Don McIlvaine collection

Inclusive Dates: 
Survey Repository: 

This record forms part of the Chicago’s Art-Related Archival Materials: A Terra Foundation Resource project funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art. For this project, the Archives surveyed archival repositories throughout the Chicago region to identify art-related materials contained in their holdings. While the Archives of American Art does not own any of the materials described herein, information about those materials and links to the original repositories have been included when available.

Descriptive Summary

14 reels of 16mm totaling 12,170 feet; 33 reels of 8mm totaling 2,300 feet; 16 reels of Super 8mm totaling 1,400 feet, consisting of home movies and short films shot by Chicago artist and muralist Don McIlvaine. The collection primarily features scenes from Chicago's Lawndale and Bronzeville neighborhoods, including mural works in progress and scenes from McIlvaine's "Art and Soul" classroom in Lawndale. The collection also includes home movies documenting McIlvaine's travels, including a trip to Haiti and a young Conservative Vice Lords camping trip. Also in the collection are interview films, one with Chicago Bear's football player Gale Sayers as well as a 1972 interview with American political activist and scholar Angela Davis.

Biographical Historical Note

Don McIlvaine is known for his large scale street paintings of everyday struggles. A Washington, D.C., native, McIlvaine attended Howard University and then studied art at the Corcoran Art School and the Newark Academy of Art. McIlvaine moved to Chicago in 1957 and served as director of Chicago's Lawndale art gallery "Art & Soul," a project of the Conservative Vice Lords, and taught at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Working with gang youth in his Lawndale neighborhood, he elevated mural art to national attention in 1969-1970 with six dynamic and politically conscious street paintings.