Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, DCASE and CPL Announce Alexandra Antoine as Legler Regional Library’s New Artist-In-Residence
Chicago Public Library’s first artist-in-residence is based in CPL’s first regional library serving the West Side in nearly 50 years
Mayor’s Press Office 312.744.3334 / firstname.lastname@example.org
CHICAGO—Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot today announced, along with the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) and Chicago Public Library (CPL), Alexandra Antoine as Legler Regional Library's new Artist-in-Residence — CPL’s first artist-in-residence, based in the recently renovated community anchor serving the entire West Side of Chicago.
"I am thrilled to join DCASE and CPL in announcing Alexandra Antoine as Legler Regional Library's new artist-in-residence," said Mayor Lightfoot. "The incredible work she will create and lead over the next two years will deeply enhance Legler's impact on the West Side. Her contributions will also complement the City's ongoing work to restore the social and economic vibrancy of West Garfield Park."
Alexandra’s work acknowledges the influences of her Haitian culture and interest in portraiture, food, farming, and physical labor in traditional artistic practices of the African diaspora. During a two-year residency, she will develop public art projects and art programs to promote greater connectivity between the Library, its services, and the needs of the local community.
“I’m excited to begin my residency at Legler Regional Library and I’m looking forward to connecting with the Garfield Park community and beyond — and collaborating on wonderful art projects,” said Alexandra Antoine.
Welcome events for the public on Saturday, March 12, will include a virtual conversation via Zoom at 2pm with Alexandra and Principal Tiffany Tillman from Genevieve Melody Public School, followed by a Q&A. In-person events at Legler include Maker activities, free Grab and Go Art Kits and artist studio tours between 12–4pm as well as community surveys and interviews throughout the day and Walk-in COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic from 10am–3pm. For details and to register for the virtual conversation, visit Chicago.gov/DCASE and click Opportunities.
“Legler Regional Library has been a social and educational hub for West Side residents through the years, and CPL’s first artist-in-residence will continue to encourage inclusivity and the lifelong learning at the core of the Chicago Public Library’s values,” said CPL Commissioner Chris Brown. “Equitable and open access to knowledge includes access to art, particularly art that reflects the community around it, and we are excited to launch our first ever artist-in-residence as we continue to welcome Chicagoans to our new West Side regional library.”
Legler Regional Library reopened at the end of 2020 as CPL’s first regional library serving the West Side in nearly 50 years after a renovation that included a new dedicated YOUmedia space for teens, as well as a new recording studio, maker lab, adult computer lab, and Artist-in-Residence studio. Since reopening its doors, Legler staff has been continuously working with the surrounding community to ensure that the library remains an essential community hub.
“Mayor Lightfoot recognizes the important role artists and cultural organizations play in Chicago’s economic recovery and bolstering the quality of life in our city; she truly is our #ArtsMayor,” said DCASE Commissioner Erin Harkey. “We’re excited to welcome Alexandra Antoine as the Library’s first Artist-in-Residence and looking forward to seeing what she’ll create in deep partnership with this community.”
Legler is also home to new artworks created by Chris Pappan — a Chicago-based artist of Kaw, Osage, and Cheyenne River Sioux heritage — and a renowned public art collection that includes a recently-conserved sculpture by Elizabeth Catlett (“Floating Family”) and the monumental painting by Kerry James Marshall (“Knowledge and Wonder”). Chicago Public Library has 81 locations, all of which offer public art and public programming and are now open seven days a week. Expanding Sunday hours ensures library services are more equitable and accessible for all Chicagoans. For details, visit ChiPubLib.org.
Legler Regional Library (115 S. Pulaski Road) first opened in 1919 and is a designated historic landmark building. The location was named for Henry E. Legler (1861–1917), chief librarian of Chicago Public Library from 1909 until his death in 1917.
Legler’s recent renovations and enhanced library services — and its reinstatement as the Regional Library for Chicago’s West Side — are just one example of the many investments the City of Chicago is making in this community, which include:
- The Neighborhood Activation initiative, which is a focused, violence prevention and community investment effort. $250,000 has been earmarked for infrastructure improvements under this initiative.
- Back in August 2021, we cut the ribbon to the $1.5 million Community Plaza and Roller Rink.
- $1.5 million in street outreach for violence interruption programming and victim services for those impacted by gun violence.
- $640,000 in youth services like the Youth Community Ambassadors program, which trains and pays young people to interview friends and family members to better understand Garfield’s Park history and challenges.
- $1.8 million for Still I Rise, a cannabis scholarship led by City Colleges of Chicago that provides training on record expungement to increase employment possibilities
- And more than $73,000 for the CPS-led youth violence reduction and mentoring program, Choose to Change, which supports students at the highest risk of being involved in violence.
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Chicago Public Library
Since 1873, Chicago Public Library (CPL) has encouraged lifelong learning by welcoming all people and offering equal access to information, entertainment and knowledge through innovative services and programs, as well as cutting-edge technology. Through its 81 locations, the Library provides free access to a rich collection of materials, both physical and digital, and presents the highest quality author discussions, exhibits and programs for children, teens and adults. For more information, please call (312) 747.4050 or visit chipublib.org. To follow CPL on social media, visit us on Twitter (@chipublib), Instagram (@chicagopubliclibrary), or Facebook (Chicago Public Library).
Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors. Visit chicago.gov/dcase.
DCASE programming is supported by the Chicago Transit Authority.