Elgin mural, documentary project moves forward
The Elgin Social Justice Collective announces Risé Jones of Elgin as facilitator for the "Making Space: A Mural and Documentary" project. The documentary team will be led by Nicholas Richard-Thompson as creative director working with Digital Alliance Productions in Aurora.
"Making Space" was announced in late 2020 under the leadership of the Elgin Social Justice Collective. The project has received sponsorships from the Elgin Cultural Arts Commission, the Elgin Human Relations Commission, Side Street Studio Arts, and the Downtown Neighborhood Association, as well as a grant from the Illinois Department of Public Health in partnership with The Chicago Community Trust. The project is ready to move forward thanks to the assistance of fiscal sponsor and partner, the Elgin History Museum.
The project has four components: a permanent mural based on the board-ups that adorned the downtown during the summer of 2020, a documentary about the historic summer of 2020 and the project itself, a new scholarship program, and a Juneteenth partnership. In addition to overseeing these four components, the Elgin Social Justice Initiative is building space for community conversations about race, the arts, community leadership, and activism.
The goal is to engage established and emerging artists, community organizers, and service partners in reflective dialogue that both fosters expression and encourages action across generation and experience.
In addition to the Making Space community conversations, a DIY component will be made available to encourage community members to hold their own "Making Space" conversations. These conversations will be led by Jones, the project's facilitator.
"I am excited about the opportunity to co-create and share spaces for community members to not only reflect but also to consider important ways that they can contribute their voices and gifts, individually and collectively, in continuing to build an art-fully, beautiful Elgin," Jones said.
The project's documentary will be led by creative director Nicholas Richard-Thompson, communications coordinator for the city of Aurora.
"I believe the city of Elgin is creating something significant here by documenting a historic moment and allowing a space for community to be built," Richard-Thompson said. "As an organizer and filmmaker, I joined this project because these are the stories I desire to tell. A community in action, capturing the movements that shape us and the issues that plague us. Storytelling is an indispensable tool in the enduring fight for just and equitable communities -- and the world. Art and storytelling have always been libratory practices and disciplines, and I strive to carry that tradition in all of my work. I intend to observe, capture, and weave together a candid, vulnerable, and captivating story."
Kenneth Stevenson and Andrew Bennett with their production house, Digital Alliance will serve as executive producers along with the Elgin Social Justice Collective.
"The efforts by the Elgin community to create these murals resonated with us. We had been researching over the summer and had discussed with the director (Richard-Thompson) ways in which we might bring attention to the protests during the spring/summer of 2020. We are glad he told us about this artistic phenomenon. It felt like an inviting moment for us to come forward and show our love for our Black brothers and sisters," Kenneth Stevenson and Andrew Bennett, executive producers of the documentary, stated in a news release.
The documentary filming will begin soon with select interviews and site visits. The public is invited to submit any photos or videos of the protests that took place in Elgin during the summer of 2020 for possible inclusion in the documentary. To submit your content, visit: spaces.hightail.com/space/cY9eb8SU7b.
The Elgin Social Justice Collective is a group of community volunteers who came together to identify and develop a project that would address questions that arose during protests of this past summer.
Keep up to date and find out how you can support the project by liking and following the group at Facebook.com/ElginMakingSpace or checking the webpage (elginhistory.org/making-space) for updates. For sponsorship and other information, contact Amanda Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org.