Juan William Chavez

sfstl-adminStudent Stories

Class of 2000
Bachelor of Fine Arts / Kansas City Art Institute
Master of Fine Arts / School of the Art Institute of Chicago

I am an artist, but I am also interested in community activism and trying to fuse the two.

In 2000, Juan was both a Foundation interest-free loan recipient and a Dick and Jo Liddy Designated Scholar Loan recipient. Today, he is an established artist and cultural activist who explores the potential of space through creative initiatives that address community and cultural issues. Since 2010, his focus has been on socially-engaged projects and collaborations in North Saint Louis, such as Urban Expression for the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, a nonprofit that had artists, architects, designers, and musicians work with the Hyde Park community and Holy Trinity School to help invigorate the neighborhood. He is currently the artist and director of Northside Workshop, a non-profit art space is dedicated to addressing cultural and community issues in North Saint Louis, focusing on incorporating socially engaged art and education with the goal of fostering social progress.

Throughout his career, Juan has exhibited at venues such as Art in General, Contemporary Art Museum Saint Louis, White Flag Projects and Van Abbemuseum. He has also received awards and grants from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Art Matters, the Gateway Foundation, and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. The Guggenheim grant was what allowed him to focus on the Pruitt-Igoe Bee Sanctuary, a project that transformed the former Pruitt-Igoe housing development area into a public space that preserved the remaining 33 acres of green space and cultivates community through beekeeping and urban agriculture.