To Tempestt, With Gratitude

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Tempestt Hazel of Sixty Inches from Center
Tempestt Hazel of Sixty Inches from Center

We met Tempestt on a whime. She gave our friend, Angela Bryant, a platform to write about her studio practice so we reached out to her blog for possible collaborations. Our relationship with Sixty Inches from Center has since been a source of inspiration and growth. The last time we wrote about our work with them was leading up to Pay It Forward but we’ve stayed in contact since. Last month, Tempestt wrote an open letter to those of us that call Chicago home.

“This place, with all of its beauty and its faults. Embracing all of its messes that I willingly inherit. I love this city with a kind of love that is unexpected, constantly nurtured, frequently tested, and feverishly cultivated. One that embraces the complicated, unapologetic, stubborn, and enduring tangle of it.” T.Hazel – Sixty Inches from Center

It hasn’t been the easiest of times here but we stay to build something better. That’s not to say that displaced Chicagoans aren’t fighting the good fight, or that there aren’t circumstances that could pull us away from home. However, the unapologetic stubbornness Tempestt speaks of is etched deeper in our bones with each passing winter that we survive together. The lists that she lays out for reasons to stay and go are both heart wrenching and empowering. She’s a leader and an ally in the journey that we started 3 years ago. The nurturing space and social goldmine that she created in SIFC reciprocates the courage and opportunity that she gets from the community. We’ve been juggling a lot of different hats lately so there hasn’t been enough time to write about some of the victories we’ve had through our work with Sixty, so here’a a recap.

Mario Over Niagara

Finding Truth from the Inside by Mario Contreras

Two victories for me with this one. I graduated from Southern Illinois with to motivation to get published. The CG Project offered a chance to self-publish for some time before eventually making content for the Sixty Inches for Center blog. This piece in first issue of a digital magazine gave me a real sense of accomplishment which was amplified by the fact that they paid me to write it.

The second victory is that the first episode of my next documentary project was published as part of the post. The significance of this is two-fold: First, it shows that someone else believes in my project enough to stand behind it. Second, my documentary was published as a piece of contemporary art. To use her own words, I’m grateful that Tempestt is “…reaching out, pushing through, and breaking the limits I place on myself, and [giving] me the courage and opportunities to do so.”
Rock on

Experiencing the Moment by Diana Gabriel

The second issue of the SIFC Magazine is called Ephemeral and it was a great chance to preserve a step in the relationship between Diana and Rita Grendze. A residency that they collaborated on through Water Street Studios was coming to an end and they both work in non-permanent art so they recorded a conversation while sorting through material for the piece that they’ll assemble next year.

The topics they cover are relevant to artists, audiences and curators. Ranging from how to take part in the process, why to program non-permanent art and what it is like to know your work won’t last forever. It’s also an important piece to anyone that’s interested in the ethics of consumption within art.

Contribute to Sixty Inches from Center

There’s an open call for submissions to the next issue of the SIFC Magazine. The theme for this quarter is Gatekeepers, Tempestt, Jenny and Reuben are very kind and supportive Gatekeepers but you might want to pitch them some experiences you’ve had with not-so-sympathetic Gatekeepers. Maybe you have a story about a time that you were charged with deciding who gets into a show… Whatever your story may be, they’ll pay you $50 if they publish your story.

“In February we’ll be launching an issue focused on the entities that facilitate the arts by publishing, teaching, funding, and promoting new works or stand between artists and access to these resources. Who decides what is created, and how? Is the power in the appropriate hands? If not, what can be done to rectify that? We want to explore the topic through one-on-one interviews with the gatekeepers themselves, through firsthand accounts from those who’ve been affected either positively or negatively by these issues, and through alternative routes around the gates being kept.

If you’ve got an idea for GATEKEEPERS, send us a clear and concise pitch by Monday, December 15. The more specific, the better. We’ll let you know if your pitch has been accepted by Friday, December 19, and your first draft will be due on Sunday, January 25. The issue will go live on Friday, February 20. Contributors will be paid $50 for a completed article.” – R.Westmaas – Sixty Inches from Center

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