A More Perfect Union

I am proposing a series of interventions, actions and explorations throughout the Senn campus, I have identified (see attached for locations, materials and methodologies) spaces on campus where these happenings may take place. After a fruitful period of incubation regarding how to proceed, I have decided that it would be best to proceed as an artist working on the campus as an autonomous entity. This would allow the students to observe me and my practice without guidance or scaffolding from faculty, staff and administration. I believe it best that students encounter me and my ideas in an unexpected, arbitrary manner, a thoughtful, gentle interloper. I will be referencing Let America Be America Again, by the American poet and novelist Langston Hughes, this will be my anchor text. I suspect that these series of actions will take me right up to the holiday break. After the break I will circle back to the classroom with the Hughes poem as our guide and anchor engaging the students in a similar fashion; guiding the students to create and execute works based on works that I have demonstrated on campus as well new ideas and methods that may come from teachers and students input and insight. I believe this approach allows the student an opportunity to reflect and more importantly utilize some, if not all, knowledge and skills gained thus far, at the service of making as a civic leader and creative endeavor. Peripherally (but just as importantly) I have reached out (and secured a commitment) to the music department to have an original score created on the same themes hereto outlined. I expected to do the same with dance for a choreographed piece based on notions and concepts of our collected Americaness . I look forward to your feedback, comments and suggestions as we move forward...I am excited to be in this position and fortunate to be at Senn to put these ideas into motion.






Cecil McDonald Jr. uses photography, video, and text to explore the intersections of masculinity, familial relations, and the artistic and intellectual pursuits of black culture. McDonald studied fashion, house music and dance club culture before receiving a MFA in Photography at Columbia College Chicago, where he currently serves as an adjunct professor and a teaching artist at the Center for Community Arts Partnership at Columbia College Chicago. His work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally, with works in the permanent collection of The Cleveland Museum of Art, Chicago Bank of America LaSalle Collection, and the Harris Bank Collection. He was awarded the: Joyce Foundation Midwest Voices & Visions Award, the Artadia Award, The Swiss Benevolent Society, Lucerne, Switzerland, Residency and the 3Arts Teaching Artist Award. McDonald participated in Light Work’s Artist-in-Residence program in July 2013. Most recently McDonald completed the DCASE residency where he began work on his most recent body of work Cuts and Beats, a project that montages performance photography from the floors of dance festivals and nightclubs with turn-of-the-century imagery from stage and theater advertisements, sheet music covers and celebrity portraiture.