The Silver Room Exhibition features solo and group art exhibitions and programming organized by Chicago-based guest curators. Exhibitions include the annual 100 Canvases auction and fundraiser for The Silver Room Sound System Block Party. To inquire about exhibition opportunities, contact email@example.com.
Center Spot: Nov '20-Jan '21
Art by Jacqueline Alcántara
“We dream about futbol. We dream about friends. Until the field calls again." - Baptiste Paul
Center Spot features mixed-media illustrations by Jacqueline Alcántara from the picture book, The Field written by Baptiste Paul.
This is a book about the joy and intergenerational connectedness of a community in St. Lucia through the lens of fútbol (soccer). In this selection of images from the book, every character has their moment in the spotlight; in the center. The care Alcántara gives to create each narrative-based vignette is apparent in the expressive lines, and vivid color work; capturing the movement and dynamic individuality of each character. Alcántara also gives great attention to the landscape and the locale, depicting vibrant shades of green and vividly colored houses that take on a character of their own. These diverse character representations embody universal themes such as teamwork, play, maintaining a youthful spirit, the importance of celebrating community and culture, and an embrace of dreams.
Picture books are some of the first artworks that we interact with and connect with as children. They provide us with a rich visual vocabulary and act as a cultural medium and translator through which we search for ourselves in the depictions of characters and their experiences. In spite of this, there is still a significant lack of books that not only feature characters of color, but that capture and care for the complexity and richness of diversity and experience of people of color. According to the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, in 2018 only 23 percent of picture books even featured characters of color. Although some strides have been made over the last few years in the literary industry, there is still a long way to go. How is the arts and cultural sector celebrating and supporting the artists, authors, and books making space to create these immensely formative and inclusive works?
More often than not, art in galleries and museums is primarily geared towards adult audiences. However, these diverse narrative-based images spark the imagination and inspire youth and adults to critically engage with art; providing an entry point and visual language for all.
Artist name: Jacqueline Alcántara - Website | LinkTree | Facebook | Instagram
Jacqueline Alcántara is a freelance illustrator and artist spending her days drawing, writing and globe trotting with her dog Possum. She is fueled by dance music, carbs and coffee. Jacqueline studied Secondary Art Education and taught high school art and photography before transitioning to illustration.
Her experience working with children has led her to focusing on children’s literature and specifically in pursuit of projects featuring a diverse main character. She won the 2016 “We Need Diverse Books Campaign” Mentorship Award and is excited to be working to promote inclusiveness and diversity in children’s literature and the illustration field.
Her first book "The Field" (written by Baptiste Paul, published by North South Books ) received 3 starred reviews and won Jacqueline the Sonia Lynn Sadler Award in 2018. Her second book, "Freedom Soup" (written by Tami Charles, published by Candlewick Press) received 4 starred reviews and was a Junior Library Guild, Indiebound and Amazon selection in 2019. She’s looking forward to her 2021 releases including “Jump at the Sun” (written by Newberry honor writer Alicia D. Williams, published by Caitlyn Dlouhy Books / Simon and Schuster) and “Your Mama” (written by NoNieqa Ramos, published by Versify Books / HMH ).
In addition to the children's illustration field, Jacqueline has worked with other clients including NPR, The Chicago Reader, The Chicago Foundation for Women, The Southern Poverty Law Center, Elle Decor, and University of Chicago creating illustrations for a range of editorial and promotional projects. She has a never ending interest in learning new skills and taking on new challenges.
I began calling myself an illustrator after years of being afraid and too hesitant to call myself an artist. The gallery scene seemed too serious, too deep, and too abstract for me. While I loved to create, I didn't think anything I made was worthy of a “show” and didn’t see where I fit into the art world, until I stumbled upon illustration. Although there are many different markets for an illustrator, picture books cast their spell upon me, partially because of my background in education and partially because I remember getting lost in their magic during my childhood. The thought of creating such worlds truly felt like home for me and my artwork.
A picture book is probably the first work of art that humans deeply engage with, and I’m willing to bet that it's some of the artwork we engage with the longest throughout our lives. I’ve heard the sad statistics that people in museums look at a work of art for an average of three seconds and the label for seven. But I remember sitting and staring into the world of Jumanji or Goodnight Moon and many others for long, quiet, uninterrupted moments. But this realization raises an important question for all children: What are picture book illustrations telling us about ourselves and the world? Who do they depict as the hero? Or the smart kid, the bad kid, the curious kid, the charming kid, the dorky kid? Do the illustrations tell us that only some kinds of kids are allowed to be funny, innocent or adventurous? Do they invite all of us to see ourselves reflected on the pages or do they only tell some of us we’re allowed to dream?
The main characters in the majority of children’s books published in the United States are white. Although I didn't get into illustration only for the purpose of advocating for diversity, I have become committed to it naturally because of the stories I want to tell. I want to create stories that show all kids as full complex people; people who are capable of great things as well as small, ordinary things like playing soccer. Children’s books need to expand beyond the stereotypical stories and characters that black and brown people often inhabit because, as expressed by Kwame Alexander, “the minds of adults begin in the imaginations of a child”.
Curated by Courtney Cintrón
Curator name: Courtney Cintron - Website | Facebook | Instagram
Courtney Cintrón is a Chicago-based arts and cultural administrator, independent contemporary art curator, and vocalist. She has had the pleasure of managing an array of arts projects from youth arts education initiatives and art exhibitions to poetry, theater, dance, and music programs. Cintrón’s curatorial practice engages with complex social and polemical issues, that embrace a transformative lens and reimagine alternative narratives. In exploring her own identity and Puerto Rican heritage, she has become particularly interested in diaspora and issues pertaining to home, displacement, and shared social and racial experience.
Cintrón has curated exhibitions at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Artists Coalition, Glass Curtain Gallery, Heaven Gallery, NYCH Gallery, Roman Susan, and supported programs and exhibitions at Gallery400 and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. She is currently a Gaylord and Dorothy and Donnelley Curatorial Fellow, and is curating a media-based virtual exhibition opening in spring of 2021. Cintrón currently works in the arts education sector at Ingenuity as Partner Engagement Specialist and designs, implements, and connects arts educators to professional learning resources and programs. She holds a MA from the Department of Arts Administration and Policy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and was a Graduate Curatorial Fellow at the Institute of Curatorial Research and Practice at SAIC. Cintrón also holds a MM in Classical Voice/Opera Performance from Roosevelt University's Chicago College of Performing Arts, and a BM in Classical Voice/Opera Performance from the Boston Conservatory at Berklee College of Music.
Article credit : Heidi Cohen ( https://heidicohen.com/use-blog-to-sell/ )