City Launching “Face Forward” Project to Promote Vaccination and Celebrate Teens Who Choose to Get Vaccinated

September 24, 2021

Participants will get their very own portrait and personal work of art depicting their vision for the future

COVID-19 Joint Information Center


 The City of Chicago is partnering with renowned photographer Sandro Miller to offer Chicago youth aged 12 to 18 their very own portrait to be transformed into a one-of-a-kind work of art as part of a COVID-19 vaccination campaign that celebrates young people who are protecting themselves by getting the vaccine. 


Photos will be captured in a custom-built mobile photo studio that will visit locations throughout the City between September 26 and October 5. In addition to the portrait session with Miller, participants will talk about their vision for the future which will be used to create a unique, customized work of art from the portrait using AI technology. The art will be showcased on The Face Forward Project website and Instagram channel.


“This creative campaign is a way to remind youth and everyone in Chicago that vaccination is the best way to protect our future,” said Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “These beautiful portraits capture the optimism and ambition of Chicago teens who’ve chosen to protect themselves and those around them by getting the vaccine. It’s a great reminder for Chicago to keep looking ahead, because our future is optimistic and safe when our children are vaccinated.”


As of September 22, 62.4 percent of Chicagoans age 12 to 17 have received at least one dose of vaccine, and 53.1 percent have completed a vaccine series.


“Vaccines are truly the path to putting the pandemic behind us and getting back to the things we all love,” said CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D. “What better way is there to look to a future past the pandemic, than showcasing the faces and voices of young people in Chicago? This campaign reminds us what is at stake with the vaccination effort.”


These Face Forward Project participants expressed diverse ambitions and future goals when having their portraits taken:

“In the future we should enjoy each other's differences instead of trying to separate each other.” – Elis, age 12


“My biggest dream in life is to become an inspiration to others.” – Nathan, age 13


“If I controlled the future, everybody would be trying to make everyone around them a better person in whatever way possible.” – Jivon, age 18


“I'm hopeful that when I go to college, I can find the aspiration to help me build my community. And that's my dream. That's my goal.” – Diego, age 17


Chicago youth are eligible to participate in The Face Forward Project if they are partially or fully vaccinated. In some instances, participants can receive their vaccine at a pop-up clinic travelling with the mobile studio to be eligible to participate. The Face Forward Project was developed by integrated creative agency Ogilvy.


“It is a privilege and an honor to be collaborating with Ogilvy and the City of Chicago on The Face Forward Project,” said Sandro Miller. “Rarely in one’s career do we get the chance to step up and be on the forefront of saving peoples’ lives. This is one of those opportunities that will forever live in my heart.”


To build a full-blown photography studio on wheels, Miller worked with young men who have previously been incarcerated and are now receiving job skills training through the Safer Foundation.


The backdrops for each portrait are designed by Artificial Intelligence based on the teen’s dreams and goals. Every portrait is a one-of-a-kind work of art that is generated automatically. The designs are unique to each individual and are inspired by Chicago’s landmarks.

Chicago youth can learn how to get a portrait and a vaccine at  A complete list of locations is available on the website, and includes local YMCAs, a mall, grocery store, flea markets, a park and high school. You must be at least 12 years old with parental consent to participate.


Sandro Miller is an award-winning photographer from Chicago. He began photographing in Chicago at the age of sixteen and has since devoted his thirty-plus-years career to creating expressive portraits. Throughout his career, Sandro has contributed his talents and staffed studio time to many community-based and national charitable organizations.



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