Allen Moore: Building Community Through Art

Allen Moore: Building Community Through Art

Creating a positive space for art-making
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Artist, curator and DJ Allen Moore is heavily involved in community engagement in the Chicagoland area where he inspires a call to activism through art and education. Moore wears many administrative hats in the art world, from co-curator at Comfort Station Logan Square to sound series curator at Experimental Sound Studio, facilitator / staff at ACRE Residency and meta-media mentor / educator at the McGaw YMCA in Evanston. Outside his involvement with these prominent arts organizations, Moore has also taught Foundation Drawing courses at Northern Illinois University and Governors State.


Moore draws inspiration from childhood memories, early trauma and a deep connection to music and family. Implementing a sense of personal history, Moore utilizes an inventive approach to 2D and sculpture - casting graphite records specifically recorded before 1987.


The records are cast from years 1986 and back, what Moore refers to as "proto years", meaning the years before his mother contracted a rare liver disease. Moore describes cherished memories of being five-years-old and listening to records with his mother every Friday in his family home. There was a happiness and a carelessness that was lost following his mothers illness. Music offers the unique opportunity to travel through time mentally. Hearing songs from his past, Moore is able to channel past moments and experiences felt while listening to that music.



Moore performs his graphite cast records in experimental sound pieces. The result is a series of tracks that hang in the air as inverted ghost-like sounds, Moore likens to the voices of beloved family members who have since past.


Graphite is a signature element of Moore's 2D and sculptural works. “Being poor, I didn’t have access to many materials, so I engineered mainly with paper and pencil.” It's often the case that graphite is dismissed in art due to its copious usage in contemporary practice. But being a derivative of carbon, it plays a role in the building blocks of life. Specifically, Carbon which makes up 18 percent of the human body. Moore reflects on the use of graphite as being essential and universal. He uses graphite in both traditional and non-traditional ways, to transcend the material beyond its predictable margin.



Moore's inventive process in art-making earned him a place as an ACRE artist in residence in 2015. From there he shifted a larger focus on sound design through ACRE's sound department, working in field recording and studio practice. Expanding on a skillset in digital recording, Allen now assists others with sound-based projects, provides workshops and tutorials on equipment, software, and more.


One of the many advantages of working as an artist in residence is the networking opportunities that occur there. The summer residency in Wisconsin lead Moore to collaborations with other mid-west artists and enlightened him to other independent artist-run initiatives in and around the city.

Now, as an ACRE staff member, Moore facilities programing for resident artists and acts as a liaison to visiting artist professionals. As faculty, Moore helps initiate and takes part in ACRE programing, through exhibitions in Chicago, and various art fairs around the city. Gallery programing gives greater exposure to ACRE artists. In addition to the physical space of the gallery, ACRE offers residents access to a user-friendly web space to upload work samples, information, writing or other works onto ACRE’s online flatfile. This online representation directs curators and critics to the artist's summer projects and more.


Moore's connections at ACRE helped broaden his knowledge of Chicago artist-run spaces. This started his involvement with Comfort Station Logan Square. At present, Moore is part of a team where each week a different artist group curates workshops within the station with one common goal: creating a good, safe, positive space for art-making.



Moore is affiliated with both the Comfort Station and the Art Leaders of Color Network (ALCN), who joined forces to present the P.O.W.E.R. Project. The project has been active since January 2017 and runs through the end of the month. The Comfort Station is transformed during these months to an ‘empowerment hub’ with a series of lectures, discussions, happenings, self-care exercises, and much more led by artists and members of the community. "The hope is that through series of engagements, people will be able to not only to lead their own actions but inspire others to take a stand against injustice and intolerance. The only way we can make it through these uncertain times is to do it together." (In reference to the current administration and overall political climate in the United States).

Moore extends his knowledge of sound design and experimentation to the non-profit, Experimental Sound Studio, an artist-run organization focused on sound in all its exploratory cultural manifestations. ESS is dedicated to supporting an eclectic, multidisciplinary model for the sonic arts, where Moore curates with other team members to facilitate in helping the work of artists at every stage of their careers and to reaching ever-widening audiences.


What draws Moore to these spaces is the unique independence they offer. "Independent means no limitations; you don't need the paintings on the walls to sell as a means to keep the doors from being closed." It's different in that way from commercial spaces. It's less exclusionary. These non-profits help democratize opportunity, which is an important focus for Moore. "What do commercial spaces do for the community?" Moore argues. These innovative organizations bring people together to share in thoughts and activism.



With each of Moore's creative endeavors he brings what can only be described as sage wisdom. Working with children 6th - 8th grade at McGraw YMCA, Moore inspires the youth to create and engage, offering affirmation and advocacy as well as knowledge. The Meta Media program is a fun, engaging youth space that fosters creative opportunities and connected learning. Youth makers at the YMCA choose how they participate in Meta Media, mostly engaging in do-it-yourself projects, and immersing themselves in projects based in science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM). Moore looks at this program as a way to offer some of the skills and encouragement that he wasn't afforded in his own youth. Giving back to the community gives many young, poor children a sense of purpose that keeps them invested in themselves and offers a more promising future. These projects build community and character in the lives of young creatives.


Allen moore has exhibited across Chicago and the greater mid-west, including exhibitions at Heaven Gallery, Chicago; Compound Yellow, Orland Park; Experimental Sound Studio, Chicago; Beauty Breaks, Session 6, Chicago; Governors State University; Roots & Culture Gallery, Chicago; Zhou B Art Center, Chicago; Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago; Northern Illinois University President's Home, DeKalb; The Ballroom, DeKalb; Suburban Kitchen, Evanston; Lucana Artists Lofts, Chicago; Phoenix Gallery, Chicago; The Robert F. DeCaprio Art Gallery, Palos Hills; Chicago State University; Neptune North, DeKalb; Gallery 215, DeKalb; Union Street Gallery, Chicago Heights; The GSU Visual Arts Gallery, University Park; Moraine Valley Community College, Palos Hills and more. His curatorial projects include GATHER, The P.O.W.E.R. Project, In(Finite),“Visible” for Austin Special and juried the exhibition Coffee Cart Nouveau at NIU. Moore holds an MFA from Northern Illinois University, an MA from Governors State and a BA from Chicago State. His work has been featured in publications including Sixty Inches From the Center, Movement Matters, Bad at Sports Contemporary Art Talk and featured in the Netflix Original Series “Easy” (Season 1 and 2).

Allen Moore is an ambitious contemporary artist and educator who wants to share the creative bug with everyone.

To follow Allen more closely

- Visit His Website
- Listen on SoundCloud
- "Follow" on Instagram


Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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The 10 Stages Of A 2:30 P.M. Kickoff, As Told By Alabama Students

But we still say Roll MF Tide!

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We all have a love-hate relationship with a 2:30 p.m. kickoff at Bryant Denny Stadium, especially when it's 94 degrees.

1. Immediate sadness

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What do you mean I have to wake up at 9 a.m. to get ready?

2. Bracing yourself for the worst

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It's a marathon not a sprint ladies and gentleman.

3. Accepting the game is going to happen

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Rain or shine we are all in that student section screaming our heads off.

4. Trying to wear the least amount clothes possible without being naked on the Quad

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Is it me or does it get 10 times more hot the minute you walk on to the quad?

5. Shedding a tear when you walk out your front door once you feel the heat and humidity on your skin

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Is it fall yet?

6. Drowning your sorrows inside a Red Solo cup at 11:30 a.m. at a fraternity tailgate

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Maybe I'll forget about the humidity if I start frat hopping now.

7. Getting in line to go through security realizing it'll take an hour to actually get inside Bryant Denny

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More security is great and all but remember the heat index in Alabama? Yeah, it's not easy being smushed like sardines before even getting into Bryant Denny.

8. Feeling the sweat roll down every part of your body

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Oh yeah I am working on my tan and all but what is the point of showering before kick off?

9. Attempting to cheer on the Tide, but being whacked in the head with a shaker by the girl behind you. 

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Shakers are tradition, but do we have to spin it around in a full 360 every two seconds? I have a migraine from just thinking about it.

10. Leaving a quarter into the game because Alabama is kicking ass and you're about to have a heat stroke.

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I'll watch the rest in air conditioning thank you very much!

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13 Female Characters Who Deserve More Love From Every Human EVER

Move over and give them some limelight, am I right?

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There are so many great female characters across media that I feel don't get their proper time in the limelight or in the heart of fans. Here's just a few of them:

1. Chani Kyenes. 

"Tell me of the waters of your homeworld, Usul."

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Chani Kyenes from Frank Herbert's "Dune" makes the list because she has only been immortalized in the film twice, once in the "Dune" miniseries and once in the laughably bad film adaption. Chani is a warrior hardened by the desert, but she also exhibits a much softer side in her role as a partner to the Emperor. Despite that, she is more than a love interest, she is a fierce warrior, a loving daughter, and a protector of her tribe.

2. Elizabeth Swann. 

"The Brethren will still be looking here, to us, to the Black Pearl to lead. And what will they see? Frightened bilge rats aboard a derelict ship? No. No, they will see free men! And freedom!"

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Elizabeth Swann often sneaks under people's radars as an interesting character. She is strong willed, leaves behind a rather privileged life to become a pirate, and ends up becoming the King of all Pirates. With a rousing speech, she leads the rest of the pirates into battle and its a shame we didn't get to see much of her in the most recent addition to the franchise.

3. Claire Temple . 

"I am no one's sidekick."

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I don't think Marvel fans realize important she is. Claire appears in all of the Marvel "Defenders" Netflix shows at least once. Claire Temple is the nurse that stitches together the Defenders, without her, the team probably wouldn't have been alive to save the day, let alone meet each other. Claire is the Night Nurse and spends her time giving medical aid to the vigilantes who can't go to the hospital. Not only is she a healer, she's a darn good fighter and I wouldn't want to be on her bad side.

4. Claire Underwood. 

"My turn."

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The loyal wife to Frank Underwood in "House of Cards," Claire stays by his side for years and sacrifices her own wants, needs, and ambitions in order to see his through. She knows how to play the game just as well as he does, however, and I can't wait to see what she does that it's her turn in the seat of power.

5. Sansa Stark. 

"My skin has turned from porcelain, to ivory, to steel."

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Sansa Stark has gotten quite a bad rap from fans of George RR Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" series. That's unfair. The hate boils down to Sansa's behavior as an adolescent girl with a really really really really terrible crush.

I mean, Joffery makes Justin Bieber look like a Catholic Saint.

Sansa has lived through more than anyone should have to and all because of a misguided crush. She may not be an assassin like her younger sister, but if anyone knows how to play the "Game of Thrones" its Sansa.

6. Scarlett O'Hara. 

"Great balls of fire. Don't bother me anymore, and don't call me sugar."

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Scarlett O'Hara makes it onto the list because, although she is often regarded as a bit of callous woman, she has a spirit in her that some wish they could have. Scarlett is told to be softer and gentler to men by her mother, in a time where that was expected of women and she refuses. Scarlett is loud, opinionated, and marries multiple men for their money and the security of it. But she is wickedly smart as well. She ends up running her own business when one of her husbands is too stupid to do it and she even has the ingenuity to make a dress out of the window drapes when all else fails.

7. Martha Jones. 

"I spent a lot of time with you thinking I was second best. But you know what? I am good."

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Martha Jones is the Doctor's second companion, a black female on her way to becoming a doctor. As such, she deals with horrific prejudices when she goes back in time with him. She even has to deal with the Doctor's harshness towards her, a result of his heartbreak over Rose Tyler. But once Martha realizes that he will never return her feelings, she recognizes that she deserves better and leaves his side. The ultimate sign of strength, in my opinion.

8. Padme Amidala. 

"I call this aggressive negotiations."

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Padme Amidala is regulated to a love interest in the "horrible" prequels by many. However, she was elected Queen of Naboo at the age of 14 (let's not get into how many things are wrong there) and forced to deal with the genocide of her people unless she signed an unfair trade treaty.

Can you imagine yourself doing that at 14? Yeah. Not only does she manage to stop the assault on her people when her time as a queen is up, she continues to serve them as Senator, even while pregnant to the twins that will save the Rebellion.

9. Mulan. 

"You said you trust Ping. Why is Mulan any different?"

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Like other women on the list, when presented with the traditional role of femininity, Mulan doesn't feel like she belongs. Yet, she still tries. So when her disabled war veteran father is called to serve in another war, this time, Mulan takes up the mantle. She cuts her hair with a swipe of the sword and rides off into the night on her father's horse. And in the end, she does not save China as Ping, but as Fa Mulan. Why isn't there to love about that?

10. Colleen Wing. 

"There are people who run away from the fire, and people who run into it."

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Colleen Wing earns her place here because she reminds us that Asian women can be love interests while at the same time being independent, fierce, and karate masters of their own. When it comes down to it, when Collen is in distress, she does not wait for the Iron Fist to save her. She saves herself, defeats the man who betrayed her and even manages to take the higher road. A role model we should all look up too.

11. Maeve Millay. 

"At first, I thought you and the others were Gods. Then I realized you're just men. And I know men."

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Maeve begins the story as a madame in a brothel for the AI world of Westworld, with no free will of her own. Alongside Dolores, she begins a journey to finding her free will. In a surprise twist, she is given the plotline most often given to the white female protagonist and therefore the one that viewers assumed would go to Dolores. But no, it is Maeve who begins the journey of leading other androids into the promised land.

12. Leslie Knope. 

"What I hear when I'm being yelled at is people caring really loudly at me"

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"Someone has to save our skins. Into the garbage chute, fly boy."

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Princess turned General Leia was the first woman that I really wanted to grow up and turn into. A clever politician who had a glamorous fashion sense, just like her mother. Leia proved her worth time and time again, saving her own rescue mission multiple times and then becoming a General in the Resistance against the First Order. She even strangled Jabba to death with the chains he had enslaved her with. You could only hope to be so cool.

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