transformative practice

Leah Gipson | Art Therapist and Activist



West Side Art Chicago (WSAC) brings together a collective of creative individuals who build the initiative to increase the vitality of west side neighborhoods. The idea began when local art therapist, Leah Gipson, recognized a need to promote positive perceptions in her own live/work neighborhoods. By developing financial opportunities for local creators and by cultivating social consciousness through creative projects, West Side Art Chicago supports economic and cultural thriving in these neighborhoods through a collection of "generative projects." West Side Art Chicago lives through local artists/makers who are collaborators in community building. Each project meets four objectives: 

  • Confront poverty on Chicago's west side by developing creative educational and income opportunities for local artists/makers.
  • Promote positive ideas and perceptions of goodness on Chicago's west side through arts-based advocacy.
  • Create new opportunities for the production and exhibition of work on Chicago's west side.
  • Provide funding to artists and arts organizations committed to the total thriving of Chicago west side neighborhoods.


Chicago Home Theater Festival - Austin @ The Rectory



Tales from the New American Hood

Tales from the New American Hood is a makers' project that will introduce The Rectory to the Austin community. The project will inaugurate the studio space with storytelling, and creative resistance.  Tales  features local Austin residents creating science fiction stories based on their experiences. 

Black Eutopia

 Ramara "Rae" Taylor - Black Eutopia

Ramara "Rae" Taylor - Black Eutopia

Ramara "Rae" Taylor is the artist co-creator of generative project, Black Eutopia. Rae graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a degree in Arts, Entertainment and Media Management.  She has maintained projects in event planning, music consultation, live show and festival production, and performance art management.  She specializes in sound selecting. Rae utilizes her passion for activism to create community development and outreach strategies through efficient event coordination. She is dedicated to encouraging a life of open-minded learning and expression in order for others to learn to create and/or find their own peace. Rae is the Co-Founder and music programmer for WSTS Radio; an emerging community based online radio station catering to Black and Latino communities in Chicago, centralized on Chicago's west side.

This Art T-shirt

This Art T-shirt is the first generative project to launch from West Side Art Chicago. The shirts were designed and printed by local artist/art therapist, Leah Gipson, in the artist work space at Rumble Arts Center in Humboldt Park. The art t-shirts made their first appearance at the SAIC art therapy faculty exhibition at Rumble Arts Center 3413 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 in September 2013. Gallery visitors could purchase t-shirt from the installation and walk away from the show with This Art T-shirt.

This Art T-shirt project grantee is Rumble Arts Center.

Project Status: Ongoing until all t-shirts sold

 Copyright 2013 Leah Gipson