Little Village Dreams: A Neighborhood Coloring Book & Mural of Stories
Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO), Edith Tovar, Jocelyn Vazquez-Gomez, William Estrada
About Little Village Dreams: A Neighborhood Coloring Book & Mural of Stories
Through a series of community events, Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO), in collaboration with William Estrada’s Mobile Street Art Cart Project, engaged with people from the neighborhood to address how we can work together for a healthier community in Little Village and beyond.
Residents were asked to reimagine what environmental justice looks like to them through art workshops, information sessions, and community gatherings where we shared space, engaged in discussions, and celebrated with each other.
A coloring book was created through the community-based workshops, and select pages from the coloring book were enlarged and included in a mural, which will be collaboratively painted by the community.
The mural created is a culmination of a three-year project rooted in conversations with people most affected by unjust environmental practices. The project aims to center people-powered solutions through arts based research practices that invite people in their neighborhood to begin imagining solutions to air pollution and other environmental and social justice issues.
The coloring book and mural are small puzzle pieces in the organizing taking place in Little Village that generates engagement in environmental justice campaign work, and invites people to imagine and share their dreams for Little Village.
Neighborhood: Little Village
Art Type: Coloring Book + Mural
Grant Amount: $30,600
Click on each image to enlarge and to see the photo caption.
About the Artists
William Estrada is an arts educator and multidisciplinary artist. His art and teaching are a collaborative discourse that critically re-examines public and private spaces with people to engage in radical imagination.
He is currently a faculty member at the UIC School of Art and Art History and a teaching artist at Telpochcalli Elementary School. William is engaging in collaborative work with the Mobilize Creative Collaborative, Chicago ACT Collective, and Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative. His current research is focused on developing community based and culturally relevant projects that center power structures of race, economy, and cultural access in contested spaces to collectively imagine just futures.
William is focused on generating responsive works of art in public spaces. Emphasizing community-based art education practices, Estrada amplifies the radical creativity present in marginalized spaces and the importance of honoring existing legacies, memories, familial traditions, and daily practices. Through play, social justice, and culturally responsive art education, he invites people to radically imagine and articulate their collective needs. Centering joy in our everyday lives as radical moments that permit reimagining our interconnectivity and reliance on each other.
Edith Tovar is the Senior Just Transition Organizer at the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO). Edith is a life-long resident of La Villita community. As a first generation college student and youngest of four, she obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Spanish-Economics with a minor in Political Science, & her Master’s in Urban Planning and Policy from the the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs at UIC with a concentration in Environmental Planning and Policy.
Edith currently supports the Hell No Hilco campaign addressing environmental, labor, and public health concerns around the Exchange 55 warehouse. She is also involved with Juntos por La Villita, a coalition group that is leading the fight to save the Discount Mall on 26th Street.
Edith is also part of regional efforts with the IL Green New Deal to demand elected officials Hold The Line on the Build Back Better bill and supporting Climate Justice Alliance to form a Midwest Chapter to address and uplift EJ campaigns across The Great Lakes.
Jocelyn Vazquez -Gomez is a Just Transition Organizer at the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO). She has dedicated her studies and work to understanding how communities are dealing with environmental concerns that were prompted by a failure of a plan or a failure to enforce proper zoning or negligible practices in housing, land use, infrastructure, and sanitation.
When understanding the factors that perpetuate injustice and oppression in the way cities are constructed, Jocelyn hopes to address racial and economic inequality in Chicago by encouraging community participation and collaboration to plan effective interventions to advance social justice. Jocelyn also enjoys creating art and uses her art as a form of activism and education.
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