Applied Words: Class and Opportunity, Hosted by the Guild Literary Complex 

Moderated by Bess Williamson

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

7:00-9:30 PM

filmfront, 1740 W 18th St, Pilsen, Chicago, Illinois, 60608


April’s Applied Words event, hosted by the Guild Literary Complex, combines a performance and a panel looking at access and the arts. This month’s performance includes multimedia pieces curated by Ladan Osman, an activist and poet. Ladan’s curation comes from her work with The Blueshift Journal and their latest project release, “Loom Radiant,” linked here under “Chicago” – https://www.theblueshiftjournal.com/loom-radiant .

Several artists from the project will display their work including Amina Ross, A.J. McClenon, Zachary Nicol, and Tavia K. David.

After the performances (about​ ​an hour), there will be a panel discussion on what accessibility to the arts looks like in terms of race, class, and anti-ableism. We want to push the conversation towards questions like “How do museum fees and rising higher education rates, limit citizens ability to access art?” or “How can we, as artists, make our work more accessible to people, both in terms of physical location and socio-economic ability?

The panel will be moderated by Bess Williamson​, ​ Assistant Professor of Art History, Theory and Criticism​ and be ​comprised of Ross Jordan, Curatorial Manager​ ​for​ ​the Jane Adams Hull​-​House, Rachel​ ​Webster,​ ​Associate ​P​rofessor of ​I​nstruction and​ ​Director of the English Major in Writing,​ ​and Ladan Osman,​ ​an activist, poet, and teacher​.


filmfront is a cine-club located in chicago’s pilsen neighborhood. selected programs draw from overlapping spheres of global, classic, documentary, experimental and local cinema. situated at the core of a diverse community, our storefront venue invites a cross-cultural dialogue in the form of discussions, panels, lectures, and exhibitions in addition to our regular screenings.



Meet your Artists for the night


Tonight’s artistic curator Ladan Osman is the author of The Kitchen-Dweller’s Testimony. Her writing and photographs have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Columbia Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, Rumpus, Transition, and Washington Square Review. Osman is co-editor at Roar Magazine, and a contributing culture editor for The Blueshift Journal. She lives in Brooklyn.


Tavia David is an artist from Chicago IL. She currently lives and works in Chicago.


A.J. McClenon is a writer, performer and interdisciplinary visual & sound artist based in Chicago. A.J. McClenon’s work sets personal narratives alongside empirical data, leveling hierarchies of truth. McClenon works across mediums incorporating aspects of sound, film, video, drawing, animation and collage throughout their work. 

McClenon holds a Masters in Fine Arts with an emphasis in writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. McClenon received a Bachelor of Arts with a minor in creative writing from the University of Maryland College Park. McClenon has also studied at Eugene Lang College. McClenon is currently an educator at the Montessori Academy of Chicago and is co-organizer of Beauty Breaks, an intergenerational beauty and wellness workshop series for black people along the spectrum of femininity.

McClenon has received numerous awards for their writing and art works. McClenon received the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s (SAIC) MFA Writing Fellowship award in 2014 and SAIC’s MFAW small grant in 2012. McClenon also is also a recipient of the Paula Santan Scholarhip for Art and Stephanie E. Pogue Memorial Award. A.J. McClenon’s writing has been published widely, most recently their works have been published in the South Side Community Art Center Anniversary publication, 3rd Language and Stylus Literary Magazine.


Zachary Nicol is an artist and performer based in Chicago, IL. He graduated with a B.S. in Theatre from Northwestern University.


Amina Ross is an undisciplinedartist engaged in the reevaluation of visual and written language. As of late Amina’s interests have led to an exploration of conceptions of Body and Beauty within communities dedicated to alternative modes of healing. Amina’s process is consciously constructed and highly collaborative.
Amina is committed to creating spaces that foster thinking, conversation, growth and love. These ambitions manifested in the founding of 3rd Language (2011-2015), queer arts collective; which has received the Propeller Fund grant and Davis Foundation awards for its summer workshops series. Currently these ambitions manifest themselves in Beauty Breaks, (beautybreaks.info), a participatory art project and workshop series developed during Amina’s fellowship at the Stony Island Arts Bank. Amina is currently Co-Lead artist of Teen Creative Agency at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.

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