Monuments Project Receives $200,000 Grant

Pilsen Latina Histories Monuments Project Receives $200,000 Grant from Chicago Monuments Project Mellon Foundation Funding 

CHAMPAIGN, IL—The Pilsen Latina Histories Monuments Project (PLHMP), a collaboration between the University of Illinois Press, University of Illinois System, and the Pilsen Arts Community House, has received an additional $200,000 grant from the Chicago Monuments Project of the Chicago Department of Cultural and Special Events (DCASE). The funding will be allocated out of the recently announced $6.8 million Mellon Foundation Grant provided to the Chicago Monuments Project. 

The new grant will fund 1-2 temporary or permanent monuments that will be selected through a community planning process led by Teresa Magaña, director of the Pilsen Arts and Community House, with academic support from Professor Hinda Seif (Dept. of Sociology/Anthropology UI Springfield) and UI Chicago doctoral student Liliana Macías (History). The project’s lead artist is Diana Solís, a photographer and visual artist from Pilsen recently named a 2023 Latinx Art Fellow, which recognizes 15 of the most compelling Latinx visual artists working in the U.S. today. 

The idea of commemorating Latina activism in Pilsen was inspired by the book Chicanas of 18th Street: Narratives of a Movement from Latino Chicago by Leonard G. Ramírez published by the University of Illinois Press in 2011. The book presents oral histories of six Chicana activists working in Chicago during the 1960s and 70s: Yenelli Flores, María Gamboa, Isaura González, Victoria Pérez, Magda Ramírez-Castañeda, and Cristina Vital. Part of the project will honor the 50th anniversary of the bilingual/bicultural organization Mujeres Latinas en Acción in 2023 and the?memory and legacy of a significant 1979 Pilsen street fair (the Festival de Mujeres) that they organized. 

“It is so important to work towards a public vision of Chicago that is fully inclusive of Latina histories. For more than fifteen years, the University of Illinois Press has played a leadership role in documenting these Latina/o/x experiences and histories through its book series ‘Latinos in Chicago and the Midwest,'” said Professor Seif.?Dr. Matheson noted, “Our hope is that shining a light on the work of Latina community leaders and?activists in Chicago?will provide a historical anchor and source of empowerment for community members, especially youth.”? 

The Chicago Monuments Project?intends to grapple with the often unacknowledged – or forgotten – history associated with the City’s various municipal art collections and provides a vehicle to address the hard truths of Chicago’s racial history, confront the ways in which that history has and has not been memorialized, and develop a framework for marking public space that elevates new ways to memorialize Chicago’s history.? The call for ideas emphasized unconventional monuments that invite community engagement. 

About the University of Illinois Press:  

The University of Illinois Press publishes timely and transformative scholarship in the humanities that empowers local and global readers to understand and engage with the changing world. Established in 1918, the Press publishes 80 new books annually and 45 journal titles in the humanities and social sciences with particular strengths in in African American studies; women, gender, and sexuality studies; women’s history; film and media; music history; labor history; American ethnic studies; disability history; sports history; and foodways.  


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tel: 217-300-2687    

About Kristina Stonehill