Simone Reynolds headshot

Simone Reynolds

Community Arts Educator & Interdisciplinary Artist
2022 3Arts Awards
Teaching Arts

Simone Reynolds is a Black queer interdisciplinary artist, community art educator, and medicine maker from the Southside of Chicago by way of the Afrofuture. She stems from the artistic lineages of the Black church, Hoodoo, Black Chicago, and the creative technologies of her ancestors from swamps and seas. Through the transportive mediums of music, theater, writing, and media, they lure the magic in the mundane of an everyday marginalized life and people. Simone embodies the will to be well and continuance of Black femme disruptors by regarding and amplifying the experiences of the erased. 

As a teaching artist, Simone challenges the carceral framework of education by creating learning spaces and curriculum that centers imagination. She has performed, facilitated, and curated creative learning experiences across the City of Chicago since teenhood. Simone spent many evenings and summers breaking bread with other youth artists and educators. Her love for community led her to participate in arts programs like the Community Actors Program, Teen Arts Council, Street Level Youth Media, and CoCre8. These rich experiences taught her about valuing the mechanics of an artistic process and collaboration. She has been afforded many opportunities to organize community arts events that invite those who are on the margins to be centered through their own creativity, including Chicago Amplify’s Youth Showcases, Sandbox Symphony, and Mobilize Creative Collaborative. 

In the summer of 2020, Simone initiated at-home youth art kits that included snacks, art supplies, and prompts channeling Black radical thought and artistry. Since then, with communal support, they have distributed more than 300 art kits by delivery and through various art pop-ups with "Mobilize! Creative Blocks, Collective Dreams." She has also taught numerous workshops focusing on storytelling through visual art, movement, writing, and sound. Simone has extended compassion to Chicago’s community art scene by exploring ways to build and practice care that sustains folks beyond events and workshops. She wants people to leave spaces nourished, literally and figuratively, in their minds, bodies, and spirits. 

Simone does not see her work as projects, but as threads of her legacy as an arts educator that she is weaving across the city. She is currently a Climate Justice & Teaching Arts Fellow with the Chicago Park District’s Young Cultural Stewards. Simone teaches environmental justice to young people throughout the year with programs like *small is all* and ArtSeed. Their herbalism apprenticeship at Urban Growers Collective has deepened their practice as an arts educator. Being a steward of the land has deepened Simone’s teaching practice and restored her rememory of ancestral knowledge. Watching the cycle of a plant’s life and ecology encourages them to tend to the soil of our collective approaches to how we share our creative skills. Simone embraces the belief that the students are also teachers and so is our environment.

Simone studied Theatre Arts and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Eastern Illinois University. While there she engaged with art and political theory, on and off stage. They have also trained and studied with Rebirth Poetry Ensemble, the Black Arts Institute (Billie Holiday Theatre) and Artist as Citizen (The Juilliard School), and the New Art School Modality. Simone’s performance credits include Rewriting the Declaration, for colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf, In the Next Room, 9 to 5: The Musical, Silver Room Block Party, Lollapalooza 2020, and the Black Cube Museum. She is soon to be published in Beet Street Zine’s Fall release.

With deep curiosity, Simone is passionate about weaving the creative arts, political education, and the spiritual arts into a web of liberation. She is a 2022 3Arts Awardee, Cecilia Weston Spiritual Academy scholar, 2nd year herbalism apprentice with Urban Growers Collective, and Climate Justice & Teaching Arts fellow with Young Cultural Stewards. You can learn more about Simone's work here.

 

 

 

Profile caption: Photo by Ally Almore

Featured Artworks

  •  Overhead image of a small group of people assembled around a table with art making supplies Mobilize Creative Collaborative
  •  Simone Reynolds artwork Young Cultural Stewards
  •  Black and Brown hands of teaching artists holding the *small is all* art care packages. Young Cultural Stewards (*small is all*)
  •  Two people sit at a table surrounded by bulk packaged food and other supplies; one of them gives a peace sign Mobilize Creative Collaborative
  •  Overhead image of 8-10 colorful paper bags with handles, filled with artmaking supplies Art Kits by Simone Reynolds.
  •  Simone Reynolds artwork Art Kits by Simone Reynolds.
  •  Black person with long braids stands speaking at a microphone in front of a screen that reads "Simone Reynolds, teaching assistant" Arts + Public Life
  •  Two people wearing facemasks, face the camera with bulk food and home supplies set before them. Photo by Alisha B
  •  Black person with long braids at the left of the frame, addressing a group of youth Arts + Public Life
  •  Simone Reynolds artwork Young Cultural Stewards