Arts nonprofit Alt Space Chicago provides free portraits of Austin residents, create public art for neighborhood's vacant buildings

CHICAGO (WLS) -- New local arts nonprofit Alt Space Chicago is honoring long-time residents of Chicago's West Side by providing free portraits for Austin community members.

Alt-Space Chicago will meet outside of Austin Town Hall on Saturday, November 2, at 10 a.m. and post the portraits on the sides of blighted and abandoned buildings throughout the neighborhood.

Co-founder Jon Veal, who grew up in Austin, said the portrait series is about community legacy.

"We change the narrative through arts, exhibitions, programming, and cultural redevelopment," Veal said.

Portrait subjects are seated on antique chairs in the middle of public parks. Along with delivering prints to each subject, large versions will be posted with wheat pasting on the walls of vacant buildings throughout Austin.

"We're gonna put these images there for the sake that the community can see something positive right there on the block," Veal said.

Barbara Butler - who has lived in the neighborhood for over 40 years - participated in the first photo session at Hubbard Park.

"I've been here long enough to see this neighborhood change, change, change back, change again. Change for the worse, change for the better," Butler said.

Jordan Campbell, Alt Space's co-founder and the project photographer, is not an Austin native. But he felt a spiritual connection to the locally rooted work.

"It's just beautiful," said Jordan Campbell, co-founder and photographer. "God has just been moving. And he's allowing for me to be on this journey for him."
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