Joy Ride: An Odyssey in Black

28 3Arts supporters
$6,525 raised of $6,000 goal
0 Days 0:00:00 LEFT
Funded on December 11, 2023
    • 109% contributed

Encouraged by the healing and regenerative power of art, I’m bringing a new public project called Joy Ride: An Odyssey in Black to the streets of Bronzeville on Chicago’s South Side. This project is inspired by West African traditions that use music and dance for ceremonial and spiritually uplifting purposes. Working with a team of collaborators, our joy ride will be to pull a musician/DJ on a custom-designed rickshaw through the community. We will walk, ride, and play as we make our way to significant spaces of nightlife and religious and creative culture in this storied Chicago neighborhood. Members of the public will be invited to help pull the rickshaw or process alongside us as we make our way down the city's sidewalks in the summer months of 2024.

About This Project

As a photographer, I spent part of the summer of 2023 taking pictures in and around Bronzeville. The energy and history of this neighborhood made me want to design an interactive public performance, both to engage the community more with my practice and to enhance people’s lives with the power of music and dance. I have become interested in how art can improve our lives and heal, especially people who are oppressed, marginalized, and forgotten. 

This project will be led by me, in collaboration with Norman Teague, designer/fabricator of the rickshaw, as well as a Senegalese master drummer and a sound artist/DJ. Music has always been among my first loves, and I consider musicians/DJs to operate often as conjurers or shamans. I want to share this magic with others more transparently. I want to pull back the curtain on the artist's process and practice so the general public can know what artistic labor looks like.

In addition to the public processional, the piece will be recorded in still and motion photography to allow future interpretations of the work to be installed along with the rickshaw in a gallery or museum setting. My hope is that the traveling live music, pulled by community members, will inspire and surprise passersby in the public space as they encounter music and sound in this most spectacular manner. Ultimately, we seek to bring joy, however brief, to our fellow citizens as they traverse the landscape en route to work, school, church, or myriad activities.

Thank yous

Contribute any amount or choose from the levels below.

  • $25
    Thank you and social media shout out ($25.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $50
    A private download of a curated playlist/musical score from the project, plus thank you and social media shout out. ($45.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $100
    A signed rendering of the rickshaw design by Norman Teague Design Studios, plus thank you and social media shout out. ($50.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $250
    A signed 8x10 photographic print from Cecil McDonald, Jr., plus thank you and social media shout out. ($50.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $500
    An edited compilation of the project’s video documentation, plus thank you and social media shout out. ($500.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $1000
    Invitation to be a VIP participant in the "Joy Ride: An Odyssey in Black" processional, plus a signed 8x10 print and the edited video compilation. ($800.00 is tax deductible.)

Cecil McDonald Jr.

Cecil McDonald, Jr. (B. 1965, Chicago) is most interested in the intersections of masculinity, familial relations, and black culture's artistic and intellectual pursuits, particularly as this culture intersects with and informs the larger culture. Through photography, video, and dance/performance, he …

View Cecil McDonald Jr.'s profile
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    • Thank you to the following for contributing to 3Arts with the recommendation that we support this project.

    • Tracye Matthews

    • Dorian Sylvain

    • Joanne Vena

    • Norman Teague

    • Candace Hunter

    • Travis Rejman

    • Tempestt Hazel

    • Lydia Ross

    • donminique boyd-riley

    • Leah Mayers

    • Charlie Branda

    • Nickol Hackett

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Juliana Perisin

    • Michelle Boone

    • Barry Mayo

    • Jeff Phillips

    • John Ellis

    • Lee Bey

    • Stacey Recht

    • george langford II

    • Evan Saunders

    • Avery Young

    • Jason Reblando

    • Adam Brooks

    • Lynette Saunders

    • Kendra Paitz

    • Tracie Hall

make it work


3AP Presenting Partner:

  Joyce Logo

 Additional support provided by: 

Department of Cultural Affairs logo  Illinois Arts Council