Lemme Know When You Make It brings together work made by teens from the Art Center’s after-school programs during the 2021-22 academic year, teen programs teaching artists, and selected exhibiting and residency artists. The exhibition’s title refers to the caring reminder that Chicago teens text each other to make sure that their friends arrive home safely and alludes to “making it” as artists, entrepreneurs, and creatives of many types. Works in the exhibition explore themes of collective safety, movement of people throughout the city and world, diasporic identities, boundaries crossed either physically or metaphorically, and coming of age on the South Side of the city.
The Art Center’s teen programs provide a structured independence that encourages young artists to develop their creative voices, learn new skills, and develop relationships in the context of a community art center, where artists of all ages and backgrounds do the same. Thus, this exhibition presents the work of teen artists in relation to their mentors and other artists whose practices explore similar thematic concerns. The 2021-22 programs consisted of seven courses: Teen Photo, TEA Hangouts, Youth Board of Artists, Ritual & Performance, Advanced Teen Photo, ArtShop, and Advanced Teen Track. Teen programs aim to support the surrounding communities’ future artists and leaders.