Hyde Park Art Center, the renowned non-profit hub for contemporary art located on Chicago’s vibrant South Side, announces Multiples and Multitudes, the first solo exhibition of Chicago-based Mexican American artist and educator William Estrada whose socially engaged practice has been rooted in Chicago neighborhoods for the last twenty years. Works in print, photography, performance and video, developed during the artist’s 2021 residency at the art center, will be presented to highlight Estrada’s unwavering commitment to political activism through art. William Estrada: Multiples and Multitudes will be on view at the Hyde Park Art Center from July 22 to October 29, 2023.
Multiples and Multitudes will reprise in one exhibition Estrada’s various public projects from the past, such as RADICAL Printshop, a pop-up print shop that takes residence in communal spaces; Mobile Street Art Cart, a printing studio on wheels designed to offer art workshops anywhere; and Arte with Maestro William, a bilingual YouTube channel where Estrada teaches art lessons for families to follow from home. These projects have been designed as invitations for others to create, venues for the artist’s performative community interventions, and visual artworks in their own right. Taking the form of video works, prints, installations, and sculptures, these artworks will be activated by the artist during impromptu and planned performative events throughout the exhibition that invite community members to participate and create art.
Estrada shares reflections on his first solo exhibition as a milestone, “As I prepare to be an exhibiting artist at the Hyde Park Art Center, I reflect on how my teaching and artistic practice have grown over the last twenty years. HPAC has been a big part of that growth, and it has been a space where people have encouraged me to be playful, bring joy, and complicate the relationship between making art and teaching. I'm excited to play with concepts that continue to push me out of my comfort zone and in the process learn about the possibilities that exist in collaborating with people in their community. It brings me so much joy to know that HPAC once again is encouraging and providing a space to explore what my practice can look like through this exhibition.”
The title of the exhibition, Multiples and Multitudes, emphasizes the values of accessibility and collectivity that are ingrained in Estrada’s work. Collective making is a core value of his practice. Estrada’s prints often leave space for participants to intervene in their own voice, as in “Mad Libs.” Allowing for the work to be completed and owned by participants. To recognize the collaborative spirit of Estrada’s work, the exhibition will bring together works by the artist, his collaborators, and students.
Through collaborations with youth, community members, teachers, and artists, Estrada aims to reimagine public and educational spaces to unite people and amplify local voices, creating space for others to express themselves artistically and politically. Drawing inspiration from the Chicano Art Movement in the United States and Taller de Grafica Popular in Mexico City–two movements committed to using art as a tool to circulate relevant sociopolitical messages–Estrada’s work is radically accessible to communities in form and content. His work lives in schools, public parks, and community centers, can be reproduced inexpensively or found online, and is made by, with, and for community members.
Multiples and Multitudes is curated by Mariela Acuña, Exhibitions & Residency Manager, in collaboration with the artist. Educational materials describing Estrada’s process and practice, including an introductory video, brochure, and labels, will be presented in both English and Spanish.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
William Estrada is an arts educator and multidisciplinary artist. His art and teaching are a collaborative discourse that critically re-examines public and private spaces with people to engage in radical imagination. He has presented in various panels regarding community programming, arts integration, and social justice curricula. He is currently a faculty member at the UIC School of Art and Art History and a teaching artist at Telpochcalli Elementary School. William is engaging in collaborative work with the Mobilize Creative Collaborative, Chicago ACT Collective, and Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative. His current research is focused on developing community based and culturally relevant projects that center power structures of race, economy, and cultural access in contested spaces that provide a space to collectively imagine just futures.
ABOUT THE 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, production, and exhibition 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 risk-taking and experimentation, emerging as a unique Chicago arts institution with social impact. Today, the Art Center offers a diverse suite of programs for artists and art lovers of all backgrounds, ages, and stages in their careers including: contemporary art exhibitions in six galleries; open-access community-based school with 1,500 annual enrollments; weekly arts education to 1,000 elementary school students in public schools; weekly and summer teen programs for 100 teen artists; professional-advancement programs for artists; a local and international artist residency; and public programs that connects residents with Chicago art and artists .The Art Center functions as an amplifier for creative voices of today and tomorrow, providing the space to cultivate new work and connections. For more information, please visit www.hydeparkart.org.