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After School Matters:
Shaping the Future

In commemoration of the 30th anniversary for After School Matters, Shaping the Future celebrates work created by teens in the programs over the past three decades. It features dance performances, mosaics, and music created by Chicago teens—both past and present. All the music was composed by musicians in the Future Music Creators program, led by Gerald Bailey with additional musical support by Alejandro Ayala.

Art on theMART is the largest permanent digital art projection in the world, projecting contemporary artwork across the 2.5-acre river-façade of theMART.  Projections are visible to the public from Wacker Drive and along the Chicago Riverwalk.

Photos by Jon Shaft

Video courtesy of Art on theMART

Echoes: Sight, Sound, Touch is a collaboration between Eric Von Haynes/Flatlands Press and Lisa Armstrong. A call-and-response between the artists, the work tracks growth and healing over time. The installation explores the forms of sound, light, and print in the reconstruction of memories. 

An Exploration in Slow media, images that evoke memories are distilled and sequenced for projections in space. The artists interlaced tones from plant biofeedback, as well as field recordings, to create a layered soundscape resonating with the floating images.

Handmade seed paper is an offering to participants during the exhibit to take and grow at home. Documenting changes over time in plant matter, the work asks, how are memories stored in the mundane? How do we grow and heal over time? And what are the memory markers that help us construct meaning?

Thank you to the Graphic Design Program at CalArts for providing funding for this project through the Alumnx Seed Grant.

City Circle Heart features the work of  five studio artists with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The projection is a compilation of colorful, abstract images that are knitted together in a dynamic moving image display that will attract people of all abilities to appreciate the movement, colors and unique soundscape. Participating artists are Marcelo Añón, Veronica Cuculich, Stefan Harhaj, Hector Jones and Maria Vanik with motion graphics by Lisa Armstrong and sound design by Chris Kalis.

Arts of Life is a nonprofit arts organization that advances the creative arts community by providing artists with intellectual and developmental disabilities a collective space to expand their practice and strengthen their leadership.


Participation by Design

In 2017, I began a series of social design projects centered around empathy, including a participatory installation about sexual harassment and assault on college campuses, a soft sculpture making workshop, and a publication documenting and giving historical context for the works.

I looked to feminist pedagogical models from history, like Sheila Levrant de Bretteville’s Women’s Design Program at California Institute of the Arts in the early 1970’s. At CalArts and at the Woman’s Building in Los Angeles (which she co-founded with Arlene Raven and Judy Chicago) Sheila structured design workshops centered around addressing social issues like sexism, racism, and inequality.

The projects were also informed by the writing of activist, author, and facilitator adrienne maree brown. In her book, Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds (2017), brown analyzes the science fictional models of author, Octavia Butler, and the strategies her characters use in books like Parable of the Sower (1993) and Dawn (1987) as a means for organizing social change.



Tiled paper wallpaper and soft sculpture shown in the EMP(H)ATHY group show. Curated by Beth Fiedorek, featuring work by brd, Carolina Hicks, Beth Fiedorek, Luka Fisher, Ariel Navas, Hannah Peterson, Vickie Aravindhan, and Richard Van.

© lisa glenn armstrong ︎ 2024