Woodson Regional is a gem of the South Side. I’ve always believed that. One of my favorite locations of the Chicago Public Library, bar none. The library, located at 95th and Halsted, boasts the Vivian Harsh Research Collection (all manner of Black Ephemera) and a really strong overall collection. 1 of only two regional libraries in the city (the others, save Harold Washington downtown are all “branches”), Woodson is stocked with literature and art from a good number of local sociologists, artists, and writers. Case in point, the temporary exhibit celebrating the Art (and activism) of sculptor Marion Perkins.
Born in 1908, he moved to Chicago as a small child. He worked as a dishwasher, freight handler, and postal clerk in his lifetime, and though in his artistic career he was lauded with awards (among them the Guggenheim Fellowship) he was never able to devote full time to his art. Perkins was not only an artist, he was an activist for social change, fighting for both Ethiopian freedom and civil rights in his own backyard.
Visit Woodson for Woodson’s sake, but don’t forget to carve out time to see the temporary exhibit: “To See Reality in a New Light: the Art and Activism of Marion Perkins”, at Woodson until December 31, 2009.