Dr. C. Siddha Webber - From the Archives

Reposted for Tony Smith

"Art is Business"

Dr. C. Siddha Webber was a Chicago based muralist, poet, musician, naprapath, and theologian who has been making art and poetry in Chicago for over 50 years. This footage is from an interview with him for my thesis on the Black Arts movement and the Wall of Respect. I am honored to have known him.

Tony Smith

Merging Tactical Urbanism with public works

Robert Steuteville is the editor of Public Square: A CNU Journal and senior communications adviser for the Congress for the New Urbanism.

Merging Tactical Urbanism with public works
The City of Burlington, Vermont, has initiated an innovative, flexible streetscape improvement program that saves money and time and is more responsive to the community.


Burlington's interest in bike-walk issues goes back decades, at least to when Bernie Sanders was mayor when his administration focused on the revitalization of downtown and the waterfront in the 1980s—working with Republicans and Democrats at the start of his political career. The city of 42,000 on Lake Champlain, home to the University of Vermont, has long employed a 30-day pilot program to test public works projects. This program was used in closing the first block to traffic for what is now the Church Street Marketplace.

It makes sense that when Burlington adopted its first-ever Bike-Walk Plan in 2017, implementation would go hand-in-hand with Tactical Urbanism. With the motto "short-term action for long-term change," Tactical Urbanism is all about testing changes to the public realm to improve the experience of pedestrians and cyclists—often using less expensive, flexible materials.

Burlington is now refining a tactical approach to bike-walk streetscape alterations that cost about a quarter of a full-scale street rebuilding­—and can be implemented much faster. "We felt this was the logical next step," says Nicole Losch, a senior planner with the Department of Public Works.

In a year and a half since the plan was adopted, Burlington has built a Neighborhood Greenway in the Old North End neighborhood to provide a slow-speed cycling route stretching more than a mile from the university campus to a lakefront park. The Greenway slows traffic through curb extensions and mid-block pinch points, using materials that are easy to move and adjust. The city has also made improvements on a five-way intersection in the city's South End, installed a protected bike lane on Church Street near two schools, and installed curb extensions and other changes to intersections in downtown locations.

The usual streetscape change involves a lengthy planning process, engineering drawings, funding, paving, and construction—and then you find out how well it works. This can take years, and consequently, few projects are implemented. Burlington has replaced that method with a four-step incremental process. First, a week-long tactical demonstration project can be initiated by citizens. Next, the 30-day pilot project can be undertaken by Public Works. The next step is a Quick Build project, designed to last one to five years. Permanent street changes involving new pavement are the final step—after a project has been adjusted and tested to work out the kinks. Most of the last year and a half changes have been completed through the Quick Build program, which involves materials that can be tested and moved—and even removed seasonally if difficulties arise in Burlington's long winters. The city has adopted its own Quick Build Design + Materials guide that systemizes the approach. "I recommend that other cities try something similar," says Losch.

Burlington hired Street Plans Collaborative to do the Bike Walk comprehensive plan. Principals Mike Lydon and Anthony Garcia are known as Tactical Urbanism thought leaders—they have written a book and numerous other publications on the subject. The collaboration led to the city adopting the community demonstration project approach, giving residents a way to implement short-term streetscape projects. The town can only complete so many projects a year. If the city can't get to the project neighbors want, the residents can apply for a demonstration and build it themselves. "If successful, it will be a priority the next year," says Losch.

The flexible Quick Build program is another innovation. "We wanted it to be a one-stop shop, outlining the materials that could be used, navigating the permit process, and working with neighbors," says Losch.

The Quick Build program in Burlington. Source: Street Plans Collaborative
The North End greenway meanders east-west along mostly low-volume neighborhood streets. The city is still formally gathering data on its success. "Anecdotally, we've heard it is working," she says. "It is a better route than they would have expected and really convenient, especially by bike." No changes were made to the pavement, which accounts for the low cost and flexibility. Curb extensions that narrow the street and reduce crossing distances are marked by paint, large planters, and "low, flexible bollards" that can be shifted in their position. During winter, when Burlington gets a lot of snow, the plantings are removed and replaced the following spring.

How is it working for public works employees responsible for snow removal and maintenance? "We are fortunate to have a pretty open-minded team that recognizes that the city is growing differently," says Losch. "The projects benefit the community, although they are not making the Public Works jobs easier. We are training the drivers to anticipate the changes before the snow flies and working with the planners and the street maintenance team on the projects."

Burlington's long winters are an additional advantage to the Quick Build program. There's the option of removing part or all of a project and re-installing it in the spring. Due to winter challenges and lower seasonal use, the city is considering a seasonal choice for a protected bike lane. That option is only possible because of the flexible material pallet of Quick Build.

The City of Burlington has used the Quick Build Design + Materials Standards to install five pedestrian, bicycle, and public space projects, most notably the 1.25-mile Greenway, connecting the campus to the waterfront. The Old North End Greenway is an interim design that can be adjusted easily depending on observed function and utility. There is no change to the street section, new pavement, or permanent plantings, yet the project has dramatically changed the streetscape.

Nathaniel McLin was a Chicago-based Art Critic - From the Archives

This blog post is in remembrance of a supporter of the Phantom Gallery Chicago and was my advisor. He was a fixture at gallery openings, exhibits and art lectures, Mr. McLin, 55, died Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2010.

Nathaniel McLin, who grew up in a family of respected musicians, promoted local African-American artists who didn't get the attention he felt they deserved and hosted a radio program for 25 years devoted to art. Nathaniel was a support of the Phantom Gallery Chicago Network, he shared so much of his intellectual property with myself and fellow artists. He was the curator for the Phantom Gallery Chicago 2009 PostProduction Exhibit, hosted at the Murphy Hill Gallery, featuring artists Fredrick Owens and Everett Williams. The curatorial discussion was carried on amongst curators: Owens, Williams, Patti, Hill, and moderated by Alpha Bruton.

Nathaniel McLin was a Chicago-based art critic who's been published in numerous publications and frequently wrote for Paint magazine.

He also hosted a radio show called “The Art Museum of Chicago” on WHPK 88.5 FM in Chicago. Nathaniel also contributed an essay for Kerry James Marshall’s catalog One True Thing: Meditations on Black Aesthetics. Nathaniel McLin made a comment on Joyce Owens: Artist on Art concerning art critics and getting reviews published:
Nat McLin featured ranter, began to sing his rant for the  RantAthon fundraiser at LBP. 

“I would say as an art critic it is very difficult to get editors to publish a review of an artist/home studio show. 
Editors prefer to publish reviews of the artist in third party venues. Also, most of the major organizations that promote artists on their web sites and lists refuse to deal with artist cooperatives. I found I will hurt my career by pushing artists that are not in the gallery system. Every time I try to write about a local artist that is not a recent MFA grad following a trendy movement I risk being cut off from that publication permanently.”

Reference Links:

Curator Carole Frances Lung, KO Enterprise 2019 Fellowship Award

"Art is Business"
Curator Carole Frances Lung, KO Enterprise
 Curator Carole Frances Lung, KO Enterprise at Labor Union Hall 07, SAIC- has Carole Frances Lung (BFA 2005, MFA 2007) was among the recipients of the United States Artists  (USA) 2019 Fellowship Award grants up to $50,000 in unrestricted funds to artists. In addition, social practice and performance artist Lung received an award in the craft category. Each year, USA fellowships are given to the most compelling artists working and living in the United States, in all disciplines, at every stage of their career.

Carole at the Chicago Public Library in Austin, where she had her installation KO Enterprise

With her SAIC Academic Advisor. 
The Sewing Rebellion is an economic tactic for change in the apparel industry.

The Sewing Rebellion is a free workshop, which began @ Mess Hall in Chicago Fall of 2006. It was hosted at Mess Hall for one year before becoming itinerant in May 2007. Hosted by Frau Fiber and her army of Faux Frau's, the Sewing Rebellion hosts monthly workshops at the ILGWU, Long Beach Main Library, Boulder Public Library, and pop-up actions take place around the country as requested.

Participants of the Sewing Rebellion are invited to emancipate themselves from the global garment industry by learning how to alter, amend,  and make their own garments and accessories! The Sewing Rebellion distributes knowledge of the garment industry, pattern making, and sewing, encouraging the reuse, renovation, and recycling of existing garments and textiles to create unique items tailored to individual tastes and body shapes.

A Tribute to Tamasha Williamson- From the Archives

"Art is Business" From the Phantom Gallery Chicago Archives,  
A Special Tribute for Tamasha Thembi Akua Williamson
Sunrise: July 2, 1975 - Sunset: September 4, 2016 RIP

Tamasha Williamson as a moderator for a panel discussion at the
Switching Station Artist Lofts in East Garfield Park, CAM 2007.

Featured artist Chicago Artist Month, installation at the Switching Station Artist Lofts. 

Representing the voice of reason and expressing her ideology and conceptual art practice.
"If the ability to be self-critical is a marker of a culture’s strength and maturity, then the artists presented in the exhibition “Disinhibition” blow a fresh breath of confidence into the conversation around contemporary African-American art. Curated by HPAC’s Blake Bradford, the exhibition brings together the work of emerging and one well-established artist who uses provocative humor to illuminate uncomfortable truths. The attitude can be summarized as “political correctness and solidarity be damned! Here is the truth!” Heavy on irony and anger, many of the works team with frustrated despair with both white racism and the less savory aspects of black culture. 
The predominant strategy is an illustration by the use of telling juxtapositions. Tamasha Williamson’s drawing series “It Is isn't It? The African-American Vernacular and the King’s English: Validation v. Degradation (Articulate)” collages loaded words and phrases such as “bling” with loaded imagery such as slave shackles and bullets. Blake Bradford

Tamasha designed the Phantom's postcard for the 2008 fundraiser at LBP, she was a graphic artist.

 It Is…Ain’t It? African-American Vernacular and the King’s English: Validation v. Degradation (Articulate), 2007 Graphite On Paper 24 X 36 © Tamasha Williamson

Tamasha Williamson

Profile  |  Artworks  |  Exhibitions  |  Network  |  Comments



 Little Black Pearl,
 NEIU Fine Arts Center Gallery - Northeastern Illinois University 

NEIU Fine Arts Center