50 years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. organized Chicagoans to respond to what he called “the fierce urgency of now”.
Join IMAN at the Harold Washington Cultural Center for CommUNITY Café: The Fiercest Urgency, an artistic journey through the fierce spiritual and social urgencies of our day, with dynamic performances from Brother Ali, Mick Jenkins, Rhymefest and more!
6:00 PM | Social (with sounds by DJ Maryam)
7:00 PM | Show
Rhythmic poetry and inspired lyrics emanated from IMAN’s Youth & Arts Wellness Center as the return year of Fresh Expressions, a grassroots, creative safe space, came to a close. After dining on healthy snacks and veggie pizza, talented young artists from every side of Chicago meshed social awareness with oratory flair during the open mic session. Performers hailed from Gage Park High School, the Kuumba Lynx collective, and even IMAN’s core group of leaders.
IMAN Arts Council member Amirah Sackett then took the stage with her unique blend of artistic education and expression. Sackett shared her story of self-discovery, a journey through which she has found ways to embrace both her love of Islam and hip-hop. After a “locking” dance demonstration, she spoke about her group “We’re Muslim, Don’t Panic” and fielded questions from the audience.
Community engagement and active dialogue is a crucial component of Fresh Expressions, and this month’s theme was “In Your Feelings”. Guests broke off into groups to discuss Emotional Intelligence in the context of real-life situations. Multigenerational, multiethnic connections are a hallmark of the Fresh Expressions experience, and the passion and wisdom contributed by those in attendance served as powerful reminders of the necessity of this space.
As the year draws to a close, we look forward to the continued growth and solidification of the Fresh Expressions model. Few other places in the city of Chicago offer such a vibrant, youth-led environment for community members of all ages to express themselves and learn from one another. Thank you to all the leaders and volunteers who helped to make this year a success.
Internationally acclaimed artists Aziz Sahmaoui & University of Gnawa, along with Fareed Ayaz, Abu Muhammad, Qawwal & Brothers hit the stage at yet another 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 community 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!
The buzz has intensified surrounding two of IMAN’s most ambitious initiatives to date as we began the one-year countdown until the kickoff of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and Takin’ It to the Streets 2016.
Earlier this month, a diverse group from across Chicago convened at Marquette Park for a discussion and reflection on the memorial. The Chicago Public Art Group shared its preliminary designs with local activists, some of whom actually participated in Dr. King’s 1966 Fair Housing March, and with faith leaders from Trinity United Church, Beth Emet Synagogue, and the Ephraim Bahar Center who offered spiritual insights. Afterwards, the guest visited the proposed location inside the park for the MLK Memorial, closing with a prayer by Father Pfleger of St. Sabina Church. Construction on the memorial will soon begin inside the newly renovated workshop at IMAN’s Youth & Arts Wellness Center, and its unveiling is scheduled for August 5th, 2016.
Takin’ It to the Streets, the nation’s most unique Muslim-led urban international festival, will keep the festivities at Marquette Park going on Saturday, August 6, 2016. Marking 50 years since Dr. King’s historic march through that same space, #Streets2016 is shaping up to be the most exciting show yet. Check out the first official promo video below, and stay tuned for big-time updates coming soon!