Meida Teresa McNeal | Fifth City revisited/Imaginal Politics embodied
June 20-30, 2019
In homage to her parents and Chicago’s Westside, McNeal charts new ground for a solo-facilitated work, “Fifth City revisited/Imaginal Politics embodied.” An ambitious community redevelopment process for Chicago’s Westside, the Fifth City Human Development Project incorporated educational curriculum, economic development, skill training, creativity, and community investment. Fifth City presented a powerful model for local citizens reimagining their own community and working together to manifest a new vision to bring a higher quality of life for all. What can we draw from the historic example of Fifth City’s ambitious plan to rebuild a Westside community using the available archive as both a blueprint and evidence of a failed experiment in community transformation? What moments of ingenious community design can we draw from Fifth City to imagine community revitalization and mobilization for our 21st century reality? Drawing on annual reports, business directories, curriculum, as well as oral histories, this project invites people to consider Fifth City’s plans, symbols, and rituals for community transformation as part of an active creative community process that results in a performance with an accompanying installation.
Meida Teresa McNeal is an Independent Artist, Educator, Administrator, and Scholar whose work lay at the intersection of performance studies, dance and critical ethnography. She received her PhD in Performance Studies from Northwestern University and her MFA in Choreography & Dance History from Ohio State University. Meida is the Director of Honey Pot Performance, an Afro-feminist collective dedicated to critical performance & public humanities. Over the past two decades, Meida has produced numerous creative projects as both a solo artist and with Honey Pot Performance, with works performed in Illinois, Rhode Island, Ohio, California, and Trinidad. She has taught courses in dance, critical performance ethnography, and black diasporic cultural production at Northwestern University, Brown University, Governors State, and Columbia College Chicago. Meida also works with the Chicago Park District as Arts & Culture Manager supporting community arts partnerships, youth arts, cultural stewardship, and civic engagement initiatives across the city’s parks and cultural centers.