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WILD YAMS: Black Mothers Artist Residency at THE cre.æ.tive ROOM

“No other creative field is as closed to those who are not white and male as is the visual arts. After I decided to be an artist, the first thing that I had to believe was that I, a black woman, could penetrate the art scene, and that, further, I could do so without sacrificing one iota of my blackness or my femaleness or my humanity.” Faith Ringgold, Artist + Activist + Mother

The Founders, Clemenstein Love, THE cre.æ.tive ROOM and Wisdom Baty WILD YAMS: Black Mothers Artist Residency

Wisdom Baty, a UIC Alumna with a major in Art & Design and minor in African American Studies, established WILD YAMS: Black Mothers Artist Residency (WY) in 2019.  WILD YAMS is a creative experience designed to support, uplift and encourage Studio Practice sustainability for Black Mother Artists + Caretakers. Baty, a Black Mother + Artist, recognizes the sacrifices of Mothers and Caretakers, especially the postponement of creative passions in order to raise families. WY aims to build creative partnerships and allies, while developing an arts equity model centered on Black Mothers’ extreme vulnerability and lack of systematic support in the arts sector. 

Recognizing the importance of place + community, in 2021 WY secured a new partnership with THE cre.æ.tive ROOM (TCR), an Art + Design Collaboratorium studio. TCR was founded in 2015 by Interior Architect, Clemenstein Love, as a spatial platform for Women Creators of Color to “imagine, create, and envision” their very own Studio Practice. TCR is located on the southside’s Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood.  WY at TCR now includes three individual-artist studios, gallery, lecture-workshop room, office workspace, and outdoor studio-garden. The unique intersectional and intergenerational collaboration of WY at TCR highlights the criticality of centering safe BLACK – Space, Creativity and Motherhood.

WILD YAMS is named after a root used to support women’s reproductive health and inspired by late author bell hooks’ book embracing Black Women’s emotional health, Sisters of the Yam. WY’s pilot 2019 Cohort was funded with a Propeller Fund Grant, (administered by Gallery 400 and Threewalls). The third iteration 2021-22 Cohort was sponsored by TCR and is comprised of Dionne Victoria-Milton and Lashon Fouché. WY at TCR residency model provides space + time for Artists and Makers to identify goals for their Studio Practice, strategies for intention and engagement, plans for solo-group exhibitions, host public-private events, and implement art interventions. 

In Black Culture, Art is a proactive coping communication mechanism.  An Artist Residency program benefits the individual artist and their community. WY at TCR residency model challenges the residency framework by presenting solutions to the unjust disadvantage of racial, gender, and economic misallocation in the arts sector. WY tackles many obstacles in maintaining safe, creative space, support systems and resources for Black Mother Artists.  With intentional vision, WILD YAMS at THE cre.æ.tive ROOM will continue to develop a distinctive residency model for its growing collective members and community members.

WILD YAMS at THE cre.æ.tive ROOM partnership is a unified collaboration, created by Black Women for Black Women, with missions committed to equity and access through the Arts on the Southside of Chicago. Follow WILD YAMS and THE cre.æ.tive ROOM on their social media platforms to learn more about upcoming events. 

“I’m a believer in the power of knowledge and the ferocity of beauty, so from my point of view, your life is already artful – waiting, just waiting for you to make it art.” Toni Morison, Novelist + Activist + Mother

WILD YAMS: Black Mothers Artist Residency at THE cre.æ.tive ROOM

7034 S Martin Luther King Dr. Chicago, IL 60637


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