Press Release


“Know More” series brings nationally renowned poets, playwrights, activists, and hip hop performers to West Englewood.

CHICAGO- This fall, the West Englewood community will enjoy an exciting set of programs sponsored by the Public Square at the Illinois Humanities Council (IHC). “Know More: Conversations That Matter” is a series designed to bring art, issues, and dialogue to the West Englewood community. Programming will include visits from hip hop artists and activists Jeff Chang, David Stovall, and Lavie Raven; poet Elizabeth Alexander; and actor, rapper, playwright, and educator Will Power.

“Know More” is a way to bridge the gap between the arts and social issues that are of current concern to the community. After each performance and presentation there will be a community-based discussion that will engage everyone involved. Free pizza will be served during these discussions. This series of programs is free and open to the public. Reservations are recommended. Please call (312) 422-5580 or e-mail for reservations. This series is made possible by The Joyce Foundation.


  • On Thursday, October 13 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at the Southwest Youth Collaborative, 6400 S. Kedzie, the Public Square at the IHC will present "Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: The Past, Present, and Future of Hip Hop Activism," apanel discussion with activist and community organizer Jeff Chang, author of Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation; David Stovall, Assistant Professor in the College of Education at University of Illinois at Chicago; and Lavie Raven, co-founder of the University of Hip Hop, a local youth empowerment organization. The New Yorker magazine called Chang’s book "one of the most urgent and passionate histories of popular music ever written."
  • On Saturday, October 22, Elizabeth Alexander will present works from her new book of poems, American Sublimefrom 2:00-4:00 p.m. at the West Englewood Library, 1745 W. 63rd Street. A professor of English at Yale University, Alexander’s collections of poetry include Antebellum Dream Book (2001), Body of Life (1996), and The Venus Hottentot (1990). Her poems, short stories, and critical writing have been widely published in such journals and periodicals as The Paris Review, The New Yorker, American Poetry Review, The Village Voice, and The Women’s Review of Books, and her work is anthologized in over twenty collections. Copies of American Sublime will be available for purchase at the event.
  • On Saturday, November 12, 2:00-4:00 p.m. at the West Englewood Library, 1745 W. 63rd Street, the Public Square at the IHC and the Arab American Action Network present " Mixin’ It Up: Young Voices and Perspectives from the Arab-American Community." This program will examine the ways in which narratives are preserved, passed along, and reinterpreted in Arab culture by showcasing the diverse creative talents of young artists from this community. Youth from the Palestinian community of Chicago will express their views about their history and their own often-troubled identities through a wide array of traditional and modern creative media.
  • Finally, at the last event in the series on Saturday, December 3, 2:00-4:00 p.m. at the West Englewood Library, 1745 W. 63rd Street, award-winning actor, rapper, playwright, and educator Will Power will lecture and demonstrate elements of hip-hop performance and engage the audience in a dynamic question-and-answer session. Power has created his own style of theatrical communication, fusing original music, rhymed language and dynamic choreography. Produced by New York Theatre Workshop and the NYC Hip Hop Theater Festival, Will Power’s solo show FLOW has been described as “astounding” (CurtainUp) and “theater with the refreshing aroma of originality” (New York Times). Will Power received the prestigious 2005 Joyce Award, a 2004 Jury Award for Best Theatre Performance at the HBO U.S. Comedy Arts Festival, and a 2004 Drama Desk nomination for Best Solo Performance.

For a full calendar of Public Square at the IHC events or for more information, please visit or contact the Public Square at the IHC at 312.422.5580 or via email at

The Illinois Humanities Council is a nonprofit educational organization [501 (c) 3] dedicated to fostering a culture in which the humanities are a vital part of the lives of individuals and communities. Organized in 1973 as the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the IHC creates programs and funds organizations that promote greater understanding of, appreciation for, and involvement in the humanities. The IHC is supported by state, federal, and private funds.


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