The South Side Community Art Center is one of the oldest African American art centers in the nation. The center has housed exhibitions, special events, and studio space for internationally known visual artists and writers such as Richard Wright, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Lorraine Hansberry.
Supported by a grant from the Illinois Humanities Council, The Art of a Community Speaks Across Generations is a series of public conversations about the history of the South Side Community Art Center, its extensive art collection, and the individuals who have been part of the center over the years. Each event in the series brings together two artists of different generations to discuss the history of the center using selected works of art from the center’s vast collection as the point of departure for the conversation.
Useni Eugene Perkins is a renowned poet, playwright, and youth worker. He was exposed to the arts at an early age through his father, Marion Perkins, one of Chicago’s foremost sculptors. A prolific poet, author, and dramatist, his many works include An Apology to My African Brother (1965), Midnight Blues in the Afternoon and Other Poems (1984), Harvesting New Generations: The Positive Development of Black Youth (1986), When You Grown Up: Poems for Children (1989), and The Black Fairy and Other Plays (1993). Perkins served as executive director of the Better Boys Foundation of Chicago, social director of the Chicago Urban League, and as the interim president of the DuSable Museum of African American History.
The daughter of Useni Perkins, Julia Perkins is the founder and chief strategist of MBMD Strategic Consultants LLC. Julia previously served as community programs director at The Art Institute of Chicago. Julia received her B.A. in Marketing Research from DePaul University and M.A. in Arts Administration from the School of The Art Institute of Chicago. Perkins is the coauthor of "Mapping Cultural Participation in Chicago," University of Chicago Cultural Policy Center.
Recorded Saturday, July 14, 2012 at the South Side Community Art Center.