Past Event

Art School with Todd Shalom: A Master Class in Poetic Decision-Making and Participatory Art

Art School with Todd Shalom: A Master Class in Poetic Decision-Making and Participatory Art
Monday, Sept 12th – Wednesday, Sept 15th and Saturday, Sept 17th


  • Group Class: Monday-Wednesday from 1-5pm
  • OFF: Thursday (Todd Shalom office hours)
  • Original Class Walks Presented to Public: Saturday from 1-7pm*

Join Elastic City founder, artist Todd Shalom in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago for this master class on the participatory walk form. The participatory walk intends to make its audience active participants in an ongoing poetic exchange with the places we live and visit. The walks use sensory-based techniques, reinvented folk rituals and other exercises to investigate and intervene in the daily life of the city, its variously defined communities and the politics of individual and group identity.

Over the course of the week, Todd will reveal the underbelly of an Elastic City walk, leading class attendees through various ways to read and respond to their surroundings in a co-investigation of the everyday. Various techniques from photography, poetry, movement and sound will be used to shape one’s perspectives. Additional concerns such as: encouraging participation; forming a compelling narrative and designing a walk route will also be covered.

The class will work in groups to create your own participatory walks. No previous experience necessary. All classes and walks will take place in Pilsen, with exact locations TBD. Please wear comfortable shoes and bring whatever accoutrements will make you comfortable being outside for extended periods of time, as this class will be active from start to finish!

  • This class is limited to 12 participants. Registration is open until Sunday, Aug 21st.
  • If we have more registrants than available spaces, we will use a lottery system to assign spots and will begin a waiting list for remaining inquiries.
  • Class members must attend all classes and be prepared to present a walk in small groups at the culmination of the week.


Todd ShalomTodd Shalom works with text, sound and image to re-contextualize the body in space using vocabulary of the everyday. He is the founder and director of non-profit participatory walks organization, Elastic City. In this role, Todd leads his own walks, collaborates with artists to lead joint walks, and works with artists in a variety of disciplines to adapt their expertise to the participatory walk format. He often collaborates with performance artist/director Niegel Smith. Together, they conceive and stage interactive performances in public and private environments. Todd is also a ringleader of Willing Participant. Willing Participant whips up urgent poetic responses to current events.

Todd is a member of the core faculty in Pratt Institute’s MFA in Writing. His work has been presented by organizations such as Abrons Art Center, Brooklyn Museum, The Invisible Dog, ISSUE Project Room, The Museum of Modern Art, The New Museum, P.S. 122 and Printed Matter. Todd is a graduate of the MFA Writing Program at California College of the Arts and also holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Boston University.

*Note: Class members are not required to attend all walks on Saturday, Sept 17th. The walks will be scheduled as follows:

Original Class Walks: Saturday, Sept 17th

  • 1-2pm – Group One
  • 2:30-3:30pm – Group Two
  • 4:30-5:30pm – Group Three
  • 6-7pm – Group Four

If you are interested in being added to the list of artists invited to these gatherings, please email
If you require ASL interpretation or other assistance to fully participate in this program, please contact at least 72 hours in advance of the event.