"Here's another of many imaginary Bronzeville residential development situated at 48th and Calumet with new, elegant single-family townhouses. It's also on a vacant piece of land as a new African-American parade of houses and as a sign of an ongioing renaissance in the Black Metropolis (collectively known as NOrth-Kenwood/Oakland and Bronzeville)."
- Kenneth Williams
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"I am an artist, a creator of change."
Kenneth Williams believes his gift as an artist gives him the opportunity to be an agent of positive change. He uses his artistic talents to reimagine some of Chicago's most disadvantaged neighborhoods on the South and West sides of the city. He receives inspiration from vacant lots or boarded up neighborhoods, from which he projects a world of beauty, intricacy, vibrancy. In place of vacancy, he imagines opportunity.
“Without architecture we wouldn't have our cities, schools, houses, neighborhoods, or communities. Buildings help create the beauty of our neighborhoods. When I create, I draw what could be, not what is. If I see a vacant lot with boarded up buildings, I visualize it and draw it as a new neighborhood. I like the concept of urban redevelopment.”
Kenneth became connected with Thresholds - a social service provider for people with mental illness in Chicago - in the early 1990s, and has been working towards the life he desires for himself since. He is interested in various forms of personal growth work, including creative writing, music, and a peer support group, GROW. According to Kenneth, these are all important aids for coping with mental illness. He strongly believes "artists ought to build their communities up, not tear them down,” and that he was given his talents to help make Chicago - and the world - a better place.
ArtLifting champions artists impacted by disabilities and housing insecurity by connecting their art with socially-conscious customers . Learn more here.