"Chicago is a Black Woman that forgot her roots."

-Kush Thompson


Humble Beginnings: YOUmedia Summer Soul Session Chance

Before he was Chance the Rapper, he was just Chance…a Chicago teen in our YOUmedia program, rapping for our YouTube channel.

See him — and a bajillion other great artists — at this weekend’s Lollapalooza! 


A young Chance the Rapper’s dedication to Chicago.


Pivot Gang @ YouMedia. 


Dedication to the YOU in Media. Poem by Malcolm London. 

Here is an amazing photo by YOUmedia Photographer: Katie


Falling Victim to Technology

Artist Statement: My old computer monitor that stopped working, I decided to smash it with a sledgehammer, put on some fake cuts and blood and stick my arms in it. Multiple pictures put together in this one, one each for the arms, one for the ground where I forgot to hide my cup of blood, two for the fingertips on the sides of the screen, and the original. Cropped it, played with the levels and the colors and voila.

*Click photo to see a video of the set up.

YOUmedia and TMBP

YOUmedia has been approaching Mark Bradford and his work from a critical perspective. Who is Mark? What is his art trying to say to us?

We’ve been analyzing who Mark Bradford is as an artist and we’ve been diving deep into his works of art. We are working to understand and trying to deconstruct the works with questions about authorship, format, audience, message, and purpose. We believe this breakdown of the artist and his work are critical keys to better connecting the living artist to art. It makes for a landscape of learning that is real, engaging, and socially connected.

The Mark Bradford Project happens on Mondays at YOUmedia. YOUmedia students are free to create project proposals and/or pick from a series of project prompts presented by various YOUmedia mentors. Students can work directly with these mentors throughout the duration of the project and through various media (digital design, spoken word, music, and video production).


YOUmedia has a social learning network ( where The Mark Bradford Project exists in a virtual group space online: mentors, the MCA, and Mark Bradford himself can support, critique, and provide resources to students anytime and virtually any place. As for the students, YOUmedia Online is a safe space to present works in progress, critique, and communicate with the resident artist from the MCA.

 YOUmedia is a creative space where students can take their understanding of Mark Bradford and his art to create new works of contemporary art. These new works can be inspired by the artist himself, or themes, critical questions, and/or responses to the works presented. Our librarians support students by helping them research and reference the great wealth of resources in the library.

The Mark Bradford Project is a model for how students should be able to connect to artists and institutions for the purpose of engaging in serious critique and supported creativity. They will make these fulfilling learning experiences real world pathways to express ideas and new forms of art in the community.

Students at YOUmedia will focus on the following themes: *Mapping *Collage *Video *Layering *Mixed Media

— Mike Hawkins, YOUmedia Coordinator, YOUmedia and Digital Youth Network;                  Photo by Mike Hawkins.

Watch on

I saw Dr. Nicole Pinkard give a talk about her work with YouMedia and Digital Youth Networks in Chicago. I am sure that there will be more posts and thoughts about their work in the future but I wanted to pass along the presentation. You can see her full presentation here. It is worth a watch, you can skip the introduction and the panel after if 2 hours is too long of a committment and just watch Dr. Pinkard’s 45 minute presentation.

Above, you can watch an interview with Dr. Pinkard from a tpt produced special on learning in the 21st century. (Which was embed-able unlike the presentation linked above)


Women’s Audio Mission (WAM) is a San Francisco-based nonprofit organization that is dedicated to the advancement of women in music production and the recording arts, a field in which women are critically under-represented (less than 5%).  WAM is changing the face of sound by providing women and girls with access to and training in music production and the techniques and technology used in the recording arts.  In an era that is increasingly dependent on technology, WAM believes that women’s participation in this field will expand the voice of music and media, ensuring that women’s ideas, interests, and points of view are conveyed throughout our culture and society.


Some of our Chicago GEAR UP teachers met up at YouMedia @ Chicago Public Library for a connected learning experience, to start using multimedia practices in their curriculum. Here is a video of them dabbling with music production, graphic design, video editing, and stop motion animation.


The Air I Breathe…

Video Inspired by Mark Bradford
17-year-old Shaondell Black created “The Air I Breathe,” a video based on Mark Bradford’s video “PRACTICE.”

Mark Bradford’s video “PRACTICE.”—->​watch?v=rM3x0XOll30


The Mark Bradford Project connects MacArthur Fellow and contemporary artist Mark Bradford with various Chicago communities to interact around the creative process. Over the course of a year, Bradford will serve as a catalyst for ongoing discussions and community engagement projects, including interactions with students at Lindblom Math and Science Academy as well as teenagers in Chicago Public Library’s YOUmedia program.

A New Journey Begins

In which I talk about starting my new professional journey and hope you come along with me

I haven’t written much about my professional life since graduating Library School because it’s been pretty fucking depressing. It took me 6 months to find a  very part time job as a Library Associate– a position for which I was over qualified and underpaid. But I had to take something… anythingso I accepted it and got a second job waiting tables to pay the bills… mostly. I am extraordinarily…

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