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Celebrating African American achievements

Black Creativity



Innovator Gallery

Learn how African Americans are remaking Chicago and inspiring the next generation. The Innovator Gallery is on display in locations throughout the Museum during Black Creativity. Included in Museum Entry.

Meet Our 2021 Innovators

Tonika Johnson

Photographer and social justice artist, Folded Map Project creator

As a photojournalist, Tonika Johnson explores the impact of urban segregation through multimedia and her visual investigation project Folded Map. Tonika's work creates dialogue and counters the narrative around South Side communities. Her photos have been exhibited across Chicago galleries and museums.

J. Ivy

Poet and spoken word artist

J. Ivy uses his poetry and spoken word to promote positivity while giving a platform to the art form itself. A leader in the Chicago arts community, he has won a Grammy, NAACP Image Award and is the President of the Chicago Recording Academy.

Taylor Staten

Architect and founder of TnS Studio

Taylor Staten founded the architecture firm TnS Studio which focuses on serving the South Side through the design and renovation of abandoned buildings. Her non-profit extension of TnS Studio "Be the Change" gives youth the opportunity to participate in architecture summer camps and mentorship programs.

Ian Brock

Co-founder of Dream Hustle Code

Ian Brock, 16, is a computer-science activist, entrepreneur and public speaker. Recognizing the need for more Black and Brown people in the computer science techspace, he founded the non-profit Dream Hustle Code when he was 13. Through Dream Hustle Code Ian has organized after-school coding programs on Chicago’s South and West Sides.

The Museum of Science and Industry’s annual Black Creativity program invites students, teachers, families and the public to explore the legacy of rich contributions and achievements made by African Americans while encouraging deeper interest in science and technology among youth.

Learn More About the Black Creativity Program