C.J. Lind: March 2012 Archives

Artist Theaster Gates considers his Soul Food Pavilion to be more of an idea than a particular place: "It's the opportunity to make a space where amazing interactions can happen around the foods of black people."

As part of Feast, Gates is collaborating with chef Michael Kornick and Ericka Dudley, an expert on soul food who works with the University of Chicago's Civic Knowledge Project, as well as others to host a series of ritualized dinners at Dorchester Projects, a group of once-vacant homes in the Grand Crossing neighborhood on Chicago's South Side.

Sara Pooley captured the scene at the March 11 dinner, The Art of Soul:

That evening's menu included gumbo and conversation focused on "how we color our food -- the choice of color, intention and usefulness in food preparation, and how cooking can be viewed as an art practice."

Want to join in the soul food feast? Enter for a chance to receive an invitation to the dinners on April 15, May 6, or May 20. Guests will be chosen in part by lottery and contacted two weeks in advance.


Two views on combining art, food, math, and history in the classroom. Teachers are invited to learn more -- and earn some CPDUs -- at a potluck-style workshop with artist Laura Letinsky on April 13.

By Lisa Davis
Smart Museum Manger of Tour and Teacher Initiatives

Suffice it to say Valerie Hardy made my dreams come true. Valerie is a sixth grade science/ social science teacher at Jane A. Neil Elementary on the South Side of Chicago, who has over 25 years of experience in education. I met her this summer while participating in a study group on literacy and science, supported by the Chicago Foundation for Education.

This past fall we worked together to create Healthy Habits (PDF) -- an extensive, arts-integrated teacher resource for the science curriculum. When I joined the education team at the Smart last year one of my goals was to begin developing a library of teacher resources based on objects in the Museum's collection that would connect across disciplines. Most specifically I wanted to tackle those not typically thought of in conjunction with an art museum, such as math and science. When I originally proposed the idea of someone from the group helping me to write a teacher resource, Valerie jumped at the opportunity to do what she does best.

Valerie designed her lesson around Still-Life With Fruit and Flowers On a Draped Ledge -- one of the more popular pieces with the students. I wrote a tour based on the objectives of her unit and added a visual arts lesson as well. We then presented the resource in its entirety at one of the Smart's workshops to twelve very excited, inspired teachers. Collaborating with Valerie was an exceptional experience for me and I can't wait for the next time!

By Valerie Hardy
Teacher, Jane A. Neil Elementary School

I wanted to integrate Art, Health, Math and History with my 6th grade students and Lisa helped me in my mission.

Our 6th grade class had been studying the components of a good diet by using the government new Balance Plate format created by the government and introduced by the First Lady, Mrs. Obama.

The students could envision what they needed to eat, but had questions:

  1. What was missing when they ate at the fast food restaurants? What was the calorie count?
  2. Were their eating habits different from those of the past? What foods were they eating; possible calories? 
  3. What could cause a change in eating habits?
Creating a lesson plan, with Lisa's help, and incorporating the Smart's resources blended the four disciplines together and gave different areas where individual students could blossom. The teachers, at the presentation showed that they were willing to participate in each activity and share their ideas with all. It was great to be received with such fellowship among your colleagues.

How did the students respond? Excited, happy, and wanting to continue with other projects based on a well concealed treasure, the Smart Museum of Art. Collaborating with Lisa was a breath of spring and I hope we can continue where we left off.

Top: Michiel Simons, Still Life with Fruit and Flowers on a Draped Ledge, n.d., Oil on canvas. Smart Museum of Art, The University of Chicago, Gift of John Bryan, 2007.137.


"Have a dinner on March 14, and celebrate a woman who has made a contribution in your own home or your own community."

International Dinner Party 2012
Wednesday, March 14

Host a dinner, spread the word!

On the anniversary of Suzanne Lacy's landmark participatory performance International Dinner Party (1979), the artist and the Smart invite you to host a dinner party in your home that honors a woman from your area. For the original performance, Lacy engaged with women around the globe through some 200 dinners that took place over 24 hours across Africa, Asia, Europe, and North and South America. A giant map marking the location of the dinners plus an archive of telegrams, letters, and photos from participants are now on view at the Smart as part of Feast.

This time, we invite you to share your stories and images with us on Facebook. (Or you can mail or e-mail them to the Smart). Include who you are, who you are honoring, and any other message you would like posted for women to read.


About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries written by C.J. Lind in March 2012.

C.J. Lind: February 2012 is the previous archive.

C.J. Lind: May 2012 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Blog Description

This is an informal curatorial research blog for Feast: Radical Hospitality in Contemporary Art, an exhibition about the meal as a medium for contemporary artists. The exhibition opens at the University of Chicago’s Smart Museum of Art in February 2012.