particularly interested in examining the possibilities for public art component(s) that could be deployed within the Third Street corridor--infiltrating new infrastructure installed during a proposed streetscape upgrade--or retrofitted onto a highly visible district landmark like the Sinclair-Wilson-Farmstead water tower or smokestack.

Our objective is to develop a public art and design program comprised of permanent environmental elements which articulate the important labor and industrial histories of the district.

Community Partners:
Legion Arts Alternative Arts Center/ Cedar Rapids
Iowa Labor Center/ The University of Iowa
The Cedar Rapids History Center
Metro High School/ Cedar Rapids

This fourth manifestation of Work-Shift, already under development in the Oak Hill neighborhood of Cedar Rapids, will begin with community research and proceed with community input every step of the way.

Memory Project/ Chicago: We have begun the preliminary stages of developing a new series of public siteworks, focusing upon an overlooked community impacted by dementia--primarily Alzheimer’s Disease. This community of lay caregivers--usually the daughters, nieces or granddaughters of the patient--is severely impacted by the onslaught of symptoms in their relatives.

Our project study area will encompass the service area of The Memory Center at The University of Chicago, including the South Side neighborhoods surrounding Hyde Park. These caregivers are often financially pressed and have other stressful circumstances in their immediate family, including drug addictions.

While gathering the collective experiences and narratives of these caregivers, we are also interested in exploring wider parallels within these inner city communities. It will be interesting to consider how the physical and mental breakdowns of an aging individual, with the loss of personal memory, might find metaphoric resonance in the breakdowns of the urban landscape and the subsequent loss of collective histories.

Community Partners:
The Memory Center/ The University of Chicago
Windemere Senior Health Center
South Shore Senior Center

This new series, in the most preliminary stages of development, will begin with community research and proceed with community input every step of the way.

Support Services:
Public Art Planning and Programming
Arts Outreach Education Programs
Community History Research
Environmental Art and Design Concepts
Art and Design Development
Construction Documents and Specifications
Construction Supervision
Evaluation and Program Continuation

Public Art and Design Programs:
Architectural Inscription Programs
Public Art Installations
Multidisciplinary Performances
Community Publications and Graphics
Urban Graphic Design Programs