Washington Heights resident Hana L. Anderson ( who was born and raised in the Chicago neighborhood of Hyde Park ) has always considered herself an artist but did not call herself one for years because, "I allowed the constructs of what an artist is get in the way. I did not start owning that word until I became free of those constraints about four years ago and began doing the work. I am a spirit-led artist who uses photography, mixed media and found materials to tell a story that is usually guided by a vision or subject that I want to discuss."
Anderson, who identifies as a same-gender-loving woman, explained that Hyde Park was a "diverse, relatively affordable and charming place to live" during her childhood/teen years. She received her bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of Illinois Chicago and a master's degree in Human Services Administration from the Spertus Institute. She currently works as a administrator for the Chicago Department of Public Health ( CDPH ).
In her CDPH role, Anderson partnered with Storycorps to bring stories from community partners who live and thrive with HIV. She interviewed several Black and Brown health department professionals on National Women's Day about their personal and professional lives. Anderson noted that this is one of the many things she does at CDPH around community engagement.
Among the many places Anderson's art has been featured are the 2016/2017 Black Creativity Exhibition at the Museum of Science and Industry, Woman Made Gallery, ETA, Fulton Street Collective, Rootwork Gallery and Chicago Cultural Center. She also curates her own solo shows at her studioH.L. Anderson Arts & Culture Studio, 9451 S. Bishop St.
"Currently, four of my photographs are in the Beverly Art Center until June 30 for the abOUT Art Exhibition," said Anderson.
Anderson noted that her studio allows her to think, create and be free. She explained that every Sunday afternoon from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. she opens her studio for others to also do their art.
In addition to her artwork, Anderson recently worked on a six-week pilot project, "Her Stories," with the CDPH and FemCom.
"The goal was to raise the voices and visibility for women of color by performing five minute stand-up routines," said Anderson. "It was one of the deepest programs I have helped organize because it brought 10 women together to craft and share stories. It was a cool mix of CDPH staff and community partners."
Anderson's latest project is a two part event: "Spare the Rod: Do Black Lives Really Matter?" Friday, June 15, 7-8 p.m. at her studio and Saturday, June 16, 1-3 p.m., at the Carter G. Woodson Library.
"Primarily, I am speaking to the old and new generation of blacks in the community of Washington Heights and other areas to consider other options besides hitting for disciplining children," said Anderson.
The Friday reception at Anderson's studio will feature a small curated exhibition of mostly found or everyday objects that people use to spank with a few abstract and mixed media pieces. The panel discussion on Saturday will consist of expertsAsadah Kirkland, parenting strategist and author of Beating Black Kids; Shoshanah Yehudah; LCPC and activist Noel Green; with Octavia N. Tyson, LCPC, moderatingdiscussing the issue without shaming.
With this event, I want people to see the household objects for what they are, and how terrifying they can be to children, and possibly revisit your experiences about these objects," said Anderson. "This is why I am having the studio exhibit and to have an intimate conversation with me about that or my studio practice. I wanted another part with experts to discuss and explore further and provide other resources. I was going to have all of that in my studio, and my partner Octavia who is moderating suggested that I break it up in two parts and have it at the library. I loved that idea and it worked and gives it much more depth."
When Anderson is not working or creating art she likes to attend plays, spend time with her partner and meditate.
See www.eventbrite.com/e/spare-the-rod-do-black-lives-really-matter-panel-discussion-tickets-44712297686 for more information about the June 15-16 free events .
To find out more about Anderson's art, visit www.hlandersonart.com/ .