Arts & Culture

After-school program teaches native children their heritage

By Jiayan Jenny Shi

Kelly Summers, 44, is a Chicago-born Native American who volunteers with Native Scholars, an after-school tutoring program at the American Indian Association of Illinois (AIAI). Every Tuesday afternoon, native children across Chicago meet at a church basement in Andersonville where they get homework assistance and cultural instruction.

Summers learned cultural traditions at a Menominee Indian reservation and from her late father. Now she tutors native children as a way to give back to the community and continue her father’s dream and mission.

Photo at top: Kelly Summers assists native children in their homework at the after-school program on May 16. (Jiayan Jenny Shi/MEDILL)

Mole brings Pilsen community together

By Alissa Anderegg

At the annual Mole de Mayo Festival, thousands of hungry Chicagoans come to explore the authentic Mexican flavors of the Pilsen neighborhood. This year’s festival marks the eighth anniversary of the event, where locals and visitors come to taste some of the best mole dishes in Chicago. Each year Mole de Mayo features a mole contest, where restaurants compete with their versions of the Mexican staple. The festival is organized by the Eighteenth Street Development Corporation, a non-profit organization that has been serving the Pilsen neighborhood for more than three decades.

Mole tacos are served at the eighth annual Mole de Mayo Festival. (Alissa Anderegg/MEDILL)

Local musician teaches toddlers about healthy eating

By Alissa Anderegg

As a professional singer and voiceover actress, Jamie Martin has performed at venues across the country. After giving birth to her first child, she transformed this love of singing into a children’s musical act to be able to spend more time with her young kids. Now known as Miss Jamie on the Farm, Martin performs throughout Chicago, using her songs to teach children the values of friendship, compassion and living a healthy lifestyle. Through her performances, she hopes to inspire not only her young fans, but their parents as well and encourage them to continue living their dreams.

Photo at top: Jamie Martin performs her musical act, Miss Jamie on the Farm, at the Roscoe Village Mariano’s.(Alissa Anderegg/MEDILL)

‘Live Music Now’ brings music education to Chicago Public Schools

By Alissa Anderegg

The International Music Foundation is a Chicago-based organization dedicated to providing high-quality musical performances and music education throughout the city. As part of its outreach, the foundation has provided free, music programs to Chicago Public School students for 35 years. Through in-school visits and field trip opportunities, including its performances at Preston Bradley Hall called Live Music Now, the foundation gives arts enrichment to local youth. The 45-minute presentations and demonstrations are free events, where students and visitors can come to enjoy live music that they may not be exposed to otherwise.

Photo at top: The Link Quartet of Roosevelt University’s Music Conservatory program perform for Chicago Public School students. (Alissa Anderegg/MEDILL)

Buckingham Fountain: Own a Piece of History

By Mike Davis

Buckingham Fountain is turned on for the season and Chicagoans are celebrating the monument’s 90th anniversary. But that’s not the only excitement surrounding the fountain.

Stuart Grannen, an antiques dealer and owner of Architectural Artifacts Inc. in Ravenswood, is selling the thousand-pound piece of Georgia Green Marble for $22,000.

Grannen said he acquired the historic piece years ago from a descendant of Edward H. Bennett, the architect of Buckingham Fountain. He originally wanted the piece for a museum he was building but the venture fell through.

Now, he’d like to see the piece of history find a good home, preferably in Chicago.

Photo at top: The historic piece of Buckingham Fountain, newly for sale. (Mike Davis/MEDILL)

Chicago River enthusiasts take a group photo to focus on conservation

By Allie Burger

April is Overflow Action Month on the Chicago River. Because of how the city’s sewer system was designed, sewage can enter the river during heavy rains when the drains overflow.

To promote awareness of the issue, and to encourage water conservation, Friends of the Chicago River invited residents to “photobomb” the river.

Photo at top: The event included almost 200 participants downtown. (Friends of the Chicago River)

“Odysseo” combines equestrian and acrobatic skills in Chicago run

By Peter Jones

Sam Alvarez is one of 48 human cast members in the world’s largest touring production. A trained aerialist and coach, Alvarez works alongside 65 horses in “Odysseo,” which has been produced by the Montreal-based company Cavalia since 2011.

More than two million people in Canada, the United States and Mexico have seen the show so far, according to Cavalia. “Odysseo” began its run in Chicago April 1 and will run through May 21.

Photo at top: Sam Alvarez, an aerialist and coach for “Odysseo,” shows off his acrobatic skills. (Peter Jones/MEDILL)

Uptown summit brings together stakeholders in changing neighborhood

By Grace Austin

Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood faces challenges ranging from gang violence and homelessness to gentrification.

At the historic North Side neighborhood’s annual summit, State of Uptown, business owners, residents and local aldermen discussed how to maintain Uptown’s diversity and charm amid rapid development.

Photo at top: A mural by the “L” tracks shows the diversity of people and culture in Uptown. (Grace Austin/MEDILL)

Chi-Town Browns Backers keep fingers crossed for Cleveland

By Grace Austin

Cleveland Browns fans often speak of the “Factory of Sadness,” a nickname for FirstEnergy Stadium, where the often-losing NFL team plays. Since the team’s return to Cleveland in 1999, the Browns have made the playoffs only once, in 2002. Last season, they won only one game.

But in the heart of Wrigleyville, Chicago’s Chi-Town Dawg Pound brings together diehard fans that still root for the hometown team from “The Land.” The Chi-Town Dawg Pound was voted the No.1 Browns Backers Worldwide fan club in 2016, mostly due to a mix of attendance, enthusiasm and philanthropic efforts. And with a No. 1 pick in the draft this year, hope for this year’s team is brewing.

Photo at top: The Cleveland Browns chose defensive end Myles Garrett as its No.1 pick, breaking a long tradition of first-round quarterback picks. (Grace Austin/MEDILL)

AfriCaribe brings Chicagoans together with Puerto Rican music and dance

By Alissa Anderegg

On the last Saturday of each month, up to 200 Chicagoans gather in West Town to celebrate their community through song and dance. These musical gatherings called “bombazos” are held at the non-profit AfriCaribe. They give locals of all ages the opportunity to come together to take part in the traditional Puerto Rican music of bomba. Each bombazo is a “free for all” where participants can improvise together through singing, dancing and drumming. AfriCaribe founder Eravisto “Tito” Rodriguez says he hopes this will encourage both attendees and performers to learn more about the rich cultural background of bomba music.

Photo at top: Twelve-year-old bomba student Yanese Rolzan dances in AfriCaribe’s monthly bombazo gathering. (Alissa Anderegg/MEDILL)