Marisa Morán Jahn and National Public Housing Museum are one of the five winners of the 2023 Joyce Awards, which lift up collaborations between artists of color and arts and community organizations throughout the Great Lakes region.
Multidisciplinary artist Marisa Morán Jahn (SMVisS ’07) and architect Rafi Segal will co-design HOOPS, a permanent outdoor basketball court located in a space shared by the National Public Housing Museum and a new mixed-income housing development on the site of the first federal government housing project in Chicago’s Near West Side. In HOOPS, the linework of a basketball court will blend with the geometries of other street games—hopscotch, foursquare, checkers—and extend into other seating areas and walkways, extending the space of play and imagination.
HOOPS is inspired by Jahn’s own experiences living and working in public housing, the Museum’s oral history archive, Segal’s experience growing up playing basketball, coupled with a series of codesign workshops with residents and neighbors of varied cultural and economic backgrounds. Aiming to reframe the public understanding of subsidized housing and illuminate the stories of community members, HOOPS will preserve and promote the rich history of basketball and other forms of recreation in public housing communities—joyfully creating a place for empowerment, civic participation, and new social relations.
“What I remember most vividly from my experiences living and working in public housing is children playing all around me,” said Jahn. “These memories of joy and laughter counter the image that many Americans have had in their mind—and this is a result of the government’s disinvestment in public housing starting the 1960s. So HOOPS is about dignifying and humanizing public housing residents through play, and inviting the public to learn through participating. HOOPS is a mediation and celebration of ‘re/creation.’”
Funding for HOOPS comes from the Joyce Foundation, The National Public Housing Museum, and Parsons Faculty Research Fund.
About Marisa Morán Jahn:
An artist of Ecuadorian and Chinese descent, Marisa Morán Jahn’s (b. 1977) works redistribute power, “exemplifying the possibilities of art as social practice” (ArtForum). Codesigned with new immigrants and working families, Jahn’s public artwork, civic media tools, installations, films, architectural and urban-scale collaborations have engaged millions both on the street and at venues such as the United Nations, Tribeca Film Festival, Obama’s White House, Museum of Modern Art, and Venice Biennale of Architecture. Her work has received international media coverage in outlets including The New York Times, the BBC, Univision, Hyperallergic, Art in America, Architectural Review, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, PBS, and many more. She has received grants and awards from Sundance, Creative Capital, and is currently a Senior Researcher at MIT. Jahn has taught at Columbia University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (her alma mater), and Parsons/The New School where she is the Director of Integrated Design. With architect Rafi Segal, Jahn co-authored a book, Design & Solidarity (Columbia University Press, 2023) and co-founded Carehaus, the U.S.’s first care-based co-housing project (carehaus.net). Jahn is represented by Sapar Contemporary.
About the National Public Housing Museum:
Over the past century, more than 10 million people across the United States have called public housing home. In the late 1990s, as thousands of public housing units across the country were being demolished, public housing residents began to dream about creating a museum to preserve their collective voices, memories, and the histories of public housing across the nation. They wanted their children and grandchildren, and the public at large, to know more about their place in the American experience and to understand the public policies that helped to shape their families. In 2007, civic leaders, preservationists, historians, cultural experts, and many others joined with residents to help incorporate the National Public Housing Museum, which has since then offered transformative programs that connect the past with contemporary issues of social justice and human rights. The Museum’s permanent home is under construction at the historic Jane Addams Homes at 1322 W. Taylor St. in Chicago’s Near West Side and is set to open to the public in 2024.
About the Joyce Foundation and its Awards:
Established in 1948, the foundation typically awards $2.625 million in grants per year toward its goals to support organizations and artists working in all fields of the arts. Each recipient will receive $75,000 in support of a new large-scale work in the Great Lakes region commissioned by local nonprofits and organizations, such as Cleveland gallery SPACES, which curated the U.S. pavilion at the 2023 Venice Architecture Biennale, and the new, first-of-its-kind National Public Housing Museum in Chicago.
The Joyce Awards has been supporting works from artists of color since 2004. Thus far the program has awarded $4.4 million in its tenure for the development of 82 new works of visual, performing, and multidisciplinary art.
This year’s projects explore pressing issues facing the country, among this how to approach urbanism and land stewardship, and address topics such as queer resistance, indigenous reclamation, and use emergent technologies for social good.
“The Joyce Awards are a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the ambitious vision of artists and organizations committed to creating new work that represents and engages community,” said Joyce Foundation President and CEO Ellen Alberding in a press release. “We are proud to announce the 2023 awardees, who join a circle of eminent artists who have had a lasting influence on their communities and on the arts.”