"This piece is based on the future of the former Michael Reese Hospital site in Bronzeville as a mixed-use/mixed-income community with a boutique, multi-lane bowling alley, multi-screen movie theater, high-rise boutique apartments, hotel, office towers, a civic center, African-American restaurants, shops, galleries, townhouses, etc."
- 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 redesign 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 creates a world full of opportunity, design, beauty, and intricacy.
“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 ever since. He has been employed by Thresholds in janitorial services for the past 25 years and has also been an active participant in an open studio art group there. 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 that “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.
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