Political Education

Social Justice and Activist Art

Works of art can promote a just society by challenging injustice and valuing our common humanity. Art can inspire action toward political and social change.

The URI-EICHEN Gallery is an independent space for art and community building in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood that focuses on work related to social justice themes.

Kathy Steichen co-founded Uri-Eichen Gallery with her husband, Christopher Urias, in 2011.

Kathy has been involved in racial justice, anti-war and human rights issues for over 25 years. She is an alumna of social justice and arts programs at Las Palomas de Taos, housed in the Mable Dodge Luhan House in Taos, New Mexico. She founded Amnesty International chapters at the University of Iowa, Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She worked as the Student Program Coordinator of Amnesty International in the Mid-west Region. She worked for Chicago Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky’s first primary run as the field coordinator of the 48th Ward in Chicago. She is a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and has an M.S. in Union Leadership and Administration from UMASS Amherst. Kathy has worked in the labor movement for twenty years as an organizer and union staff representative where she has represented private and public sector local unions. She has been a practicing print-maker for over 25 years focused on work related to social justice theme.

Past events at the URI-EICHEN Gallery include:

– A screening of “Jane”, a political look at a little-known chapter in women’s history tells the story of a Chicago-based women’s health group that performed nearly 12,000 safe illegal abortions between 1969 and 1973 with no formal medical training.

-“La Feminista. Soy Yo?”(“The Feminist. Am I?”) a photography and video installation featuring women of different generations amplifying on the word feminism.
– “A Voice for Victims” Photographs and drawings that address components of war and in particular, the plight of war victims in Syria. The photos show the devastation witnessed by a doctor on several trips to administer to patients in the underground hospitals of Aleppo. Work with issues of war and community activism combine to bring their unique views to a show of narrative works that address conflict in today’s world.

-Foil Thermocollage by Jeff Kinzel, Kathy Steichen, and Christopher Urias. Whether in political rhetoric, advertising, or lyrics, the metaphor elicits an emotional response. Cognitive scientists parse language in an effort to understand why people often make irrational choices— people respond to how something is said, often disregarding its larger context and meaning. The metaphor becomes a “frame” through which we are compelled to consider information

The URI-EICHEN Gallery is located at 2101 S Halsted in Chicago and is open on the second Fridays of the month. Openings are free and open to the public.


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