2012-13 Artists-in-Residence

Chicago musician and composer LeRoy Bach has hosted musical gatherings, fostered musical collaborations, and led bands in Chicago for over twenty-five years. Currently, he leads the monthly gathering, Low Tide Dance.  He is also currently a member of the Black Monks of Mississippi, and maintains a variety of collaborations, with musician Marvin Tate, guitarist Bill MacKay, musician Tim Kinsella, and writer Avery R. Young, among others. 

Bach is a former resident at the Headlands Center for the Arts. He has scored live musical accompaniment for film documents presented by the Chicago Film Archives. He maintains a busy performance schedule throughout Chicago, in both solo and group settings. Bach has also worked with Wilco, 5ive Style, and Beth Orton, among others.


Through photography, video, and text, Cecil McDonald, Jr. explores the intersections of masculinity, familial relations, and the artistic and intellectual pursuits of black culture. McDonald studied fashion, house music and dance club culture before receiving a MFA in Photography at Columbia College Chicago, where he currently serves as an adjunct professor and a teaching artist at the Center for Community Arts Partnership at Columbia College Chicago. His work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally, with works in the permanent collection of The Cleveland Museum of Art, Chicago Bank of America LaSalle Collection, and the Harris Bank Collection. He was awarded the Joyce Foundation Midwest Voices & Visions Award, the Artadia Award, The Swiss Benevolent Society, Lucerne, Switzerland, Residency and the 3Arts Teaching Artist Award.

McDonald Jr.’s recent projects include Looking for Baldwin: A Stranger in the Village, and I Can’t Turnaround: Where do we go from Here?—a teaching artist residency using photography and text to explore questions and affects of intensive, intervention initiatives in underachieving Chicago Public Schools commonly referred to as School Turnaround. 


Tomeka Reid is a Chicago-based cellist, composer, and educator. As an educator, Reid has led string improvisation workshops in Italy and the US, and for seven years co-directed the string program at UChicago’s Laboratory School for students grade 5-12. Most recently she co-directed the 2012 Vancouver Jazz Festival’s High School Jazz Intensive.

As a composer, Reid has been commissioned by the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians for the Chicago Jazz Festival and the Chicago Jazz Ensemble, and has had several opportunities to showcase her work abroad at festivals such as Umbria Jazz, An Insolent Noise, and Vignola Jazz. She has been nominated and awarded residencies for composition with the Ragdale Foundation and the 2nd Annual Make Jazz Fellowship hosted by the 18th Street Arts Organization. Reid was selected as a 2012 participant in the Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute held at the University of California Los Angeles. Reid is also an ABD doctoral candidate at the University of Illinois: Urbana-Champaign.


Cauleen Smith produces multi-channel film and video installations that incorporate sculptural objects and text, drawing from her roots in structuralist filmmaking to afro-futurist narrative strategies. For the past year and a half, Smith has held consecutive residencies in Chicago at ThreeWalls, the Black Metropolis Research Consortium, and the Experimental Sound Studio.

In 2012, Smith installed overlapping shows at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and ThreeWalls, and was named Outstanding Artist by the National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture. She currently teaches as a Visiting Artist at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago while exploring the intersection of art, protest, commerce, and community on Chicago's South Side.

Smith received her B.A. form the School of Creative Arts at San Francisco State University and her MFA from UCLA’s School of Theater-Television-Film. Smith’s experimental, installation and narrative work has shown at The Kitchen, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, as well as film festivals in Milan, London, Paris, and Berlin.


avery r. young’s work blends phonetics, linguistics, hymns, jazz, and hip-hop to explore the politics and attributes of the African-American experience. Young’s work, which he calls “sunday mornin jook joint,” merges spiritual and secular aesthetics with dramatic and comedic sensibilities. 

A Cave Canem Fellow, young has worked as a teaching artist, mentoring youth in creative writing and theatre. He has written curriculum for Columbia College Chicago, Young Leeds Authors, True Star magazine, and Chicago Public Schools’ Art Integration Department. Young’s essays on HIV awareness, misogyny and sexism in arts and media, educational reform, and workplace art integration have been published in AIMPrint, The Teaching Artist Journal and swaggerzine. Young’s written work also appears in such anthologies as Callallou, To Be Left With The Body, Warpland, Coon Bidness, Reverie Review, War Diaries, Make Magazine, The Spaces Between Us, and Fingernails Across The Chalkboard.

Young has performed in the Hip Hop Theatre Festival, Lollapalooza, and WordStock and is featured on the compilations New World Reveal-A-Solution, Audio Truism, Catfish Haven’s Devastator and New Skool Poetics. Young has appeared on BET, MTV, ABC, and WGN’s Morning News.




The Distance Between 
August 27 - September 29, 2013 

The Distance Between is a culminating exhibition showcasing the work of the five artists selected as the Arts + Public Life/Center for the Study of Race Politics & Culture 2012/2013 artists-in-residence. The program awards ten-month residencies to outstanding Chicago-based artists who have an expanded social practice that engages issues of race, politics and culture. Their physical studios are at the Arts Incubator in Washington Park at 301 E Garfield Boulevard, and they have access to University of Chicago resources, such as the production facilities of the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts at 915 East 60th Street.

Curated by Allison Glenn and Monika Szewczyk

Presented by Arts + Public Life, the Center for the Study of Race, Politics & Culture, and Logan Center Exhibitions.

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