Juan William Chávez is an artist and cultural activist who creates and shares space in built and natural environments to address community-identified issues. At the heart of Chavez’s practice is his studio research, which includes drawings, films, photographs, architectural interventions, and unconventional forms of beekeeping and agriculture. Chávez utilizes art as a way of researching, developing, and implementing projects of creative placemaking and social engagement. His exhibitions feature his studio research in the form of multimedia installations.
Chávez’s contributions have been instrumental to the development of the cultural landscape in St. Louis, as well as to the artistic discipline of social practice. He founded the artist-run Boots Contemporary Art Space, which is dedicated to supporting emerging artists; created the Pruitt-Igoe Bee Sanctuary, a proposal to transform the former St. Louis housing development into a public space that cultivates community through beekeeping and urban agriculture; and founded the Northside Workshop, a space dedicated to addressing social-justice issues in North St. Louis.
Chavez has exhibited his work at venues such as ArtPace, Van Abbemuseum, Harris Lieberman Gallery, and Laumeier Sculpture Park. His interdisciplinary approach to art has gained the attention and support of prestigious institutions like the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, Creative Capital, Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, and Art Matters Foundation. Chávez holds a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and a MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Chavez’s residency is part of “A Tale of Two Cities,” an initiative that seeks to elevate the voices of our neighbors experiencing homelessness in the North Tryon planning and development process. The initiative is generously supported by ArtPlace America and National Endowment for the Arts.