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E(art)h Chicago Cover

E(art)h Chicago Awards Nearly $550,000 in Grants for Illinois Science and Energy Innovation Foundation: Climate & Environmental Justice Public Art Projects

The Illinois Science and Energy Innovation Foundation decided to shift its focus, from promoting money-saving actions that individuals could take in protecting the environment, to harnessing the work of creative artists in building a movement for environmental and climate justice through community storytelling.

As a community engagement and storytelling expert, Thinkinc. consulted with ISEIF on the launch of its E(art)h Chicago initiative, to raise awareness on the plan. The goal was to fund creative works of art that would raise awareness, create dialogue and inspire action on environmental and climate issues, to be installed, and/or performed, in communities across the city.

To ensure authentic community engagement and spread the word about the program, ISEIF and Thinkinc. conducted extensive interviews with stakeholders. They identified a specialist to facilitate a series of three virtual co-creation events with nearly 100 participants. The valuable insights gained were used to design and develop guidelines and recommendations for the E(art)h Chicago program.

More than 150 applicants submitted proposals to the program, which resulted in E(art)h Chicago awarding nearly $550,000 for 11 public-art project finalists in different Chicago neighborhoods.

The projects, set to launch in June 2023, cover themes of healing, community, resiliency and hope. The projects were a mix of sculptures, murals, land art and more. They include a ceremonial installation, a multi-sensory theater piece and communal assets made from recycled plastic.

Thinkinc. created media strategy and materials to support the grant announcements and secured coverage, highlighting the selected projects from a range of media outlets including WTTW, WGN and the Chicago Tribune as well as other outlets. Thinkinc. continues to work with ISEIF through June 2023 to ensure the successful opening of E(art)h Chicago.