Panel Discussion: Arts, Community, and Activism

People gather outside of Safehouse in New Orleans

Join us for a discussion addressing the intersection between environmental justice, socially engaged artistic practice, and community organizing.

Our discussion will be led by cultural activist Dr. Lisa Lee in conversation with category-defying artist Mel Chin and community leader Peggy Salazar and is presented in conjunction with Mel Chin’s ongoing project Chicago Fundred Initiative: A Bill for IL, designed to raise awareness about the invisible environmental and health threat posed by lead contamination in soil, water, and housing.



Dr. Lisa Lee is currently the Director of the National Public Housing Museum and an Associate Professor of Art History and Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Mel Chin is an artist whose practice calls attention to complex social and environmental issues. His ongoing Fundred Project has rallied a collective effort to bring visibility to the widespread threat of lead poisoning. He is an exhibiting artist in Toward Common Cause: Art, Social Change, and the MacArthur Fellows Program at 40.

Peggy Salazar is a life-long resident of Chicago’s Southeast Side, and the Executive Director of the Southeast Environmental Task Force (SETF).


This program is presented by the Smart Museum of Art in partnership with the Harris School of Public Policy’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Chicago Fundred Initiative: A Bill for IL is presented as part of Toward Common Cause: Art, Social Change, and the MacArthur Fellows Program at 40, and will be presented at locations across the city, including Sweet Water FoundationHyde Park Art CenterSkyART, and the Smart Museum of Art.