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diego rivera mural

Diego Rivera: Sueño de una tarde dominical en la Alameda - Sunday Afternoon Dream in the Alameda Park - Museo Mural Diego Rivera - Diego Rivera Mural Museum, Mexico City


portoluz news and events

october 2011

in this issue
:: Season Finale: Jazz on a Summer's Day, featured program
:: About the series: WPA 2.0, a brand new deal
:: Things we like:links to other cultural work
:: support portoluz
:: WPA 2.0 a brand new deal, featured programs
:: Our team



As the first phase of our series WPA 2.0, a brand new deal series winds down, we wanted to reflect for a moment on some of the key takeaways from the series so far.


The context of this series was the current recession or as Dean Baker put it in his talk, "the Lesser Depression". We set out to instigate as well as join the national discussion about jobs and unemployment and the new  New Deal. We wanted to explore the programs of the 1930's and how artists were central to the recovery efforts after the last Great Depression. The public discussions we have fostered or been party to organizing have been fascinatingly educational and wide-ranging in their multi-disciplinary approach.  


Back in April, Congressman John Conyers discussed his jobs bill and subsequent clamor from around the country resulted in the Presidents own version finally unveiled this month. From Carl Davidson, we learned about the Mondragon Collectives in Spain and how a tiny vocational school that was started by a priest after the Second World War has grown into a billion-dollar high tech manufacturing industry that pays workers better than competitive wages. From Larry Zgoda we learned about the incredible output of one artist- Edgar Miller and his gorgeous handmade homes. From Dan Swinney, we learned how labor and corporations came together to design a new model for high schools -one that successfully prepares students for 21st century innovations in manufacturing. Tim Black talked about how African-Americans in the Depression were already broke in the aftermath of slavery and Reginald Robinson talked about how he found ragtime and the music of unheralded African-American composers from the period.   


Through the arc of the series we have been educated about the resiliency and creativity of ordinary people coping through tough times; forgotten pieces from our recent history, and the inter-relationship between global poverty, migration and the influence of  the Mexican muralists ( Rivera, Siqueiros, Orozco) on the WPA. We have learned about different ways to organize and about the triumph of the human spirit.


This month we continue the series with several programs related to this theme- a walking tour of the Mexican murals in Pilsen, Songs of the Spanish Civil War (pasiones) and talks by Dan Brinkmeir and Thom Lucas on artists in the WPA era.We hope you will join us.


We also want to take a minute to thank all of the presenters, venue hosts, volunteers and contributors. We could not have done it without you. Thank you





Featured October program  
Jazz on an Autumn Day  

October 16th - the season finale

Edward Wilkserson,Tomeka Reid & Scott Hesse

edward wilkerson jr 

at the Lakeside Inn

 15251 Lakeshore Road  Lakeside, Michigan

$15 all ages welcome

 link to Lakeside Inn for directions and lodging   

 Edward L. Wilkerson, Jr is an internationally recognized American jazz composer, arranger, musician, and educator based in Chicago. As founder and director of the cutting edge octet, 8 Bold Souls, and the 25 member performance ensemble, Shadow Vignettes, Wilkerson has toured festivals and concert halls throughout the world. 


Cellist, Tomeka Reid, is a sought after freelance musician whose primary interest is improvisatory music and has been performing with the AACM's Great Black Music Ensemble, Nicole Mitchell's Black Earth Ensemble/Strings, Mike Reed's Loose Assembly, Dee Alexander's Evolution Ensemble, Chicago Sinfonietta and the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic.  


Scott Hesse

Guitarist Scott Hesse is a performer, teacher, and composer based in Chicago."The freshest sound I have heard yet of all the guitarists of his generation."
-George Benson


 The magic of the environment, the virtuosity of the musicians, the intimacy of the performance and the natural acoustics of the wooden room conspire to create a deeply meditative experience. 


Jazz on a Summers day is generously supported by the Pokagon Fund  

Additional support is provided by : The Lakeside Inn and The LillStreet Art Center 



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Every penny you contribute is 100% contributed to our programs -not to overhead or administartive costs  


Most of portoluz' current programs are offered free of charge and developed by many volunteers in conjunction with numerous community partners and allies.    


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Explore more about the worldwide Great Depression of the 1920's and 30's - the effects on immigration and on soldiers from WWI. Celebrate the artist's response through these "2.0" video links    

Documental/Documentary - Rage Against The Machine - The Battle Of Mexico City

Documental/Documentary - Rage Against The Machine - The Battle Of Mexico City

Bonus Army marches on Washington, DC 1932 

Bonus Army marches on Washington, DC 1932

Occupy Wall Street Protest Enters Second Week; 80 Arrested at Peaceful March
Arab Spring, Yanqui Fall? Occupy Wall Street -We are the 99% spreads

Juana Gallo songs of the Mexican Revolution

Juana Gallo songs of the Mexican Revolution

The Storm That Swept Mexico | Video Extra | ITVS

The Storm That Swept Mexico | Video Extra | ITVS

Featured October programs

 W.P.A. 2.0, a brand new deal

The African American Contribution to Printmaking Innovation and Design During the WPA period.

Saturday October 1st 2pm

Southside Community Art Center

3831 South Michigan Avenue

With Thom Lucas - Hummingbird Press  


Thom Lucas is Director of Printmaking at the Lillstreet Art Center.  Thom is founder and Master Printer at Hummingbird Prethom lucasss and Lucas's own artworks are included in various private and public collections.  Thomas Lucas is a featured artist in the Chicago Artists Month Series -click here to read about Thom's work and find out more about Chicago Artists Month  

The South Side Community Art Center is a community art center in Chicago that opened in 1940 with support from the Works Progress Administration's Federal Art Project in Illinois. It was the first black art museum in the United States and has been an important center for the development Chicago's African American artists. The center was awarded Chicago Landmark status in 1994.



Songs of the Spanish Civil War 1936-1939

with  Las Guitarras de España  

Sunday October 9th, 2pm at S.P.A.C.E.  

1245 Chicago Avenue, Evanston $22 

purchase advanced tickets by clicking here

During the Spanish Civil War, forty thousand men and women from fifty-two countries, including 2,800 Americans, traveled to Spain to join the International Brigades to help fight fascism. The U.S. volunteers served in various units (medical, combat and transportation) and came to be known collectively as the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. passionesPasiones was written and adapted by Michael Smith and Jamie O'Reilly with Peter Glazer and inspired by the music of Eddie Balchowsky, a legendary pianist, artist, bohemian and Spanish Civil War hero. In 1937, Balchowsky accompanied singer Paul Robeson as he entertained troops in Spain and lost his hand in battle as a member of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, which ended his hopes of becoming a concert pianist. With: Jamie O'Reilly, Vocals, Michael Smith, Vocals, Guitar, Katrina O'Reilly, Vocals, Clarinet, Piano and Bob Weber, cello.

Smith and O'Reilly demonstrate powerfully that the music by the people who fought and died (in the Spanish Civil War) resonates throughout time and space...  "It is more than glorious music they offer us; it is our history that would otherwise be forgotten". 

las G

With a special performance by Las Guitarras de España

 Las Guitarras de España performs classical Spanish flamenco guitar music influenced by world music and dance. The ensemble's music also includes Latin American and Middle Eastern styles as well as American jazz. The fusion of these styles backed by Afro-Cuban percussion forms completes the unique combination of sounds and grooves that is "Las Guitarras de España."  With:Patricia Ortega - Vocalist, Wendy Clinard - Flamenco Dancer, Carlo Basile - Guitarist, Ian Maksin - Cellist,Greg Duncan - Trumpet,Bob Garrett - Percussionist


The lost legacy of 1930s Regionalism, the WPA, and a new people's art: Where are today's rural American artists?

Tuesday October 11th 6:00pm

LillStreet Art Center Gallery 4801 N. Ravenswood

Dan Brinkmeier, farmer and rural artist

During the 1930s, the hardships of the economic depression, political upheaval and labor conflict, and social change were challenged head-on by Regionalist painters and through other activist forms of artistic expression, which fostered the WPA and a national public art movement. Visual art was used as an instrument of attack, instruction, and inspiration, and was based in our country's rural heritage and traditions.


In today's America, we also face similar challenges to our way of life; and yet, where are the visual artists who will depict themes that not only celebrate the strengths that define our country, both urban and rural, but also serve to show the reality of how people live in the "forgotten country" of rural America and the social change that has taken place there? Who will give us a new "people's art?" Dan Brinkmeier is an artist, educator, and farmer who still works with his family on a small cattle farm in Northwestern Illinois.



The artistic community had already become inspired during the 1920s and '30s by the revitalization of the Italian Renaissance fresco style by the inspired creations of Mexican muralists Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros. Certain visionary U.S. politicians decided to combine the creativity of the new art movements with the values of the American people.This program looks at the legacy of this profound cross-cultural relationship.

"In acknowledging the influence of the Mexican muralists José Clemente Orozco, Diego Rivera, and David Alfaro Siqueiros on his work, Siporin said, "Through the lessons of our Mexican teachers, we have been made more aware of the scope and fullness of this the soul of our own environment." It was they, he said, who suggested "the application of modernism toward a socially moving epic of our time and place."

 mexican mural

Tour the Mexican Murals in Pilsen 

Saturday, October 15th 12pm and 2pm

Sunday, October 16th 12 pm and 2pm

Colibri Studio/Gallery 2032 W. 18th Street

Tour led by Jose Guerrero $10 per person   

Pilsen is a rich artistic community. Enjoy these special walking tours of this community while learning about the murals created in the area since the early 70's by Mexican, Mexican American, and other artists. Pilsen Open Studios is a celebratory annual event where local artists' welcome the public into their workspace.  

Advance registration for the mural tour is requested. Call Gallery Colibri



wpa 2.0, a brand new deal

a multi-disciplinary instigation


a festival about work  


WPA image

 throughout 2011

throughout chicago  


Download the complete PDF of the WPA 2.0, a brand new deal program schedule  


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PROPOSE A PROGRAM! : click  here for the   

Call for proposals WPA 2.0 a brand new deal part ll 


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Bruce Robbins, Ivan Handler, Heather Shafer, Regina Sant'anna, Jennifer Moran, Laurie Cohen, Rodrigo del Canto, Kavitha Maradadu, Don Meckley, Susan Gooding, Lorraine Chavez, Dennis La Gory, Barbara Engel, Beatriz Badikian, Aasia Muhammad, Gina Gamboa, Jaime Garza, Jerry Harris, Uche Omoniyi, Ayana Contreras, Amina Dickerson, Holly Hutto, Peter Kuttner, Eve Ewing,Carmen Aguilar, Rushia Butler, Neil Tesser, Barbara Koenen, Roger Klich, Nancy Myers, Sheldon Baskin, Jacklyn Rodriguez & Marguerite Horberg  



support for portoluz is generously provided by the:  

Richard H. Driehaus Foundation

The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation  

The ArtWorks Fund

The Pokagon Fund  

The Joyce Foundation  

The City of Chicago, Department of Cultural Affairs

The Illinois Arts Council, a state agency    

Brinks, Hofer, Gilson and Lione 


website portoluz 

Thank you for all your ideas, fellowship and encouragement


Marguerite Horberg, Founder & Executive Director