Artist and educator Pascale Ife Williams joins the Terra Foundation as Senior Engagement Fellow. A Visiting Artist in the Department of Arts Administration and Policy at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Williams is a Chicago native with over 10 years of experience in justice-driven arts and community-engaged work. She seeks to engage community through radical imagination, visioning, and the activation/facilitation of creative and spiritually expressive learning.
“As a cultural organizer, healing justice facilitator, and disruptor, I am most looking forward to co-creating spaces in my role as Senior Engagement Fellow, where people are invited to bring their full-selves, unapologetically, to breathe deeply and to critically question systems/beliefs/patterns that no longer serve the collective,” says Williams.
In her work with the foundation, Williams plays an integral role in the development of the Art Design Chicago Engagement Learning Community, a platform for cooperative idea-generation, knowledge exchange, consensus building, and collective problem solving around equitable and inclusive engagement strategies. Together, participating Chicago museums and cultural centers develop and test new or refined models of engagement that can catalyze mutually beneficial partnerships with communities, leading to institutional growth and change.
“I am constantly inspired by the heart and soul of Chicago—our people, our creations, our ‘Yes! We play as hard as we work.’ attitude,” says Williams. “Our constant commitment to uncover the radical (roots) of an issue. Even amidst all of the challenges in our city, we are always angled toward what’s possible, what is the lesson. It’s an honor to bring this energy to every project I do.”
Bringing an artists’ perspective to the initiative, Williams is working closely with members of the Learning Community over the next several years to facilitate learning sessions and provide counsel as they innovate community-centered approaches for exhibition and program development and advance their community-engagement practices.
The Engagement Learning Community is a component of a larger initiative, Art Design Chicago, which is intended to build new understandings of the city through art and design, and to strengthen vital connections between its cultural organizations, creatives, and communities.
Developed by the foundation as an ongoing investment in the civic and artistic life of Chicago, Art Design Chicago supports the creation of exhibitions, public programs, and publications that amplify the voices of the city’s diverse artists and designers—past and present. The Engagement Learning Community provides partner organizations with the opportunity to co-develop innovative engagement strategies aimed at making their Art Design Chicago projects available to the widest possible audiences.