Sep 19th 2019

Soap Box Ball 2019

@ Glessner House

1800 S Prairie Ave, Chicago, IL 60616

Opening Thursday, September 19th, from 6PM - 10PM

It’s time to get on your soap box.

Join City Bureau for our biggest party of the year, the 2019 Soap Box Ball celebration! This year we’re throwing a garden party at the idyllic Glessner House courtyard and coach house with exciting one-night-only performances and presenters that guarantee an evening to remember.

You’ll see an art interactive by artist and educator William Estrada, poetry by City Bureau reporting fellow alumni Davon Clark and headliners Tonika Johnson and Roy Kinsey who will join forces once to bring us Chicago realness with an original performance of music and spoken word. DJ CQQCHIFRUIT will provide grooves throughout the evening and of course there will be food and libations to enjoy throughout.

Support innovative local journalism that informs, engages and equips YOU to make the media that Chicago deserves.

No other event this summer will compare, we can’t wait to share this special evening with you.




Visual artist and photographer Tonika Johnson, and librarian, written word artist and rapper Roy Kinsey, met as peers working in the arts within the cultural enclave of Chicago’s Black arts community. Their work is inspired by the Great Migration and the indelible legacies of their grandmothers. Often employing imagery from the African American image sourcing company Blvck Varchives, the past, present and future of Black Chicago remains very literally in the background of each of their installations and also at the forefront of their ongoing creative dialogue and interplay.


Educator and artist William Estrada grew up in California, Mexico and Chicago. His work focuses on addressing inequity, migration, historical passivity and cultural recognition in underrepresented communities. He documents and engages experiences in public spaces to transform, question and make connections to established and organic systems. He is currently a visual art teacher at Telpochcalli Elementary and faculty at the School of Art and Art History at UIC. His current research is focused on developing community-based and culturally relevant projects that center power structures of race, economy and cultural access in contested spaces.


Davon Clark is a Philadelphia-raised writer and photographer now based in Chicago. His art looks to fill in the gaps left behind in coverage of the worlds that he lives in and peripheral to, using investigative journalism practices to inform how he approaches his work and its uses. He likes flowers and the little things in life.

More performer announcements to come!


City Bureau is an award-winning civic journalism lab bringing communities together to produce more equitable and impactful local media. They confront issues of inequity and exclusion in reporting at the root, through three ongoing programs.

Since 2015, City Bureau has held over 100 Public Newsroom workshops, trained over 500 citizens to document public meetings and graduated more than 100 Civic Reporting Fellows.

This year, City Bureau’s four co-founders earned the prestigious “Press Freedom – Rising Star Award” from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, alongside industry luminaries like CNN’s April Ryan and The Atlantic’s David G. Bradley.

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