"Art is Business", posted for Paula Robinson- Examing the State of Our Environment


Features the B&W images of a family of professional photographers. 

While they captured the moments of life and events for family, friends, and clients these candid shots mark the passages on the other side of the lens documenting the life of family, fatherhood and the fate of our communities.  

The story illustrated through one family, emulates the sentiments of us all.  

The team sought to use the full depth of the gallery space 
to communicate the passage of time and the inevitable passing of the family patriarch. 

The perpetual loss throughout our community. 

The Wakunda proverb suggest: A man who has not prepared his children for his own death has failed his family.

The theme of Social Justice and the question, Where are we now?
are answered internally through one family's travails and externally through bold full-color graphic design posters that billboard the exterior boarded windows of the space and illustrate the modern icons of our century.

The future is in living color and the photographer's son is an Illustrator.

Paula Robinson

Paula Robinson holds a B.S. in Communication Arts from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.   She is a thirty-year entrepreneur and marketing communications veteran, was a vice president at several major communications firms including Burson Marsteller, Edelman, and Burrell before operating her own firm BR&R Communications Inc. and has been recognized with numerous industry awards. She has provided civic leadership as President of the Bronzeville Community Development Partnership (BCDP), a private non-profit community economic development organization revitalizing Chicago's historic African American community as an international tourism destination for more than two decades. 

Robinson is a long time advocate for local artists commissions, Public Art projects, cultural heritage placemaking strategies, and Artist Housing.  Her projects include  Bronzeville Art & Architecture Historic House Tours (Mid-South Planning & Development Commission); King Drive Walk of Fame (Chicago Public Art Commission); Bronzeville Portal (MPEA);  Great Migration Wall Sculpture/McCormick Motor Lobby (MPEA); Gerri’s Palm Tavern Signage Restoration (Chicago History Museum); Major Taylor Trail 111th Street Mural (CDOT/34th Ward);  2016 Great Migration Commemorative/35th Bridge (CDOT/4th Ward);  Sounding Bronzeville, Outdoor Gathering Space (CPD, Field Museum); Innovation Metropolis Classroom 110, Overton School (Creative Grounds).  

She is a fellow of Leadership Greater Chicago, serves on the national board of advisors for the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Calumet Collaborative Steering Committee transforming the southeast Chicago lakefront and northern Indiana region. 

Toussaint Werner Bio

Toussaint Werner is an innovative and creative entrepreneur who brings more than twenty years of graphic artistry and design to corporate and community projects.  From assistant art director to an owner of a media group, his fresh, creative approach has established Toussaint as one of the most sought-after graphic designers for national brands such as Sprite and Sony Music Group; as well as community organizations (YMCA- Metropolitan Chicago) and municipalities including the City of Chicago and Atlanta City. His mastery of cutting-edge design tools such as Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, CS3 Suite, has resulted in moving, streamlined and vibrant marketing collateral for each of his clients owner of Calumet Curative’s, a social marketing solutions firm, Toussaint has trained children to create marketing campaigns that address social ills by using traditional and new media technologies.

Toussaint Werner is committed to creating safe and secure environments that nurture individual and community growth. Over the years Mr. Werner has developed expertise through rich experience that include work with some of the country’s leading African American owned production, event, and media entities. His love for community and politics have led him to leadership roles in numerous civic engagement projects, Including NOC (national organizing committee of the Nation of Islam). Chicago Chair of national cares mentoring movement in partnership with Essence Magazine and Susan Taylor. Werner also Servers as the Vice President of Breaking Bread (a community reinvest group in the Chicagoland area)

Mr. Werner also serves as a regular guest as political analysis and community commentary on a host of local and national media outlets.

Ayekoto Thutmose (Michael Thomas)

Ayekoto Thutmose (Michael Thomas) is a multimedia arts curator, native and resident of the historic neighborhood of Bronzeville, Chicago, Illinois, where his eclectic work pays homage to the Black Arts Movement of generations before. 

Owner and curator of Insit Studio (2014-16), Koto worked with community artists to present the No Color (2014), Kings & Killers (2014), and The Original Man (2015) exhibits. The gallery honorably displayed the works of such renowned artists as Fanta Celah and David Anthony Geary. 

At the creatives arts bar, Some Like It Black (2016-17), Koto curated a circuit of seasonal art exhibitions while producing several extended live music performance series, such as the still running and heralded, Young Lion Jazz Session (2016-  ), featuring Chicago’s most celebrated rising jazz phenoms. 

Koto’s current work centers around the development, production, and hosting of cutting-edge documentaries, impactful interviews, and artistic news programs. 

Larissa Johnson

Larissa Johnson is an interdisciplinary artist, social and cultural curator, arts advocate, youth tutor and mentor, and her greatest accomplishment; mother. She is interested in furthering the access of arts, technology, music and dance to young Black Bodies.  Known as a club kid of the 80's, for over 25 years Larissa Johnson has dedicated her life to the arts; ranging from dance, visual arts, fashion, music, and cultural preservation. 

In 2003, she founded  Rhythm’s  Production, a consulting, social marketing and arts advocacy firm that serves as a resource for Chicago DJs and artists and The Social Move in 2011.  

She is was the past coordinator of the 2016 Great Migration Centennial Committee and is working with other organizations such as Blacks in Green and Bronzeville Community Development Partnership, Social Curator for Sounding Bronzeville; a gathering space along Chicago's Lake Shore Drive; Burnham Wildlife Corridor, an affiliate of Deep House Page Chicago, and is part of the pop-up dance and music Excursions family. Larissa is the Creative and Promotions Director for Universal Dance Music, as well as other collaborative projects with Chicago artists, historians, and creatives. Larissa Johnson has been actively involved with the Honey Pot Performance an Afro-Diasporic, woman-focused creative collaborative community for several years in varied capacities, ranging from volunteer, make-up artist, stylist and now serving as auxiliary board member, as well as the Chicago Social Black Culture Map. 

Who gets to tell the Black American Story? We are the cultural stakeholders of our existence and it is extremely important that we record and tell our very unique stories. It validates and affirms our existence.

Rhonda Ingersol Hardy

Rhonda Ingersol Hardy

Rhonda Ingersol Hardy is an artist, entrepreneur, educator and community organizer. Rhonda is president of Designs by Urban Comforts. Her company’s, mission is to promote beautiful urban environments and increased cultural self-awareness for their clients. The company accomplishes this through the sale of handcrafted products that Rhonda designs and produces, and by providing home décor services through its Urban Interiors Designs program. Her work has been exhibited at the South Side Community Art Center and Gallery Guichard, and at the Beverly Arts Alliance.

Rhonda’s professional career also includes leading community development initiatives as an educator at the University of Illinois Extension where she worked extensively in Chicago communities such as Bronzeville, Englewood, and Chatham. After retiring from this position, she lived in Colombia South America for 3 years where she volunteered in at-risk communities. 

She currently serves on the Bronzeville Community Development Partnership Steering Committee, is a member of the Beverly Arts Alliance, serves on the Be the Miracle Youth Foundation Board and donates proceeds from her company’s sales to community development initiatives. She holds BS and MS degrees from the School of Environmental Design from Southern Illinois University has a certificate in interior design from the Professional Development Career Institute and is certified in environmental leadership management from the University of California Berkeley.

Walter Freeman
President and Creative Director
ef Design Group, Inc.

Walter Freeman is the president and creative director for ef Design Group Inc., a 25-year-old creative marketing and print services firm.  ef Design Group Inc. is a creative marketing services firm that specializes in developing visual communication strategies for website development, corporate identities, event & tradeshow graphics, consumer package design, point-of-purchase promotional materials, and political campaigns.

Prior to starting his firm, Walter served as graphics manager with the Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs where he managed a graphic design and photography staff in the public relations office.

Walter has consulted on projects with Lockheed IMS in Washington, D.C., on their national tollway systems projects and managed a team of designers to create interactive proposals for bid.

Walter is credited with providing effective design solutions for several minority business entrepreneurs by helping them incubate their enterprises, providing product development strategies, and establishing new brands and a variety of private label products.
Clients include: Nanophase, Barcardi Rum Imports, Nutra Sweet, Diageo North America Inc., Baxter Healthcare, American Heart Association, Bethel New Life Inc., Chemdal Corporation, Amcol International, Rainbow PUSH, U.S. Postal Service, Bronzeville Visitor Information Center, Loretto Hospital, Loretto Hospital Foundation, Popcorn and More Inc., South Side Community Federal Credit Union, ShoreBank, Aramark, and the City of Chicago Department of Vital Statistics
• B.A, Fine Arts, Howard University
• Over 25 years of experience as an Art Director

Sponsors: (invited)

Woods Foundation, Illinois Tech Community Affairs Department, PNC Bank/Bronzeville
Alderman Pat Dowell, Rehab Construction Systems Inc,  Leroy Kennedy

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