What would it be like if Chicago’s arts and culture sector was anti-racist?

Join Us

Imagine Just is an initiative to create an ALAANA/BIPOC*-led vision for Chicago’s arts and culture sector that is rooted in an anti-racist, anti-oppressive practice. Core to this vision are the beliefs that the arts are essential to our society, a means to connect to and embrace our full humanity, and a necessary tool for the creation and actualization of new systems. * ALAANA (African, Latinx, Asian, Arab, and Native American)
* BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color)

Our Themes

We are not the first to identify and target white supremacy in arts and culture. These themes emerged from a synthesis of what has come before: Chicago arts and culture reports, initiatives in other regions, national advocacy efforts, and conversations with practitioners in the field. You can see our resources list here.

Alternative Models of Leadership

Our current leadership models are only serving the status quo. Let’s imagine new forms of shared leadership that bring inclusion and transparency to key decisions across the sector.

Learn more

Equitable Visibility

ALAANA/BIPOC artists and cultural producers face compounding obstacles, from discrimination to devaluation. Let’s flip the script on visibility.

Learn more

Investment in Neighborhood Assets

Many of our city’s artistic and cultural gems are underfunded and at risk of closure. Let’s bring new 
life to the places that bring safety, joy, and healing to our communities.

Learn more

Resilient Funding Infrastructure

COVID-19 exposed all the ways that ALAANA/BIPOC arts organizations operate on shaky ground. Let’s imagine new systems that can withstand even a pandemic.

Learn more

Our Timeline

Our work began in earnest in February 2021. The timeline below outlines where we have been and where are planning to go. More dates will be released throughout the course of the project.

February – June

Research and Groundwork

We began our work by exploring and analyzing the landscape of relevant work to date at the intersection of anti-racism and the arts, both in Chicago and around the country. This learning helped us to build our team of ambassadors, artists, and advisors, and will inform our tools, materials, and outreach for community co-creation.

June 14 – August 06

Community Co‑Creation

During this 8-week period, we will host and facilitate a series of group-based workshops for Chicago’s arts and culture community to come together, share stories, and imagine ideas for an anti-racist future. We will also invite the community to contribute their own ideas through our website, and provide tools for hosting your own co-creation workshop with people in your community.

August – November

Synthesis and Share-out

We will look across all of the ideas and organize them into a living vision with actionable strategies and collective outcomes to be shared back to the community. This vision will be shared publicly via the website and through a series of community showcases (dates TBD) to build momentum and commitment towards a Community of Practice.

November and beyond

Community of Practice

The resulting vision will be held in community trust and will serve as the foundation to cultivate a community of practice that can activate and hold Chicago’s arts and culture sector accountable to realize this vision through to action.

Our community of participants created these inspiring ideas:

“Remember to imagine and craft the worlds you cannot live without, just as you dismantle the ones you cannot live within.”

— Ruha Benjamin