Public Art at the Intersection of Gentrification and Resistance

Friday, June 14, 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm

In the face of economic gentrification, public art and artists are frequently vulnerable to displacement. Featuring artists, community organizers, and administrators, this session explores how public art is coming under attack and how its stewards are responding and also using public art as a tool of community agency and resistance.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Discover recent case studies in which public art has been a victim of gentrification, and how communities have responded.
  2. Explore how public art can be a mechanism for resistance and community history.
  3. Discuss how public art can survive and thrive, while avoiding becoming part of gentrification itself.


Tracie Hall
The Joyce Foundation
Chicago, Illinois

Prior to her appointment as Director of the Joyce Foundation’s Culture Program, Tracie D. Hall served as Deputy Commissioner of Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events where she oversaw the Arts and Creative Industries Division.Hall has also served as Vice President of Strategy and Organizational Development at Queens Library in New York City; at Boeing Company’s Global Corporate Citizenship Division where she worked as Community Investment Strategist and later as Chicago Community Investor; as Assistant Dean of Dominican University’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science; as Director of the Office for Diversity at the American Library Association; as visiting professor at Catholic, Southern Connecticut State, and Wesleyan Universities and in non-profit and public sector posts across the country.A recipient of various awards and residencies for her writing, creative and community work, Hall holds degrees from the University of California, Yale University and the University of Washington. She is Founding Curator of experimental arts space, Rootwork Gallery, and makes time to serve on various non-profit boards and committees.

Linda Fernandez
Visual Artist and Educator

Linda Fernandez is a visual artist and educator who believes that art is a powerful tool and envisions its potential to drive social change. She is a founding member of Amber Art and Design, an artist collective based in Philadelphia that focuses on community engagement and public art. Amber Art creates experiences that connect people at all social, political and economic levels. Their form of socially engaged art evokes histories and narratives of marginalized people and seeks to encourage dialogue about race, class and equity in cities.  An alumni of National Urban Fellows, she is passionate about the connection between the arts and the public sector. In 2018 she received the Philip J. Rutledge award for her research on the role of artists in anti-displacement. Throughout her career, Linda has been dedicated to public education. She is a certified K-12 Art Educator and an advocate for increased funding for school based arts programs. She is also a lifelong learner with a Bachelor’s degree in Art Education from Tyler School of Art, a certificate in Contemporary Art from Metafora Escola de Arte Contemporaneo in Barcelona, Spain, and a Master’s in Public Administration from Austin W. Marxe School of Public and International Affairs.

Sandra Antongiorgi
Post-Disciplinary Artist and Anti-Erasure Advocate

As a child born into a musical family in Puerto Rico, Sandra Antongiorgi was no stranger to the arts. When her family moved to Chicago at three years old, the tradition of celebrating milestones and events with music naturally followed.

In the third grade Antongiorgi’s interest in drawing emerged while watching a television ad for a DIY art starter kit. Antongiorgi began to create so many different characters that she got the attention of her teacher when she drew all over her desk. The teacher suggested art school. This transformative moment was the catalyst for self-learning, which carried Antongiorgi through a high school with a renowned arts program.

At 15 years old, Antongiorgi launched her visual arts career having had the unique opportunity to study under prominent local muralists and national artists, including contemporary pop artist Keith Haring. As a young artist Antongiorgi was influenced by the power and lasting impact of visual art, particularly pieces that provoked social awareness, emotional release and provided a voice for the community. Over the years, her gifted use of paint and formation of concept has led to scores of public art pieces, including murals and collaborations that today dot the Chicago landscape. Today, Antongiorgi’s work has been showcased in several museums and exhibitions, including The National Museum of Mexican Art, Zhou B Gallery and most recently, a solo exhibit at Advocate & Gochis Galleries in Los Angeles and the Center on Halsted Art Gallery.

In 2017, Antongiorgi’s mural collaboration, “Weaving Cultures,” won the Chicago Reader’s, "Best Mural of 2017". “Weaving Cultures” honors underrepresented women of color, including a transgender Latina. In 2018, “The Love I Vibrate,” a collaborative piece, made local headlines for the beauty and depiction of non-binary members of the community. That same year, one of Antongiorgi’s long-standing and iconic mural collaborations, “Es Tiempo de Recordar,” was whitewashed by the City. The controversy spurred Antongiorgi’s advocacy for the preservation of public art by pushing for a permanent public mural registry that preserves and protects cultural murals. Subsequently, a registry is being established this year to catalogue and commemorate outdoor murals across the City of Chicago and prevent complete removal or destruction.