This article originally appeared in Travel+Leisure.
One day this past June, I left my house on Chicago's South Side, where the leafy neighborhoods of Hyde Park and Kenwood meet, to take a walk with Adrienne Brown. A colleague at the University of Chicago, Brown studies architecture and the perception of race. We had a plan to look at the murals that run through about a mile of the underpasses in our neighborhood.
Much of the public art near us has been made by Black, Latinx, and Indigenous artists, and its presence has seemed essential over the past five years of political upheaval and the pandemic. The South Side is a world away from the cultural institutions of downtown and the North Side, and while I still take pleasure in those grand halls and galleries, these days, I'm more often searching for art that reflects a sense of movement. Chicago's history can be told in migrations: the Great Migration of Black people from the American South; the passages from Mexico that have given the city the country's second-largest Mexican American population; the return migrations of Native people, who had been forced into exile and came back to labor here.