Belonging: Place, Power, (Im)Possibilities Exhibition

Belonging: Place, Power, (Im)Possibilities Exhibition

Physical + Virtual Exhibition Design
Tonika Lewis Johnson / Chicago Justice Gallery
September 2020

Tonika Johnson chronicles the ways in which nine young people have been made to feel they don’t belong in their own city in a series of portraits and interviews. While Johnson’s portraits of young peoples’ experiences paint a grim picture of hierarchy, surveillance, entitlement and narrow mindedness, it is not a tale of defeat.

Through their own creative agency, young people push back against the politics of racism, exclusion and containment by creating their own “free spaces” and organizations that contest the commons.

In addition to the artwork, the exhibition features a mural by Joe “Cujodah” Nelson, scholarly research and an interactive map encouraging visitors to explore their own experiences with belonging and exclusion.

Due to COVID-19, both Johnson and Chicago Justice Gallery wanted to put out a virtual exhibition that made the content available to all. We developed an interactive parallax website, where visitors can scroll through portraits, listen to interviews, add content to the interactive map, and experience “alternative spaces” through a change in scrolling direction.

Experience the virtual exhibit

Adventure Learning Center and Camp

Belonging: Place, Power, (Im)Possibilities Exhibition

Logo Refresh and Website
Adventure Learning Center and Camp

Nassau, Bahamas, 2018

Adventure Learning Center and Camp (ALC Bahamas) is a place for students and families in Nassau, Bahamas, to come and engage in a camp experience. The camp and center have a petting zoo and other attractions appealing to young children and families. They offer after school programming as well as traditional sleep away camp experiences.


ALC Bahamas wanted to refresh an outdated logo for new materials while still being able to use old signage while transitioning. The logo has been simplified and is usable for a larger variety of materials, from donor outreach to event branding for children.

Screen Shot 2019-01-20 at 12.57.44 PM

In addition to the revised logo, ALC Bahamas needed a new website that worked for both their camp functions as well a space for their community events run through the center. The new website features both aspects of the organization and has a blog function running on WordPress CMS, so the staff can easily add content to without prior web editing experience.

Open Engagement — JUSTICE

Open Engagement — JUSTICE

Print, Web, Collateral, and Site Design
Open Engagement, A Socially Engaged Art Practice Conference

Chicago, 2017

Open Engagement (OE) is an annual artist-led conference dedicated to expanding the dialogue around and creating a site of care for the field of socially engaged art. The conference highlights the work of transdisciplinary artists, activists, students, scholars, community members, and organizations working within the complex social issues and struggles of our time.

The design for 2017’s design, the theme of JUSTICE was explored through the phrase, “No Justice, No Peace” and imagery from Chicago’s Torture Justice Memorial. Using a two color printing process, all print materials were printed locally and with sustainable materials.


Design assistance from Ricardo Garcia, Amanda Sanchez, JJay Eden, Hannah Kyle, and Andrés Chavez
Select images taken by Jaclyn Rivas, Mollie Nye, and JJay Eden

Folk Nite: WunderKammer

Folk Nite: WunderKammer

This was the intro video for Folk Nite:WunderKammer. Folk Nite is a community arts event in the suburbs of Chicago where accessibility to the arts is minimal and finding creative spaces to participate is quite difficult. Events are themed and include community-generated artwork and short-set performances.

Video was announced a Judge’s Choice for the 2014 Chicago Design Archives.

The introduction video was projected on an entire wall to signal to attendees that the event was starting. The video began playing while guests were mingling in the main event space. The sounds are comforting, evoking the memory of a lullaby. Type is manipulated in water similarly to how a scientist would mix chemicals in a beaker, referencing the scientific and exploratory notions of historic WunderKammen without literally visually presenting them.

Other event materials, such as the poster, wayfinding, and event set-lists were created from the same process as the video.


Attendees were encouraged to bring an item to contribute to a growing WunderKammer installation.


Where There Is Not

Where There Is Not

Branding, 2015

Where There is Not is an organization started by architect and educator, Jae Cha. The organization leads students in creating products that are meant to reach areas in the world that have a basic need for survivial and spiritual input. Research and case studies determine areas of focus and products are developed, sometimes as small as a keychain or as large as a temporary shelter.

In spring of 2015 Professor Jae Cha, Professor Lauren Meranda, and myself joined three of our Judson University classes together to build, brand, and sell these developed products. We set a mixture of architecture and graphic design students to the task. The architecture students design the products and the graphic design students branded each sub-company under the Where There is Not umbrella and built a Web site meant to sell products to the public.

The branding identity and posters were designed in collaboration with Anna Filbert.

WhereThereIsNot Process
WhereThereIsNot Process

Photos by Sarah Recker and Jae Cha.

Art & Design in Nature Creative Retreat Booklet

Art & Design in Nature Creative Retreat Booklet

Judson University, School of Art & Design Creative Retreat, 2015

Accompanying a wondrous weekend away, this booklet guided students from Judson University. Imagery was created using images of nature—water, clouds, honeycomb—revealed through images of found shadows. The booklets contained essential information for the students, including a map of the grounds, camp rules, room assignments, and meal prep teams. It also served as a workbook for the development of their nature installations.