Windy City Media Group Frontpage News Home
CELEBRATING 28+ YEARS OF Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender NEWS

Search Gay News Articles
Advanced Search
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2014-10-01
Download Issue
  News Index       Archives   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds   AIDS @ 32
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime

Forward-toward male volunteer Lenny Earl: fests, transition Forward-toward male volunteer Lenny Earl: fests, transition
Robin Tyler was the first woman to marry her same-sex partner, Diane ...

Browse Gay News Index   Browse Gay News Archives
  Windy City Times

Jane Saks expands social-justice brand with Project&
by Melissa Wasserman
2014-10-01

facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


The word "and" comes after everything Jane M. Saks does. A cultural alchemist, arts advocate, creative collaborator and producer, educator, published writer and poet, Saks has now introduced her newest work, Project&.

"Social justice is the rent you pay for the space you take up on earth," Saks said in quoting her great grandmother, who instilled that strong belief through the family tree. "You are given responsibility for just being here on this earth. You decide what kind of participant you are going to be, how you are going to change things for the better. But you have to be part of it. You must participate. My parents reinforced that throughout my life as well."

Saks grew up in Chicago's various neighborhoods and Evanston in a politically active, socially engaged and civically committed family. Her mother owned the Esther Saks Gallery and her father ran the neighborhood, family-owned chain Saxxon Paint and Hardware. Both her parents used their businesses to support social issues and community challenges. Their involvement in the arts, politics and social-justice issues, Saks said, set the tone for her and her three sisters.

Saks fondly remembered her family gathering around the TV to watch the Watergate hearings. It was unusual to have TV time in their home during the summer and 10-year-old Saks was intrigued by the events. As a result, she wrote a carefully crafted letter to then-U.S. Rep. Barbara Jordan in D.C. asking to shadow her for a few days.

"I just wanted to come down and learn from her about social justice in this broad sense," said Saks. She received what she described as a fabulous letter back. The letter was about commitment to the here and now and how Jordan wanted to give to the present and the future as opposed to giving back like others talked about. It was an invitation for Saks to walk alongside her and to commit to social change. "Just that idea that I was being asked to walk with her, that there wasn't anyone walking ahead of or behind anyone else, it stuck with me. It was so powerful."

A self-described insomniac with a serious case of curiosity, Saks has challenged issues of gender, sexuality, human rights, race and power within the arts and culture, politics and civil rights, academia and philanthropy worlds.

"I came out at a time when people were fighting to survive with no assistance from the larger society," said Saks, who identifies as a queer woman. "Yes, we've come a long way in many regards, undoubtedly, and in significant ways and for many people in the LGBT communities, but not for everyone and not equally. The LGBT community is unique in so many regards. It's off the chain—and that's what I love—and it's unique because every population is represented. We are the most diverse community. Therefore, we also embody and have to address all the challenges the entire society has to face."

Among the number of boards she serves on, awards she has earned and collaborators she has worked with, Saks is a Chicago LGBT Hall of Famer, a member of the Mayor's Cultural Advisory Council for the City of Chicago and the producer, co-producer, creative advisor and series producer on many original creative works in various media and art forms.

In 2005, Saks was appointed the founding executive director of the Ellen Stone Belic Institute for the Study of Women and Gender in the Arts and Media at Columbia College, where she served as executive director until January 2014. The program, the first of its kind, offered an innovative approach to merging arts and cultural production with critical theory, research and education. At the core, the fellowship intersected gender, creativity and community.

Now the decades of Saks' work has built up to become Project&. The project went public in January and went live online this month. Excited about the work and recent launch, Saks said it is incredible to be at this dynamic moment of the work, adding the idea's time has come and it is a necessary mission.

"Project&'s mission is focused on cultural production with social impact," said Saks, Project&'s founding president and artistic director. "I believe the impact begins at the very start—at the first points of creation, collaboration. How we do our work, who we do it with, how we learn and challenge and grow through the creative process has social impact—as well as the resulting cultural production. It's about the true value of diversity in every regard, in every direction, level and deeply at every point."

Project& focuses its work in three program areas: fellowships, global dialogues and innovative studios. The experimental and entrepreneurial are embraced and address topics and issues related to LGBT equality, human rights, race/gender, economics and social equity, participation, immigration and response to violence. Saks explained the topics often overlap and influence each other.

"We feel that our mission and vision are vital," said Saks about launching Project&. "This is a decisive moment in our country and globally. I believe that new deeply engaged models of participation are needed now more than ever. Art has the ability to create those opportunities and challenge us to move further and risk more and see differently. Art and culture have the unique ability to make good on the democratic promise. The democratic process promises one thing and one thing only: equitable participation. It can be one of the most radical ways to engage in democracy. If you ask me, we need that kind of participation more than ever."

Thus far, the Project& team has brought Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Lynsey Addario to Chicago for a public program with the Council on Global Affairs in February and in April hosted former South African Justice Albie Sachs who wrote the marriage equality constitutional decision for the South Africa. Project& showed the first screening outside South Africa of the film about his life. Coming up, the team has a commissioned premiere in October in New York City with MacArthur Fellow and musician Claire Chase.

"I've been incubating this model of cultural production with social impact for some years and seen success," said Saks. "We need this kind of risk-taking and brave collaboration to deal with the challenges the world faces and to address the deeply human questions we all ask ourselves personally and publicly.

"Art can encourage our greatest human capacity. It's a strong tool for lasting social change. That's why I believe creating art is a social political act in and of itself, because it can create necessary dialogues and probes for deep human response and engagement. Historically, it's been at the center of all social and human struggles. Art is often most dangerous and risky because it does not imitate, simulate or recreate experiences, but is the actual experience. It is dangerous, in the best ways."

For more information on Saks and Project&, visit www.projectand.org .


facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.

Forward-toward male volunteer Lenny Earl: fests, transition 2014-10-01
Carlos Orengo: Jack-of-all-trades at Howard Brown 2014-10-01
Gay in the Life: Pepe Pena 2014-09-30
Dr. Hughes honored with UIC research award 2014-09-27
Lesbian-feminist Mab Segrest on Ferguson, race, civil rights 2014-09-24
Gay in the Life: Eric Huppertz 2014-09-24
Billie Jean King takes fair shot at equality at CFW luncheon 2014-09-24
Bjork film screening; Chely Wright campaigns on Kickstarter 2014-09-24
TALK TO THE DOC Lesbian and pap smears 2014-09-23
Ben & Jerry's stand; Mary Cheney's case; Chelsea Manning 2014-09-23
Melissa Etheridge This Is M.E. at Cadillac Palace Theatre Nov. 15 2014-09-23
Two Chicago teams set for ASANA World Series in Las Vegas 2014-09-18
D'Emilio symposium examines state and future of his field 2014-09-17
D'Emilio's work honored at UIC symposium 2014-09-17
Gay in the Life: Joe Lucarelli 2014-09-17
Gay music legend dies; O'Donnell on Boomer List; Staples honored 2014-09-17
Oak Park Area Lesbian & Gay Assoc. 25th anniv. event 2014-09-16
Tomlin honor; lesbian situation on 'Orange'; Whitney CD/DVD 2014-09-16
Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, Chicago House mark 25 years 2014-09-16
BOOK REVIEW The Changing Face of Modern Families: Gay & Lesbian Parents 2014-09-16
Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame selects next inductees 2014-09-16
Morten, Bennett launch production company, Focused Media 2014-09-16
Lea Delaria, Artemis at Lakeside Pride Women in Music Nov. 16 2014-09-15
Faderman, Lazin in Chicago for Legacy Project benefit 2014-09-14
Sky lose to Phoenix in WNBA finals 2014-09-12
Writing the Disability Experience: Local to authors read 2014-09-11
By Women For Women to honor Fitzgerald, Washington, McCombs 2014-09-10
Lesbian wins historic A.G. primary in Massachusetts 2014-09-10
Streisand Channel, Neil Patrick weds, Sam Smith does 'Fast Car' 2014-09-09
Pres. Obama names lesbian Google exec as top tech official 2014-09-07
Chicago Sky to face the Phoenix Mercury in 2014 WNBA finals 2014-09-03
Gay in the Life: David Friedland 2014-09-03
Gay Chicagoan launching 'gender-liberated' undergarments 2014-09-03
BOOKS Starting from Here; Further Adventures Sissy Van Dyke 2014-09-03
Rosie in baby-boomer doc 2014-09-03
AFC policy show; W&CHF street; lesbian mayor; Transformative Law 2014-09-03
ENTERTAINMENT EVENTS Women's Words Fest; Queer poetry; Reeling 2014-09-03
Michelle Chamuel in Chicago Dec. 15 2014-09-02
PASSAGES: Healthcare advocate Caryn Berman dies 2014-09-02
Chicago Sky wins double OT thriller; deciding game Wednesday 2014-09-01





Copyright © 2014 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
the online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 



 

DISH: SAVOR River Roast
 
Operation Do Ask, Do Tell: Symposium on health for military GLBTs
 
NUNN ON ONE: MUSIC Paloma Faith's 'Perfect' plan
 
Clay Aiken's hacking comment; Tina Turner museum; Joe Manganiello
 
World news: Gay Times' icons; Russia court upholds LGBT ban
 
Windy City Times Current DownloadNightspots Current DownloadQueercast Current Download
Windy City Media Group BlogsJoin Our Email List!Donate Now








  News Index       Archives   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds   AIDS @ 32
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video      News Videos      Nightspots Videos      Entertainment Videos      Queercast Videos      Comedy Videos     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.