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Passion to Profession: Liberation Landscapes

Program Description

Young creators and emerging professionals are invited to join an intergenerational conversation about turning your passion into a profession.

Envision a future of more sustainable and inclusive urban planning and community space-making activism through a Black femme lens. Hear from local social architects Party Noire founders Nickecia “Nick” Alder and Rae Chardonnay Taylor, Brown Skin Lady Show creator Jasmine A. Barber, and founders Zola Chatman, Choya Weber, Onyx Engobor, and Lucy Stoole of Molasses collective about how they are shaping new inclusive social landscapes.

Passion to Profession is a workshop series created by artists Anisa Olufemi and Jada-Amina Harvey that aims to create a welcoming, informative, and productive space for youth and professional artists to imagine pathways to a sustainable career in the arts.

Youth-led events highlight Chicago artists under 21 years old and are organized by Grace Needlman, Manager of Youth and Family Programs.


About the Curators

Jada-Amina is an interdisciplinary visual artist, art worker, teaching artist, and curator interested in creating alternative and experimental spaces for youth and other crucial community stakeholders to explore and enrich their creative understandings, possibilities, and aspirations.

Anisa Olufemi is an independent curator and interdisciplinary artist pursuing her BFA with a focus in art histories of the African Diaspora. She hopes to contribute to the ongoing conversation around arts education accessibility and POC art space inclusion through Passion to Profession, a series of workshops.

About the Speakers

  • The #‎PartyNoire community is an inclusive cultural hub celebrating Black femmes, QWOC, + Black womynhood along the gender spectrum and holds space especially for queer, trans and genderqueer and gender nonconforming Black people. We create experiences and intentional space for uplifting and affirming the lives of Black womyn. When in this intersectional orbit of #BlackJoy, our space and love uplifts and makes SPACE for ALL Black Joy.

Website | @partynoire

Nickecia “Nick” Alder is the founder and editor-in-chief of Black Girl Fly Magazine and cofounder of Party Noire. She is a doctoral candidate and researcher, and digital content creator and strategist, engineering online communities and digital stories that celebrate the complexities of Black women and girls. As a researcher, she interrogates the intersections of media representation of Black women and racial and gender identity. Adler is a multifaceted creative with a passion for shaping brands through strong digital and social media storytelling especially for Black millennial women. Her background in community mental health and therapeutic practices adds to her toolbox for connecting with people both in physical and digital spaces. When she is not juggling all of the above, she is collecting sneakers, capturing photographs or tweeting her favorite GIFs.

Rae Chardonnay Taylor is a DJ and arts administrator with a background in events management and production. She began deejaying in 2010 and has since held residencies at venues in Chicago including Underground Wonder Bar and The Promontory and has circulated many private and public events to share her musical styling techniques. She is the Founder of Black Eutopia, a series of segmented programming intended to cultivate space for marginalized communities. She is also a cofounder of Party Noire. Taylor utilizes her passion for activism to create community outreach and development strategies through event coordination. Her involvement in programs at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Stony Island Arts Bank, School of the Art Institute and various arts organizations have catapulted her career in unimaginable ways. She is dedicated to encouraging a life of open-minded learning and expression.

  • Molasses is a Chicago-based collective manifested by and for Black, trans and gender-nonconforming (TGNC) artists and organizers. The name Molasses, a substance with several ties to the history and power of Blackness, represents who is most centered in our purpose and work as a collective. Molasses aims to create both community and opportunity for Black trans and gender-variant people and queer people of color through cultural work, coalition-building, and linkage to (self)care. Formed by Zola Chatman, Choya Weber, Onyx Engobor, and Lucy Stoole in March 2019, Molasses most recently acquired a DIY space in Pilsen, Chicago and are currently building a model for a DIY community space called North Star. North Star will be a sanctuary and gathering place for Black and Brown TGNC individuals and will offer a variety of programming for folx within the community.
  • Website | @molasseschicago
  • Presenters: Onyx Engobor, Zola Chatman

Panelists: Lucy Stoole, Choya Weber

  • Dedicated to the empowerment and promotion of black and brown women artists in Chicago and beyond, the Brown Skin Lady Show was created to highlight, uplift, and provide space to empower Black and Brown women in the arts.

Website | @oprah_gucci

Also known as the rapper J Bambii, Jasmine A. Barber is an artist, educator, tarot reader, and cartoon-lover from the South Side of Chicago. She is the founder and creator of The Brown Skin Lady Show and the community healing initiative called “Come Together.” Barber released a tape called “RETROGRADE” under her alias. She is currently working on another body of music and more community-focused events.

After taking a break from dance to focus on event coordination within the LGBT+ community, Lynzo The Heartthrob now lends a heavy hand behind-the-scenes of Chicago's artistic talent. The powerhouse dancer is a writer, social media consultant for young artists' businesses, rapper/poet, stylist for plus-sized performers—all while continuing to prioritize black queer youth's proper access to larger platforms. The Heartthrob's driving force is ultimately seeing the public education system improve. The Heartthrob believes performing while navigating asthma and being an independent artist while adjusting to one's ADHD are common experiences not often talked about. Their advocacy for the awareness of asthma and ADHD originates from experiencing a lack of acknowledgment and inquiry about such disabilities. Whether it be movements on stage or writing backstage, Lynzo The Heartthrob is informing others on a host of pressing issues hoping that they somehow resonate with our communities.


Our teen programs aim to build a generation of connected, creative collaborators. Pictured: Kuumba Lynx performing at 21Minus 2018, an annual festival of artists under 21, curated by the Teen Creative Agency, Jun 16, 2018

Photo: Grace DuVal © MCA Chicago

At the MCA, young people not only view but engage with contemporary art and artists. The MCA makes museum resources accessible to youth so that they may dream, plan, and create responses to the issues that are important to them.