December Trolley Post Conversation with the Artists and Supporters

Special Thanks to all our Supporters
Phantom Gallery Chicago Board of Advisors:
William G. Hill, William Hill Gallery
Laura Weathered, Near North West Arts Council
Toni Collie Perry- Leadership Consultant
Mariana Buchwald, International Art Group

Featured Artist/ Network  Organizations 2020
July 17, 2020

 Caryl Henry Alexander Clinton Maryland, Daphne Burgess Moulton Albama, Shonna McDaniel's, Sacramento California, Talver Germany Miller- Mather California, 

August 21, 2020 
Larissa J. Akemremi, The Social Movement and cultural curator

September 21, 2020 

Renee Baker,  Artist in Residence, Chicago Modern Orchestra Project,  
Talver Germany Miller, Los Rios Community College District 

October 16, 2020

Shonna McDaniel's Sojourner Truth African Heritage Museum
Shonna McDaniel's, Wide Open Walls
Co-Owners Gallery 157 Daphne, Burgess, Milton 510 Bowens.

October 21, 2020

Virtual Open Studio, Phantom Gallery Chicago

"Art is Business"  December 18, 2020

2020 Bronzeville Art District Virtual Gallery Tours

Forecasting what the future holds, and how we adapt to new ways of presenting art engagement, and audience development while practicing social distancing.  Alpha Bruton, Founder of the Phantom Gallery Chicago, is moving to mark out a new and exciting program for the future of Phantom Gallery.

The Phantom Gallery will look at how the city influences art, and artists transform the city by contributing to civic dialogue and quality of life. These installations will produce "Creative Conversations" presenting artists speaking about their art.

2020 Program virtual gallery openings will focus on Examining the State of Our Environment- and having conversations with artists in their studios. 

The aim of the Phantom is to examine changes in current curatorial production and to develop innovative displays in relation to virtual spaces. "Curatorial Practice" explores the impact of the urban environment on the artist and their work, and the contributions that artists make to the vitality of a city. The place where art is imagined and made, whether in a physical or virtual space, affects the idea, the process, and the final product. 

Artist in Resident – Renee Baker

Renee Baker visual artist/media and film is a resident artist/curator, who has invested in the Phantom Gallery Chicago Loft as an AIR to stage her experimental film screenings, and as an ancillary gallery to showcase and exhibit her sculpture and paintings. Renee is an internationally renowned artist best known for her work in the classical music industry. She is a resident artist working in found objects, sculpture, and the experimental film just to list a few of her multidisciplinary work.

       "Home Molasses" artist Renee Baker, an installation by curator Alan Emerson Hicks


Artist Statement
My artwork explores the subject of transformation and change in the human condition. What I want to discover are the ways these changes are inspired and the awareness that is revealed. I use color, shape form, and texture to inform my audience. Through my work, I attempt to evoke a feeling, response, or even a question from the view on what they feel in hopes to transform something in them.  I use spontaneous mark-making movement and rhythmic patterns. My work is most often done on paper, but some work is done on wood canvas and synthetic paper and is often used together in collage pieces.

Lois Stone

"Lotus  Revised 3 Kunst", 19" x 26"         Lois Stone Art, Oil on Paper, 2020 

    Lotus Series 1 Revised by Lois Stone

Phil M. Cotton

Although the images and subjects of my artwork are diverse; the influences and subject matter originate from the 1950’s era, abstract expressionist movement, and architectural/ designs of the Mid Century Modern/ Bauhaus periods. My contemporary artwork consists of organic and architectural visual images that respond to my observations of historical moments in time and the present state of our ever-changing complex society.

        "Fetish Sacrifice" Found Object Sculpture, Phil Cotton, Private Collection Alpha Bruton 

"Dinosaur" Phil Cotton  Mixed Media, 2017 

Bronzeville Art District Virtual Trolley Tour "Creative Conversation" - Abstract Expression

"Art is Business" 
Join us for our end of the season Virtual Trolley Tour - Friday, December 18, 2020. 7pm - 8pm                    Facebook Live- Phantom Gallery

    @ Video produced by Joseph Rzodkiewicz


Postmodern Art movement in a Post Black Modernist World

"Art is Business"  Just think of it as "Experimentations" December 18th, 2020 Virtual Open Studio, "Creative Conversation", featuring artist Lois Stone, of Stone Arts discussing her work as a modernist painter.

My artwork began primarily in watercolor however my work quickly expanded to acrylic, mixed media, and surface design. My work is abstract concentrating on color, shape, form, and movement.  In my work, I try to explore the process of transformation, the humanistic and spiritual changes that take place guided by intuitive expression and stream of consciousness. Through my art, I hope to have the viewer have an experience there are no words for.

Abstract Alcohol  Ink Resin

I have lived and worked in the Bronzeville community for the past thirty-eight years. Originally from Birmingham, AL my family moved to Chicago during the early sixties and attended catholic school. After graduating from the Academy of Our Lady I attended the University of Illinois at Chicago. I also studied at Ray-Vogue College of Design, attend some adult continuing education classes at the Art Institute of Chicago began a Curatorial Program with the Hyde Park Art Center and the University of Chicago.
Artist Bio Lois Stone

I applied for and became a designated Illinois Artisan in 1987 and was an artist at the Illinois Artisan Gift Shop at Thompson Center in Chicago and the Illinois State Gift Shops in Springfield. I was a member of the Artisans 21 artist’s cooperative in Hyde Park for over ten years until its closing. I have exhibited at the Community Art Fair in Hyde Park and most recently The Chicago Creative Expo for two years. In 2010 I opened Stone Art Supply, an online art supply store where I carry brand names Fine Art, Drafting, and Craft Supplies for the student to professional.

In 2018 I began a one-year course in abstract art with Nancy Hillis in Santa Monica, CA. and I am a member of an artist group, ArtNXTLevel, and now a member of Phantom Gallery Chicago. Being a part of an artist collective has helped me to strengthen my own artistic practice.  I am not an artist in the traditional sense. I would say that I am self-taught. There is an audience for my art and I have an obligation to find that audience.

Some of my most recent work can be viewed on my website, 
How did you find your voice?

Postmodern art is a body of art movements that sought to contradict some aspects of modernism or some aspects that emerged or developed in its aftermath. In general, movements such as intermedia, installation art, conceptual art, and multimedia, particularly involving video are described as postmodern.

Modernism is both a philosophical movement and an art movement that arose from broad transformations in Western society during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The movement reflected a desire for the creation of new forms of art, philosophy, and social organization which reflected the newly emerging industrial world, including features such as urbanization, new technologies, and war.

The African American Roots of Modernism: From Reconstruction to the Harlem Renaissance

In identifying Jim Crow with the coming of modernity, Smethurst focuses on how artists reacted to the system’s racial territorialization, especially in urban areas, with migration narratives, poetry about the black experience, and black performance of popular culture forms such as ragtime and vaudeville. He shows how black writers such as Fenton Johnson and William Stanley Braithwaite circulated some of the earliest and strongest ideas about an American “bohemia.” Smethurst also upsets the customary assessment of the later Harlem Renaissance as the first and primary site of a nationally significant black arts movement by examining the influence of these earlier writers and artists on the black and white modernists who followed. In so doing, Smethurst brings forward a host of understudied figures while recontextualizing the work of canonical authors such as Charles Chesnutt, Pauline Hopkins, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and James Weldon Johnson. As such, Smethurst positions his work as part of the current growing intellectual conversation about the nature of African American literature and culture between Reconstruction and the Harlem Renaissance. Far from being a “nadir” period, Smethurst argues, this period saw black artists creating cultural forms from which issued some of the most significant literary works of the twentieth century.

 Focusing on the years from 1922 to 1938, this book revisits an important moment in black cultural history to explore how visual elements were used in poems, novels, and photography to undermine existing stereotypes. Miriam Thaggert identifies and analyzes an early form of black American modernism characterized by a heightened level of experimentation with visual and verbal techniques for narrating and representing blackness.

7@7: Black Artists & their Art with Seven [UK], Curators Rose Cannon & Alpha Bruton

Rose Cannon of Rose Cannon Gallery facilitated the discussion. 

7@7: Black Artists & their Art with Seven [UK]; Curators Rose Cannon & Alpha Bruton & Artists Baz@ Cumberbatch; David Niari; David Anthony Geary; Sholo Beverly; William Kwahmena-poh


WATCH LIVE July 25, 2020 STREAMING ON Exopolitics TV:

Black Artists show their Art:
Black Artists:
Black Artists:
Rose Cannon:
Alpha Bruton:
Alpha Bruton:​
David Anthony:
David Niari:

Launched in December 2014, has begun its mission to expose a media-built matrix of fabrications being promoted against the public interest.

Backed by a cooperative of Truth journalists citing contractual rights to mainstream access, offers investigative reporting, news, and opinions turning the matrix of manufactured consensual reality inside out. In addition, reports from the site deconstruct memes (evolutionary principles in the spread of ideas and cultural phenomena) whose ongoing production was identified as a de facto mission of the current mainstream. represents a deliberate attempt to ensure that news from Truth movement journalists such as Jon Kelly and Alfred Lambremont Webre reaches a more comprehensive public arena in the mainstream media. Both Kelly and Webre have defined current YouTube, Facebook, and website presences known throughout the awakened communities. The site is focused on professional news publishing operations providing grounds for digital syndication (how stories enter mainstream news outlets including radio, newspapers, and television. interviews and articles further our journalistic mission and protection from governmental interference under the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms of the Canadian Constitution, and the Magna Carta (UK). They are an absolute prohibition and bar to any imposition, criminal, equitable, common law, admiralty law, civil to‘s publication of actual facts.

Sojourner Truth: The Forgotten History of the Slave Who Fought For Women's Rights

"Art is Business"

The Phantom Gallery Chicago Network has sustained during the COVID-19 Pandemic, due to the support of the SOJO Art Museum, one of the Phantom's network partners. Shonna McDaniel's has worked with me over the years, from 1990 founding member of Celebration Arts Visual Arts, 1995 to one of the co-founders of Visual Arts Development Project. She started her museum project in 1999.

Shonna McDaniels, a visual artist, and community activist, envisioned an institution to preserve Black history and celebrate the accomplishments of African American people and their legacy. As a result, the previous name of Sojourner Truth Multicultural Art Museum changed to Sojourner Truth African American Museum. We offer resources to document, preserve, and educate the public on the history, life, and culture of African Americans.

                            Parent and Founding Board Director Ollie McDaniel's and Shonna McDaniels  

From the archives of the Resistance Library: Unsung Heroes The Forgotten History of the Slave Who Fought For Women's Rights 

 Sojourner Truth: The Forgotten History of the Slave Who Fought For Women's Rights Sojourner Truth was a lot of things. She was a slave. A mother. A wife. An activist. A preacher. A woman who wasn’t afraid to stand up for what she believed in, regardless of the consequence. A woman who spoke her mind, even when everyone around her disagreed. Filled with such courage and bravery, she could see the potential of liberty for all, even when faced with adversities far worse than people see today. 

Sojourner Truth was never a victim of circumstances, even though they were bleak for much of her life. When life knocked her down, she’d get back up, ready to fight again. She lived by her own standard, even though it was considered radical. She didn’t care. She was here to speak her truth, which she never failed to do. Even her self-given name says as much. 

“Sojourner” means “to stay awhile,” combined with Truth. To stay awhile in truth. To stand in truth. Many would say that’s exactly how she spent her life. 

  Sojourner Truth: From Slavery to Freedom Sojourner Truth was brought into this world a slave named Isabella Baumfree around 1797. Born on a plantation about 95 miles north of New York City, Belle only spoke Dutch until she was nine years old when she was sold, along with a herd of sheep, for $100. She would be sold two more times by the age of 13, when she found herself owned by John Dumont and his second wife, Elizabeth. The truth was not treated well as a slave and would recall her owners as cruel and punitive. At 18, she fell in love with a slave boy named Robert, who was owned by a neighbor. When his owner found out the boy was in a relationship with a slave from a different master, he was severely beaten, and Truth never saw him again. It’s believed that her first child, James, may have been Robert’s. Her second child, Diana, is most likely the result of rape by Dumont. Truth birthed three other children to Thomas, a slave she eventually married, who was also owned by Dumont. 

 In 1826, the year Dumont told her he’d grant her freedom, then refused, Truth took her youngest child who was still an infant and left the Dumont estate, escaping from slavery. Years later, when talking of the event, Truth said, “I did not run off, for I thought that wicked, but I walked off, believing that to be alright.” Two years later, when Dumont unlawfully sold Truth’s son, Peter, she took him to court. Truth became the first black woman to win a case against a white man and gained custody of her son. 

 She spent the next decade working as a housekeeper and servant, and in 1843, Isabella Baumfree had a religious experience. She converted to Methodism and changed her name to Sojourner Truth. She moved from the city and devoted her life to serving God through preaching about the abolition of slavery and equal rights for women. In 1844, she joined the Northampton Association of Education and Industry, a self-sufficient religious and abolition group that lived on over 470 acres, raising livestock and running a sawmill, gristmill, and silk factory. 

While there, she met many heroes within the abolition movement, including William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, and David Ruggles. Sojourner Truth: A Radical Among Radicals At six feet tall, Truth stood out in a crowd, but it wasn’t just for her height. She was a woman who said what she thought and what she believed in without reserve. 

She gave her first anti-slavery speech in 1845 in New York City and was soon considered one of the most inspiring speakers of the era. In 1851, Truth gave her most famous speech, entitled “Ain’t I a Woman?” at the Women’s Convention in Akron, Ohio. Although it’s held in esteem today, the speech is surrounded by controversy. Given extemporaneously, the speech focused on not just being black, but on being a woman, something that was unusual even amongst abolitionists, who only focused on the rights of black men, not black women. The original speech was reprinted in two different local newspapers, and the phrase “Ain’t I a Woman?” wasn’t recounted in either one. But 12 years later, in a transcription published by Frances Dana Barker Gage, the speech had changed. “Ain’t I a woman?” appeared four times and the whole speech had a southern feel. This was odd, given that Truth was from New York and Dutch was her first language. 

But a southern dialect fit the narrative that was being created at the time, and after multiple publications of the speech by Gage, the modified version has stood the test of time. Truth’s advocation of rights for not just blacks, but women – and even black women – was considered radical, even in her circle. She was ostracized among the abolitionists, although she did remain friends with others within the equal rights movements, including Susan B. Anthony. 

 Perhaps it was also her unorthodox and no-BS attitude that made her unliked. At one speech in 1858, after being ridiculed and called a man, Truth revealed her breasts to the crowd to prove her womanhood. Sojourner Truth: Fighting Through the War and Beyond When the Civil War broke out, Truth did what she could to help the cause. She recruited black men to fight for the Union, and her grandson even enlisted and served in the 54th Massachusetts regiment. Truth started working for the National Freedman’s Relief Association in 1864, which led her to meet with President Abraham Lincoln regarding the needs of black people in America. 

 After the war, Truth fought to secure the promised land grants (40 acres and a mule) for t was unsuccessful in her attempts. She continued to fight for equal rights for both blacks the black men who fought in the war. She even met with President Ulysses Grant in 1870 brand women until she died of infected leg ulcers on November 26, 1883. Nearly blind and almost deaf, Truth spent her life fighting for what she believed in, regardless of the cost. 

Sojourner Truth: A Legacy Although Truth saw the 13th Amendment passed, she did not live to see women granted equal rights. Even so, Sojourner Truth has been recognized as having a huge influence on the women’s equality movement and that her influence helped pave the way for the 19th Amendment, which wasn’t ratified until 1920

 In recognition of her efforts, Truth, along with four other women and the 1913 Women’s Suffrage Procession, will be featured on the $10 bill in 2020, as part of the 100-year celebration of women winning the right to vote. Sojourner Truth was also memorialized in 2018, with the U.S. Navy naming a ship the USNS Sojourner Truth. She was the inspiration for the NASA Mars Pathfinder Robotic Rover, “Sojourner.” Smithsonian Magazine listed her in the “100 Most Significant Americans of All Time.” She has been inducted into the Women’s Hall of Fame and her face has graced a USPS stamp. Although recognized as a hero today, Sojourner Truth’s life was not an easy one. Yet even when, literally, stoned and beaten, Truth continued to fight with words and with dignity. She stayed with her truth and worked to change the world. 

This tribute was written by Molly Carter's Resistance Library: Unsung Heroes The Forgotten History of the Slave Who Fought For Women's Rights You're free to republish or share any of our articles (either in part or in full), which are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Our only requirement is that you give appropriate credit by linking to the original article. Spread the word; knowledge is power! 

Bronzeville Art District November Virtual Open Studio, Cesar Conde

"Creative Conversation", artists speaking about their art practice, November 20, 2020, focuses on
 Open Virtual Studio, "Creative Conversation"- Artist Cesar Conde.

"in·sight /ˈinˌsīt/ the capacity to gain an accurate and deep intuitive understanding of a person or thing:
intuition, perception, awareness, discernment, understanding, ... "

Cesar Conde 

Cesar Conde was born on September 23, 1963, in the Philippines. He came to Seattle in the early '70s when his family emigrated to the United States. Both his parents were white-collared professionals. Conde went to a public school in Seattle and was part of the first busing integration program. However, his first year of schooling was in Chicago's west side, where he was exposed to African-American, Latino and Polish communities. He grew up pressured to assimilate into the American culture in order to survive.

Travel exposed Conde to different cultures, which is reflected in his art. He learned to draw in Florence, Italy, and studied painting in Monflanquin, France.

Southside Weekly said "Conde's art is an art that does, and when looking at his portraits, one cannot help but feel that art can and must do things for us, that it must be strong, not flimsy. Indeed, that is Conde's whole goal: to remind us of the hard truths under the surface of our biases and judgments, lest we forget what happened to Trayvon," Jake Bittle, November 20, 2013

His work is featured in the Chicago Contemporary.

 "The film". 13 November 2013. Retrieved 15 February 2016.
 "Cesar Conde Art". Archived from the original on 23 April 2011. Retrieved 15 February 2016.
 "South Side Weekly"
 "Chicago Contemporary". Archived from the original on 12 March 2016. Retrieved 15 February 2016

Coming soon.  Join us on December 18m, 2020  7pm - 8pm

Phantom Gallery: Meeting ID: 859 7433 6882

 Virtual Open Studio featuring:

Renee Baker- Experimental Film 
Post Modernism:
Lois Stone
Phillip Cotton

The Phantom Gallery will look at how the city influences art, and artists transform the city by contributing to civic dialogue and quality of life. These installations will produce "Creative Conversations" presenting artists speaking about their art.

2020 Program virtual gallery openings will focus on Examining the State of Our Environment- and having conversations with artists in their studios. 

The aim of the Phantom is to examine changes in current curatorial production and to develop innovative displays in relation to virtual spaces. "Curatorial Practice" explores the impact of the urban environment on the artist and their work, and the contributions that artists make to the vitality of a city. The place where art is imagined and made, whether in a physical or virtual space, affects the idea, the process, and the final product. 

B. Ra-El Ali Thunder Zoom Virtual Open Studio Artist Interview

BRael Ali Thunder
BReal Ali


My title B’Rael Ali is an affirmation that I use so that I always remain conscious of my spiritual identity and purpose. My purpose being a creative force sent from the cosmos, a bringer of truth.  I was born on the south side of Chicago and I have lived much of my life in the urban City. I am a graduate of the Southern Illinois University of Carbondale achieving a BFA in Painting and Drawing. I am also a spoken word artist. My artwork and poetry are infusions of urban life, history, and social commentary. I believe that knowledge of self is the true answer to anyone’s individual struggles because gaining it has improved my life tremendously. My artwork and poetry serve as a form of education, displaying the lessons and philosophies that help me during my struggles in order to help others through their struggles as well. Art is my language, Art is my way of solving the problems of today in order to create a better future.

 Much of my artwork features dancing figures. Dance is the physical cultivation of the Spirit through mental release and rhythmic processes. Dance historically, and contemporary is a large part of African and African American culture being used for ritual purposes, ceremonial, as well as social. My artwork depicts those traditional uses of dance through 2D drawings on paper that are enhanced with acrylic paint and pastels. I use the dancing figure as a creative vessel to express African American culture and issues. Through compositions designed from the figurative image of the dancer, I compose narratives that describe the African American experience, largely addressing identity, reconnecting African Americans to their African ancestry. The collaboration of symbols new and old creates the persona of "Afrofuturism" in my work, allowing my art to become ritual. 

The Phantom Gallery will look at how the city influences art, and artists transform the city by contributing to civic dialogue and quality of life. These installations will produce "Creative Conversations" presenting artists speaking about their art.

2020 Program virtual gallery openings will focus on Examining the State of Our Environment- and having conversations with artists in their studios. 

The aim of the Phantom is to examine changes in current curatorial production and to develop innovative displays in relation to virtual spaces. "Curatorial Practice" explores the impact of the urban environment on the artist and their work, and the contributions that artists make to the vitality of a city. The place where art is imagined and made, whether in a physical or virtual space, affects the idea, the process, and the final product. 

Join us on December 18th, 2020 for our final installment of Virtual Open Studio featuring:

Renee Baker- Experimental Film 
Post Modernism:
Lois Stone
Phillip Cotton

Auntie Caryl's 2020 Winter Wellness Kit! Limited Edition

"Art is Business" reposted for Caryl Henry Alexander Thanks for your support

Peace and Blessings Friends,
I trust that you are well and enjoying your holiday weekend.

I'm good, especially excited to share this news with you!

As you know, I have been working since this past Spring to create a collection of herbal wellness products with the abundance from my beautiful Gratitude Garden.

The result is Auntie Caryl's 2020 Winter Wellness Kit! And now it is finally complete and ready for sale. Headlining this kit is an original handmade mixed media artwork created to bring healing positive vibrations to your environment.

I am currently working to have Auntie's e-commerce site up and active soon.

The kits are a limited edition and you can pre-order by responding to this email. 
Caryl Henry <>

Thanks for your support


It's on!!! Black Creativity Juried Art Exhibition

"Art is Business" Courtesy of Liz LaRue & Tiffany Malone

It's on!!! Black Creativity Juried Art Exhibition put on by the prestigious Museum of Science & Industry on Chicago's Southside lakefront is the oldest juried Art Exhibition displaying contemporary artwork of African Americans from all over the United States. The show was created in 1970 to celebrate the culture, heritage, and ingenuity of African Americans. 

The originators were staff members from the Chicago Defender newspaper. 

Here is the link to the 2021 Black Creativity Juried Art Exhibition call to artists. It contains a link to the online application.

Call for Artists 2021 - Submission deadline for General and Teen Artwork.  Deadline January 3, 2021

BC2021 JA Call for Artists - Museum of Science and Industry

Tiffany Malone
Arts + Creativity Manager
Science and Integrated Strategies
Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago
5700 S Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60637
(773) 753-1765 |

Fees for general category:$50, College students: $25. Teens can submit for free.  Awards in general category: First place $3,000 Second place: $2,000 Third place: $1,000. Teen awards First place: $500 Second Place: $300 Third place $200. For more info: MSI Chicago/juried art. For questions: Tiffany Malone at

Virtual Open Studio Featuring Renee Baker / Artist

Renée Baker has created sonic arenas and compositions for many museums, including MCA CHICAGO, MOFA St. Petersburg, Fl., Museum of Fine Art, Boston, MOMA, NY, ARTS CLUB OF CHICAGO, DESTEJILK MUSEUM, Zwolle, NL, MOMA NY, Spurlock Museum Champaign, Il, Krannert Art Museum, Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, Stony Island Arts Bank, DuSable Museum Chicago, Gardener Museum Boston, alongside prestigious music organizations: Symphony Center, Chicago. 

She had the privilege of being the
Visiting Resident Artist of the CHICAGO SYMPHONY 
African American Network 2017-2020.

Her film scores for BODY AND SOUL, THE SCAR OF SHAME, along with two new opera projects, BALDWIN CHRONICLES MIDNIGHT RAMBLE and A SOVEREIGN POUT, both premiered at Symphony Center in 2019 and upcoming in 2020. In addition, films with her scores have aired on NETFLIX and TCM.
Renee' Baker is the founding music director and conductor of the internationally acclaimed Chicago Modern Orchestra Project (CMOP), a polystylistic organization that grew from the plums of classical music as well as jazz. 
A member of the world-renowned collective Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. Critical acclaim for her graphic scores novels has come from performances in Berlin, Poland, London, Scotland, and as far-reaching as Vietnam.

From the Archives: Symphony Center (Chicago)

As a disruptive composer and visual artist, there are few barriers to the creative turns of this composer, conductor, artist, and instrumentalist. As a featured ensemble, CMOP has been chosen to work with NewMusicUSA and the EarShot program of the American Composers Orchestra.
An expert at ensemble development and training, Renee’ developed the Mantra Blue Free Orchestra (Chicago), PEK’ Contemporary Project (Berlin), the progenitor of Bleueblue Walkers/Bass Kollektief, Twilight Struggles (Berlin) as well as being involved in starting over 20 cutting edge new music ensembles. Among them: TUNTUI, Wrinkled Linen, Chocolate Chitlin’ Caucus, Red Chai Watch, FAQtet, Project 6, Renee’ Baker’s AWAKENING, Baker ArTet, a Butoh ensemble BODY STRATA, and Strings Attached.

Ms. Baker has performed globally from Bimhuis (Amsterdam) to Symphony Center (Chicago) and was a founding member and Principal Violist of Chicago Sinfonietta for 26 years. Ms. Baker has composed over two thousand works for ensembles ranging from solo instruments, ballet, opera to significant orchestral works that bridge the classical, jazz, and creative music genres. Her ability to embrace various creative parameters in her work has led to commissions for the Chicago Sinfonietta, Berlin International Brass, PEK’s Contemporary Project, and DanceWright Project.

From the Archives:

As a disruptive force in composition, Ms. Baker’s eclectic visual score compositions led her to create a gestured conducting language she calls CCL/FLOW (Cipher Conduit Linguistics), which she employs when working with numerous cutting edge groups in Cologne, Berlin, Netherlands, London, Chicago, Portland (OR), and other ensembles around the world. 

From the Archives:

A further aspect of her composition skills is the development of her painted score exploratorium pieces for ensembles of variable sizes. Ms. Baker is also in demand as a lecturer and expert in nontraditional composition techniques and large ensemble “comprovisation”/ improvisation development.

Aspects of the art world permeate Ms. Baker’s work. Her performance artwork SUNYATA: TOWARDS ABSOLUTE EMPTINESS premiered at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA, Chicago) in May 2015. Her tactile score sculpture works were featured at the MCA Chicago as part of the Sunyata premiere.

Ms. Baker is the composer of four operas. Currently, she is working as a film score composer, having composed and released a new score for Oscar Micheaux’s “race film” masterpiece BODY AND SOUL (1925) with the music performed by her Chicago Modern Orchestra Project ensemble.

From the Archives:

Called the latest AACM visionary by Downbeat Magazine, Ms. Baker is one of the brightest and most fertile minds active in composition today.

From the Archives:

2020 Film Society Series Canceled due to COVID -19 Pandemic

Renee’ C. Baker, Conductor/Composer
Chicago Modern Orchestra Project /PEK’ Contemporary Project
For more information: *

Creative Conversation Presenting Artists Speaking About Their Art

"Art is Business"

ZOOM Virtual Gallery Tour Run of Show- November 20, 2020

Facebook: Live Stream
Phantom Gallery: Meeting ID: 859 7433 6882

B real Ali Thunder, photo by Toni Smith

Nicholas Conlon, "Last American Poet",  PINK GUN PROJECT

Artist With A Purpose in Gratitude Garden

"Art is Business"

Art On Armitage, Chicago - Supermarket 2014 Stockholm Independent Art Fair

Phantom Gallery Chicago Open Virtual Tour_Oct 2020

Artist Finally Gets Her ‘Seat At The Table’

"Art is Business" Reposted/ By Genoa Barrow | OBSERVER Senior Staff Writer

Local artist and museum founder Shonna McDaniels hope her new mural "A Seat At The Table," painted as part of the Wide Open Walls project, will uplift the community.

At the time, numerous calls to City Hall by people who would today be called Becky or Karen prompted a heated community town hall meeting about inclusion. In the end, SMUD, sponsoring the art installation, cut the check and chopped the project.

Ms. McDaniels never stopped fighting for a seat at the table for herself and other local Black artists. She's the founder of the Sojourner Truth Art Museum and is a vocal advocate for more diversity, of artists and images, in public art opportunities.

This week, it was a full-circle moment as she completed the last stroke on a mural for the Wide Open Walls project. Ironically, the towering ode to Blackness was created on the wall of a SMUD substation. "A Seat At The Table" is located in Midtown at 1430 19th Street.

"I cried," she said of the opportunity. "I literally cried like a baby because this has been a long time coming."

The mural was inspired by African actress Lupita Nyong'o. Featuring a dark-skinned woman as the focal point was deliberate for Ms. McDaniels, who wants the image to "uplift" her community. The large-scale painting took Ms. McDaniels and a team of enthusiastic fellow artists and volunteers less than a week to complete.

"I have so much support. Artists from all different genres have come out to help. We've had performing artists, dancers, visual artists, just so much support," she said.

As they filled in Ms. McDaniels' vision, area residents stopped by to admire the work in progress. They marveled at the detailed African pattern whose bold, orange lines draw in the eye and the eyes of a Black woman who seemed to mesmerize them from her high place of distinction on the wall.

Hundreds of residents and tourists, primarily White, stopped by to see the mural being created. There were often supportive honks from drivers-by.
She and a family-friendly group of volunteers received a very different reception a decade ago.

"Art is a peaceful act and then we had all these people driving by and calling us ni**ers and monkeys and asking us who authorized us to 'paint those aliens (Black people) on the wall.' The kids were traumatized," Ms. McDaniels recalled.

While she's created plenty of art since then, the incident is as fresh in Ms. McDaniels' mind as a new coat of paint, but she's glad recent calls for equity and social justice have painted a different picture.

"What a difference 10 years makes," she said.

"A Seat At The Table" is the second Wide Open Walls mural for Ms. McDaniels. Another, a tribute to the Ndebele women of South Africa, is located at 3217 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Oak Park. Other Black artists with murals added in 2020 include Brandon Gastinell (1616 J Street), the late Michael Mcdaniel (917 7th Street), Nosego (1730 L Street), Brandon Alexandr (7th Street and Improv Alley), and Leecasso, whose tribute to late Congressman John Lewis and "Black Panther" actor Chadwick Boseman can also be found at 7th Street and Improv Alley.

With "A Seat At The Table" finished, Ms. McDaniels, is focused on her next project, expanding her museum space in South Sacramento. Expansion, she says, will allow for more Black art to be displayed and showcased in new and innovative ways.

By Genoa Barrow | OBSERVER Senior Staff Writer