The last episode in our Art Meets Science series focuses on projects that use data and research to shed light on historic inequities for Black homeowners and public housing residents.
Our first guest, Tonika Lewis Johnson, is a photographer, social justice artist and life-long resident of Chicago’s South Side neighborhood of Englewood. She is also co-founder of the Englewood Arts Collective and Resident Association of Greater Englewood, which seek to reframe the narrative of South Side communities, and mobilize people and resources for positive change. Tonika’s art often explores urban segregation, documenting the nuance and richness of the Black community to counter media depictions of Chicago’s violence. In 2017, she was recognized by Chicago Magazine as a Chicagoan of the Year for her photography of Englewood’s everyday beauty. Her Englewood-based photography projects “From the INside,” and “Everyday Rituals,” were exhibited at Rootwork Gallery in Pilsen, the Chicago Cultural Center, the Harold Washington Library Center and at Loyola University’s Museum of Art (LUMA). LUMA also exhibited her Folded Map project in 2018, which visually investigates disparities among “map twins”—Chicago residents who live on opposite ends of the same streets across the city’s racial and economic divides—and brings them together to have a conversation. An excerpt of the project was also displayed at the Museum of Contemporary Art within The Long Dream exhibition. In 2019, she was named one of Field Foundation’s Leaders for a New Chicago. Most recently, Tonika was selected as the National Public Housing Museum’s 2021 Artist as Instigator. Her newest project, Inequity for Sale, highlights the living history of Greater Englewood homes sold on Land Sale Contracts in the 50s and 60s.
Tiff Beatty is a cultural organizer, arts administrator, performance poet, and host. She is the current program director of arts, culture, and public policy at National Public Housing Museum in Chicago. Tiff Beatty was a 2019-2021 Chicago United for Equity Fellow and Senior Fellow and received the additional distinction of the 2019 Field Leader Award from the Field Foundation of Illinois. Her work has been covered by The New York Times, Crain’s Chicago Business, Ebony Magazine, Chicago Tribune and several other local and national media.
Learn more about our featured music artist, PHENOM, at phenomuniversal.com. This episode includes an abridged version of his song, PHEGODOH.
The Pivot Arts Podcast is created and produced by Julieanne Ehre with sound engineering by Hannah Foerschler and original music composed by Andrew Hansen. Generous support for the podcast is provided by FLATS, a Chicago-based apartment community.