Vacancy: Urban Interruption & (Re)Generation


Monday, September 14 - Saturday, November 21

Amanda Williams "Currency Exchange" and "Safe Passage," 2015

Vacancy features the work of artist-architects that challenge the identity, value and politics of empty or abandoned space. Through three multi-tiered and multi-located projects led by Andres L. Hernandez, Emmanuel Pratt and Amanda Williams, the notion of “emptiness” is reconceived, redefined and rebuilt. The featured works demonstrate how architectural practice builds on art and activist strategies to address racial, gender and class inequities and to drive social change. The exhibition extends beyond the gallery through site-responsive projects around the city in neighborhoods that have a disproportionate amount of vacant buildings and land, and are further punctuated by a lack of community resources. Projects include aquaponics systems to grow healthy food in any location, built environments of refuge for women of color in the public realm, and performances inspired by the stories of Chicago public housing residents. Though vastly different in content, the artists share strategies that turn the empty into open – as places for building, sharing, remembering and regenerating. The projects in Vacancy seek to catalyze social change and to present open space as a site of imaginative possibility.


Andres L. Hernandez in collaboration with Urban Vacancy Research Initiative and former residents of the Cabrini-Green Homes: "Cabrini-Green and Other Urban Legends"

Emmanuel Pratt in collaboration with Sweet Water Foundation, McCall Design Group, Katherine Darnstadt / Latent Design, Chantelle Brewer / Ross Barney Architects, Chicago Public Schools’ Career and Technical Education (CTE), Max Sansing and Agape Werks: "Constructed Ecology of Absence"

Amanda Williams in collaboration with Tatyana Fazlalizadeh: "Harriet’s Refuge: A Safe Passage for Free Movement in Public Space" 



Saturday, October 17, 11am-12:30pm

parking area east of N. Hudson Ave. and W. Oak St.

GHOSTGHOSTGHOST is a site-specific, participatory movement work choreographed and performed by Columbia College students, faculty and others, as a response to the remaining physical landscapes of the Cabrini-Green housing development. Visitors willing to particiapte should wear comfortable clothing that allows for free movement over an extended period of time. A post-performance talk-back with audience-participants will also be held on site.


Color(ed) Theory Artist Workshop with Amanda Williams

Saturday, October 17, 2-4pm

Sweet Water Foundation's Think-Do House

5749 S. Perry Ave

RSVP required


Architects On Film: Andres Hernandez Presents Voices of Cabrini

Wednesday, October 21 at 6pm

Chicago Cultural Center, Claudia Cassidy Theater

78 E. Washington St.

RSVP here.

Black Woman Sapce Matters: Public Interventions

Thursday, October 22, 6-7:30pm

Glass Curtain Gallery

Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, Amanda Williams and others discuss the artists' collaborative project in the Vacancy exhibition and the new Stop Telling Women to Smile mural in the Wabash Arts Corridor.


Vacancy Exhibition Tour and Artist Talks with Andres L. Hernandez, Emmanuel Pratt and Amanda Williams

Saturday, October 24, 2-4pm

Glass Curtain Gallery


Good Times, Episode 134: A Read-Through In Progress

Saturday, November 7, 11am-12:30pm

Glass Curtain Gallery

Join Columbia College Chicago students and others for a live script read-through of a fictional "lost episode" of the hit sitcom Good Times. Audience participation strongly encouraged.


Residency Series: Cabrini-Green and Other Urban Legends: Field Operations

October 16 and 31, 12:30-4:30pm

Papermaker's Garden 

corner of 8th St. and S. Wabash

October 23, November 6 and 13 12:30-4:30pm 

Glass Curtain Gallery

Andres L. Hernandez and Urban Vacancy Research Initiative. This series comprises of Hernandez hosting residency hours to collect personal stories and photographs from former Cabrini-Green residents, and passers-by; and Field Operations which comprises solitary and group performative actions on the grounds of the Cabrini-Green development and physical interventions within its vacant landscapes. 

Glass Curtain Gallery
1104 S Wabash Ave Columbia College Chicago, First Floor
60605 Chicago, IL
Phone: (312) 369-6643

How is the City your studio?

Amanda Williams’ on-going series Color(ed) Theory transforms forgotten spaces, homes and histories into vibrant remembrances, by brightly painting abandoned houses just before they are schedule for demolition. Emmanuel Pratt’s Sweet Water Foundation with its several existing and planned sites of redevelopment challenges the very notion of “blighted” spaces. Building communities and projects that draw from a neighborhood’s resilience, Pratt and his collaborators empower a community’s existing assets and networks to re-imagine, re-utilize and re-build abandoned spaces into centers for urban agriculture and cultural production. Andres Hernandez works both independently and collaboratively to interpret, critique, and re-imagine the physical, social, and cultural environments we inhabit. After studying architecture, much of his socially-engaged work directly engages the built environment in a critical manner, questioning ways in which private and public spaces are used to promote and sustain inequity along racial, gender, and class lines. For Vacancy, Hernandez will present the first installment of the Cabrini-Green and Other Urban Legends series, in which he excavates and re-presents physical remnants, historical media accounts, popular culture narratives, and personal memories of Chicago's former Cabrini-Green housing development and its residents.