Friday, April 20, 2012

“With diverse audiences, performers get diverse responses. African American audiences are often known to be more verbal in expressing their feelings about a performance. It’s what I refer to as the Amen Corner. One of the many things I liked about Sunday was that we may have witnessed Tekki playing to her first Amen Corner. Though I’ve enjoyed several of her performances in the past, the grey-haired African American gentleman’s vocal expression of appreciation gave it something extra for me, and hopefully for her, too.”                                                      
    Those are the words of Victor Cole, who attended the opening of EMBRACE THE SPACE, a program series at St Martin’s Episcopal Church. He was referring to the actor, playwright, director, and educator Tekki Lomnicki who presented her story in a solo performance of Paper Doll, and then taught participants how to use their own life experiences to tell theirs in her entertaining workshop What’s Your Story. 
    St. Martin’s, through a grant from The Chicago Community Trust, is partnering with Bodies of Work, a program of the University of Illinois at Chicago, to present a unique form of artistic expression known as disability art and culture, Disability art refers to the creative work of people with disabilities that reflects a disability experience, advances the rights of disabled people, and widens society’s understanding of what it means to be human. It is found in every artistic medium from the performing arts, literature, and visual arts to comic books, film, and design. Disability art plays a key role in articulating what disability means politically, personally, and aesthetically, and that meaning translates into what many in the disability community consider its “culture.”
    Coming this Sunday, April 15, at 1:30pm is Body Magic, a printmaking workshop for children and adults of all ages presented by Chun-Shan (Sandie) Yi, an artist from Taiwan, whose artwork examines the way art can be used to address the relationship between the body and society’s standards of beauty and disability. The Body Magic workshop begins with a short talk by the artist about her art, a printmaking demonstration, and time to make your creation and share your experience with others. In it you get a chance to create some wearable art on a t-shirt, bandana, or tote bag, which you can take home! As an added attraction in celebration of NATIONAL POETRY MONTH three local poets, Lily Diego, Pennie Holmes-Brinson, and St. Martin’s own, David D. Jones, will read their original works.
The EMBRACE THE SPACE series continues on Sunday April 29, when Alana Hodges Wallace, founder and artistic director of Dance>Detour, Chicago’s first physically integrated dance company, will lead a movement workshop - So You Think You Can’t Dance - for people of all abilities. The series closes on Sunday, May 20 with Carrie Sandahl presenting Images of Disability in Films for Kids, a screening of film clips followed by a discussion with the audience of how Hollywood portrays people with disability in children’s films. 
    All events are FREE, wheelchair accessible, sign language interpreted and audio described. And all are welcomed – young people, single people, couples with or without children, and elders — everyone from the young to the young-at-heart. Food and refreshments will be served.   
    EMBRACE THE SPACE events are funded by a grant from the Chicago Community Trust.. And, in keeping with St. Martin’s flexible worship space and welcoming attitude toward multiple types of families and households, all are welcomed and all events are FREE. Reservations are recommended.
    For EMBRACE THE SPACE program information, disability accommodations, or to RSVP please phone 312 996-1967, or email For Information about St. Martin’s Episcopal Church contact Rev. Christopher E. Griffin, Vicar at 773 378-8111 or

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