Bull Horn is an avenue to give wings to the stories that matter most. This series, from Red Bull in partnership with the Chicago Reader, invites guest writers, artists, activists, and community members to share their ideas and amplify timely, crucial topics they feel are important now.
Hello, I’m Brandon Breaux, an artist and designer based in Chicago. My artistic practice is currently focused on fine art—digital commissions and a solo exhibition opening next year. I’m also a founder of a local online Japanese language school called the Chiba Center, which teaches Japanese language and culture to Black creatives around the world.
I’m dedicated to community and the arts, which is reflected throughout the work I create. To this end I’ve been collaborating with the Emerald South Economic Development Collaborative, a nonprofit organization whose goal is to generate community wealth and amplify local culture through shared pride, power, and investment for Chicago’s mid-south side.
I’m the artistic director of Emerald South’s Terra Firma initiative. Launched this year, Terra Firma is a five-year, $25-million land care initiative to beautify, maintain, and activate more than 205 acres of vacant land on Chicago’s mid-south side. Through job training and entrepreneurship programs, Terra Firma directly increases employment and business opportunities for local residents as well as produces measurable community outcomes related to physical, social, and environmental well-being. Terra Firma helps our communities recapture the value of their land for themselves. Through targeted investment we can protect the neighborhood against the negative consequences vacant land creates while also transforming the neighborhood’s current vulnerabilities into opportunities for local residents and businesses.
I’m curating two upcoming vacant land activations for Emerald South and Terra Firma focused on wellness in a series named On Firm Ground. On October 16 and 17, we’re contributing to a Connect South Shore event being thrown by the Silver Room and sponsored by the South Shore Chamber of Commerce. It’s an outdoor activation at 7045 S. Jeffery with 20+ vendors, DJs, face painting, food trucks, roller rink, and a steppers set on Sunday. Emerald South and I will be facilitating fresh produce vendors and morning meditation and yoga sessions each of the two days.
The following weekend on October 23 we’ll be at 53rd and Prairie activating the Chicago Architecture Biennial exhibition New Witness Trees created by the Hood Design Studio. Events of the day are planned to include a meditation session, beat-making workshops, a bike ride in partnership with Black JoyRide, and a food vendor. We’ll also be writing messages of witness on foil tags and hanging them on the Witness Trees.
Community is central to my work. Chicago is my base. It is my core and has been my window to the world, informing my perspective in life. It’s honest, hard-working, and has made some of the most amazing humans I have had the pleasure of knowing in this lifetime.
Brandon Breaux is an artist and designer based in Chicago. He can be found on Instagram @bbreaux.