Grey Coffee Fest

Mural in the Pilsen neighborhood by Irvin Ibarra and Nancy Sandoval, 2018. Photo: Irvin Ibarra.
Posters made by TCA members. Photo: Grace Needlman.


Chicago’s Southwest Side is home to many vibrant and unique Mexican-American communities. From fighting the pressures of gentrification, to promoting pride through street festivals, artists are leading urgent movements for visibility and change. Activists and artists Irvin Ibarra and Silvia Morales, from Pilsen and Little Village respectively, bring the pride and pressures of their neighborhoods to life with an interactive festival in the MCA Commons. Visit tents highlighting the history of Casa Aztlan, the role of coffee shops in gentrification, the challenges of college access for students with and without documents, and more.

Youth-led events, highlighting youth voices and open to visitors of all ages, are organized by Chicago artists under 21 with the support of the MCA’s Manager of Youth and Family Programs Grace Needlman.

About the Artists

Irvin Ibarra is a 17-year-old Pilsen artist and activist who works mainly as a photographer and video producer and is a senior at Benito Juarez Community Academy. “I'm motivated by my upbringing—my parents came from Mexico to the United States to give me the opportunity of being in a successful country; what I do is for the betterment of my family.”

Silvia Morales is an 18-year-old artist and activist born and raised in Little Village. Morales is an aspiring muralist who plans to have their own solo wall one day very soon. “The love for my community, my family, and myself fuels my need to be better human and a better artist.”