Hello, my name is Marvin Tate. I am a multidisciplinary artist, educator, and community arts activist. I live in the Avondale neighborhood but am originally from the North Lawndale Community, located on the city’s west side.

North Lawndale is where I grew up from birth to age 19. It’s where I witness beautiful gardens and architecture that could outrival anything my younger self could imagine. It’s also where I witnessed the aftermath of the Martin Luther King, Jr. assassination, young sisters and brothers dressed regally in their Black Panther uniforms, and the shooting of my mother at the age of nine. A lot has changed in and around North Lawndale, and a lot has remained the same or gotten worse, depending on who you’re talking to. I still have family and friends who reside there.

As an artist, I have had the privilege of teaching art and poetry to both my elementary (Crown Elementary) and high school (Farragut). Presently I’m collaborating with the newly relocated Theatre Y, an avant-garde theater company, originally from the city’s north side, now in Lawndale. Their mission is to create community theater by telling the stories of the folks who live there. I welcome and want to be a part of creating a space in North Lawndale where substantial art is made and seen by all–but mostly for those that live, work, and play in the backyards and front porches of North Lawndale.

I believe that, as a career artist, it is my obligation to give back to the place that inspired and shaped me as a young man, and that continues to enlighten me as an artist and advocate for creativity to exist in all its forms, wherever you live.

Marvin Tate is a multidisciplinary artist and educator. He has been active in the Chicago music scene since 1993. He has collaborated with visual artist Theaster Gates, Jr. and the Black Monks of Mississippi, video artist Jefferson Pinder, and a motley crew of musical talents that include Leroy Bach, Angel Olsen, Bill MacKay, Tim Kinsella, and jazz artists Ben LaMar Gay, Angel Bat Dawid, Mike Reed, French experimentalist The Bridge, composer Ernest Dawkins, and soundscape artist Joseph C.Mills. Marvin’s art is exhibited in many galleries and museums, including The Intuit Museum in Chicago, one of the world’s premier museums dedicated to presenting self-taught art. Marvin Tate’s D-Settlement albums–Partly Cloudy, The Minstrel Show, American Icons–are newly available in a box set by American Dreams Records and on Bandcamp