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Amanda Williams

Neighbors gathered on Tuesday at a “Blooming in Bronzeville” block party to marvel at the stunning bloom of 100,000 bright red tulips planted last fall by MacArthur Genius Grant Recipient and artist Amanda Williams as part of her ‘Redefining Redlining’ installation. Planted on a vacant lot that had once been a residential unit and was torn down due to redlining, the installation is inspiring neighbors to see the agency they have to take strengthen their community. Williams notes that the narrative on the South Side too frequently focuses on what is lacking, but she hopes to show that, with action, neighbors can work together to highlight what’s beautiful and to be intentional about artful development. The tulips were planted last Fall by Williams and several local volunteers in collaboration with Emerald South Development’s Terra Firma initiative. Launched in 2021, Terra Firma is a 5-year, $25 million land care initiative to beautify, maintain, and activate over 205 acres on Chicago’s mid-South Side. The initiative aims to address vacant land across disinvested communities and use it as an engine of opportunity to improve quality of life, create jobs, and grow small businesses. This past week the tulips came into full bloom.

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