World Music Festival Brings Global Sounds to South Side

Internationally acclaimed artists Aziz Sahmaoui & University of Gnawa, along with Fareed Ayaz, Abu Muhammad, Qawwal & Brothers hit the stage at yet Comm Cafe Azizanother exciting CommUNITY Café: World Music Festival. Each group enlivened the audience with vibrant, interactive performances. Attendees were also welcome to meet and greet with each artist after they left the stage. The event, held at the beautiful new Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts kicked off with a special reception featuring DJ Bornswift and live painting by artist David Anthony Geary. Guests of all ages struck their best poses at the photo booth.

The following day, at the Fresh Beats & Eats Farmers’ Market, Aziz Sahmaoui & University of Gnawa led a jam session and drum circle, encouraging market-goers to participate.

The performances were part of the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art Residency Program, which partners with DCASE, the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, Old Town School of Folk Music and our FBE Jam Sessioncommunity partner The Pakistan Club @ the University of Chicago. Many thanks to all those in attendance, especially the amazing volunteers who helped make CommUNITY Café a success. A special shout out to the bright, young leaders from BuildOn who played a vital role in all aspects of the event!

The next CommUNITY Café will be held on October 24, 2015 at the Harold Washington Cultural Center in Bronzeville. Doors open at 6pm, Show begins at 7pm. Stay tuned for more!

IMAN Artist Leaders Go To APAP Showcase

With the support of the Chicago Community Trust, on January 10, 2015 Inner-City Muslim Action Network’s Arts & Culture Department hosted the first official Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) showcase featuring a collective of Chicago-based indie artists, Muslim and Non-Muslim alike.

As our final initiative for the 2014 Artist Leadership Program, we were charged with providing a platform for a diverse group of Chicago-based, Muslim and non-Muslim, artists to share their talent, build connections and enhance their practice. Over its longer than 27-year history, APAP had never had an independent artists showcase as part of their official showcase schedule, nor had it featured this many contemporary Muslim artists.

We thank APAP and all the attendees, crew members, volunteers, production manager Kate Pritchard, IMAN’s youth leaders, Rhymefest, Donnie Smith of Donda’s House Inc., visual artist Sam Kirk (for sharing his vision with us), the Hilton staff, and all those who helped make this historic event happen. Stay tuned for more information and announcements regarding the 2015 Artist Leadership Program!

Amir Sulaiman & The True + Living to Perform at Annual Dinner

Poet, artist and longtime IMAN Artist Leader Amir Sulaiman is returning to Chicago for a debut performance of his latest work, “Heavy Halo,” at IMAN’s 2014 Annual Dinner on Saturday, December 6  at the South Shore Cultural Center.  He will be performing with The True + Living.  “Amir Sulaiman is one of the most accomplished poets and artists performing right now, and it has been rewarding to see him perfect his craft over the years,” said Rami Nashashibi, IMAN’s Executive Director. “We are honored that Amir is joining us at the Annual Dinner this year for an exclusive performance of his latest artistic creation,” added Nashasibi.

Sulaiman is one of the most powerful and relevant voices among Muslim American artists.  You don’t want to miss this debut performance, specially curated and crafted for the larger IMAN family. This will also mark Sulaiman’s return to the Annual Dinner where he delivered a stirring guest performance last year.

Our Neighborhood, Our Vision: Reimagining Chicago Lawn

On Monday, May 12, IMAN will be one of the hundreds of sites across the Chicagoland area hosting a community discussion as part of the Chicago Community Trust’s (CCT) On The Table campaign.  These conversations are being held on the 99th Anniversary of this important community foundation. IMAN has a long history as a grant recipient and partner with the CCT, and our Executive Director, Rami Nashashibi, sits on the steering committee of this important city-wide event.

OnTheTable-1IMAN’s On The Table Discussion will be led by our Directors of Youth and Organizing, and Arts and Culture and will focus on how the legacy of Martin Luther King and the movement for access to dignified housing and quality of life is still relevant to youth and families in and around Marquette Park.

The discussion is part of the MLK Memorial Project: An effort that IMAN is leading with the Chicago Public Art Group and other local leaders and institutions.  “The MLK Memorial Project will help make the Marquette Park area a Chicago cultural destination that will bring to light a difficult but inspiring part of the King legacy in our city that is often overlooked,” says Rami Nashashibi, IMAN’s Executive Director. .

By connecting community organizations, public schools, religious institutions and neighborhood families with artists, local historians and participants of the 1966 walk, IMAN intends to build a dynamic and expansive team of people who have been laying the foundation for this memorial for several years. “We know how art and the artistic process can bring enthusiasm, vitality and community spirit back to a neighborhood,” says Chicago Public Art Group director Jon Pounds.

“The Marquette Park neighborhood is one of the most unique and diverse working class communities in Chicago, yet little is heard about this community outside of violence and poverty statistics,” Nashashibi reminds us.  There is yet no permanent structure in place to acknowledge 1966’s national march against some of the most vicious and hateful segregationist policies of that time, or the local struggle since then to realize a dignified quality of life for all community residents.

The initiative will also launch a local artisan workshop for artists and leaders to hone their creativity and craft, and sell their artwork. Housed in IMAN’s new Youth and Arts Wellness Center, the workshop will act as a hub for artists and provide a vital space for community building, social entrepreneurship, leadership development and nurturing creativity.  “This is an idea whose time has come and I can’t wait till we unveil it to the world, on the 50th Anniversary of King’s 1966 march in Marquette Park,” said State Senator Jacqueline Collins who helped lead the fight for resources to launch this project.