About Our Work In Chicago

Right now, Chicago is being described as a violent city; We need to change the way our City’s story is told. Violence is not just gunshots and homicide statistics. Trauma is a collective, not individual, experience that ripples through families and neighborhoods. Transactional services that address the root causes of violence are essential: housing, workforce development, education. But we aspire to a bigger solution, where the people of this city, especially those who are underestimated, ignored and more affected by violence, don’t just survive – they thrive.rnrnConTextos provides the opportunity for people affected by violence to write and publish their personal stories in order to heal as individuals, families, and communities, to build empathy and change assumptions, and to author a new story of Chicago that lifts all voices.

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Chicago Programs

ConTextos uses the power of personal narrative to foster reflection and healing.

Authors Circle

The Authors Circle is a co-created space for exploration and discovery, that uses reading, writing and engaged dialogue as vehicles for transformation. Participants “read as writers” as they draft, revise, illustrate and publish their memoirs. Throughout the process, individuals learn to take and accept critical feedback, improve reading and writing skills, and reflect upon the past to imagine a different future.

Visual Arts

The ConTextos community has grown in so many ways, particularly our creative community and the need to supplement written memoirs with other creative outlets. Our outreach and engagement with Authors and Artists is intended to generate powerful new works focused on equity and justice that marry the potential of the literary and visual arts and spark dialogue across the city, with a focus on South and West side neighborhoods. rn

Alumni Programs

We recognize that after our youth graduate as Authors they continue to engage in the ConTextos community in order to receive additional support, access additional programming, engage friends, family and the broader community in the healing power of story.

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December 6, 2021

Can You See Me? Exhibition at Weinberg/Newton Gallery

Can you see me?  — on view at Weinberg/Newton Gallery, Arts + Public Life and SkyART from October 14 to December 17, 2022 — challenges viewers to reflect…

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December 6, 2021

Speaking Our Truths Inspires Hope

Chicago’s very own Kalief Dinkins is featured in the Smithsonian’s “Picturing The Obamas” Documentary!! “The story that you have is unique to you and it’s…

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November 12, 2022

Poetry Circle with The Poetry Foundation

Led by Contextos Alumni Author Tim Cox and Maggie Queeney of the Poetry Foundation, we will spend our time together exploring a wide range of contemporary poems, and experimenting with different forms of poems and poetry-writing practices. Lunch will be provided to registered Authors.

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Popular Books

Be Still and Know

Alexander Weatherspoon

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