ELGIN-The Elgin History Museum has partnered with the Elgin Social Justice Collective to create a multi-faceted project that will involve a Juneteenth partnership, a permanent mural, a documentary and a scholarship. With a $10,000 Healing Illinois grant, they will document the peaceful protests of the summer of 2020 with their Making Space program.
In the summer of 2020, racial justice protests were happening in Elgin (and the rest of the country). Some of the local businesses decided it was best to board up their establishments. No looting occurred in the community; on the contrary, artists from the community decided to paint over some of the boards.
The documentary will provide a broad look at exactly how the arts were used as a tool within the Elgin community during last summer and at the entire process of creating the new mural. The mural will reflect the various art that was shown on the board-ups. The Juneteenth partnership will involve the unveiling of the mural and installation of art cubes. The art cubes will be a source of community engagement, by serving as a blank canvas, so that community members can paint them to express their experiences regarding the Black Lives Matter movement and its impact on their lives. The scholarship will be awarded to a student in Elgin who has demonstrated an interest in activism.
Amanda Harris, the project lead for Making Space, talks about how the goal of this project is to not only elevate and increase the capacity among the people who live in Elgin, but to show them what their voices have the power to do.
"This is such a collaborative project because people want to support this kind of work," said Harris. "I would hope that our community members would see a project and understand that they are able to do it."
Making Space is coming along with the help of the Elgin community. The documentary is set to wrap up production at the end of 2021, around the same time when the scholarships will be awarded. The community conversations occurred during April and May, and the mural is set to be unveiled at a Juneteenth celebration this summer. To learn more about this project, please click to visit the Elgin History Museum website.