MLK DAY 2024: Yesterdays, Todays, and Tomorrows

Monday, Jan 15, 2024 11 am – 3 pm

5020 S. Cornell
Chicago, IL 60615

Hyde Park Art Center, the renowned non-profit hub for contemporary art located on Chicago’s vibrant South Side, proudly presents a free public Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration MLK DAY 2024: Yesterdays, Todays, and Tomorrows on Monday, January 15, 2024, from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. at 5020 South Cornell Avenue. Eclectic programming for all ages celebrating Black creators and artists includes art making inspired by artists Candace Hunter and Robert Earl Paige, an artist talk with Candace Hunter and scholar Kimberly Harmon, a pop-up bookshop, a live music performance by the Civic Orchestra of Chicago Chamber Ensemble, and more. Registration is recommended at


Art Making Activity: Folklore and Shadow Figures 

11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Participants can create their own shadow figures inspired by the silhouettes featured in current exhibition Candace Hunter: The Alien-Nations and Sovereign States of Octavia E Butler, and the characters found in traditional Black folklore. Participants will also have the opportunity to create their own folklore, and perform using their cut-outs in a shadow puppet show.


Semicolon Bookstore Pop-Up Shop

11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

An Afrofuturism and Science-Fiction pop-up book shop curated by local Black woman owned bookstore Semicolon Bookstore & Gallery, in honor of Candace Hunter: The Alien-Nations and Sovereign States of Octavia E Butler. Founded in 2019, Semicolon is dedicated to bridging the literacy gap among minoritized communities by providing access to and building interest in books, focusing on the community aspect of bookselling by putting on author events, and hosting #ClearTheShelves programming that allows CPS students to take books free of charge.


Open Arts Studio and Art Making Activity: Found Object Printmaking
11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Bottles, sponges, cardboard, and other recyclables are perfect for creating vivid textures and awesome abstract designs! Participants explore printmaking by creating unique prints using these common household items, inspired by the “Everyday Art” practice of Robert Earl Paige, whose exhibition will open in Spring 2024 at the Art Center. All materials are provided.


The Future is Breath: An Artist Talk on Afrofuturism and Speculative Fiction 

12 – 1:30 p.m.

A conversation about The Alien-Nations and Sovereign States of Octavia E Butler with Candace Hunter moderated by scholar, Kimberly Harmon. The conversation will focus on the shared sense of world-building within Octavia’s literary work and Hunter’s installation, the legacy and impact of Black science fiction writer Octavia Butler, and Afro-futurism verses Speculative Fiction as a literary genre. The title of the program, "The Future is Breath," addresses the current conversations surrounding the Black Lives Matter Movement while highlighting conceptual ideas relating to the future of Black people and their evolution in lieu of the grief surrounding Black death. 


Civic Orchestra of Chicago Chamber Ensemble performing music by Black Composers
2 – 2:45 p.m

Members of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago will present a performance honoring the legacy of Black American composers.


About Hyde Park Art Center

Hyde Park Art Center, at 5020 South Cornell Avenue on Chicago’s vibrant South Side, is a hub for contemporary arts in Chicago, serving as a gathering and production space for artists and the broader community to cultivate ideas, impact social change, and connect with new networks. Since its inception in 1939, Hyde Park Art Center has grown from a small collective of artists to establishing a strong legacy of innovative development and emerging as a unique Chicago arts institution with social impact. The Art Center functions as an amplifier for today and tomorrow’s creative voices, providing the space to cultivate and create new work and connections. 

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