Shkunna Stewart and Wills Glasspiegel

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Eye Icon Icon of an eye with lashes, opened if the projection is on view; closed if projection is archived.



About the Work

Shkunna Stewart partnered with Wills Glasspiegel (the filmmaker behind ART on THE MART's 2021 Footnotes projection that won Time Out Chicago’s Best in The City Award for the category of public artwork) to direct Billiken, a large-scale work composed of video footage and animated imagery that celebrates the talented youth dance groups and marching bands that participate and compete in Chicago’s annual Bud Billiken Parade, the largest and longest-running African American parade in the U.S.

Spearheaded by the Chicago Defender newspaper in 1929, generations of south-side Chicagoans have participated in the Parade throughout the decades. Shkunna Stewart is the fourth generation of her family to lead dancers at the parade, having won broad acclaim after taking first place in the parade’s dance competition on several occasions with her dance group, Bringing Out Talent, featured in the projection alongside over 100 local dancers including the much-admired South Shore Drill Team. Billiken is co-produced by Chicago Defender Charities.

Additional collaborators for Billiken included DJ RP Boo, a legendary trailblazer in Chicago’s house music and footwork dance scenes. RP Boo was among the first DJs to spin live at Bud Billiken in the ’90s, helping craft a musical tradition that continues at the parade today. RP Boo has assembled a house music soundtrack to accompany Billiken, punctuated with samples from Rich Township Marching Machine, a youth marching band from Rich Township High School in the south suburbs. Also involved in the project is Brandon K. Calhoun, reprising his role as animator after his and Glasspiegel’s Footnotes.

Billiken was presented in alignment with the City of Chicago’s 2022 Year of Chicago Dance.

About Shkunna Stewart

Shkunna Stewart is the co-director of the project which features her dance group BOT
(Bringing Out Talent). Stewart is a fourth generation youth dance troupe leader from the South Side of Chicago, and her team has won broad acclaim, including taking first prize for dance on several occasions at the annual Bud Billiken Parade in Chicago. 

About Wills Glasspiegel

Wills Glasspiegel is a filmmaker, artist, and scholar from Chicago. His films have screened widely, including at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Chicago Cultural Center, MANA Contemporary and the Paris Philharmonic. Glasspiegel is part of The Era Footwork Crew and works as a creative director on IN THE WURKZ, an award-winning footwork performance by The Era. Glasspiegel has produced public radio segments for All Things Considered and Morning Edition and was recognized as a co-recipient of a Peabody Award in 2014 for his contributions to the public radio program Afropop Worldwide. He co- founded the arts and racial justice nonprofit, Open the Circle ( in Chicago in 2017.

Sponsor Information

The Walder Foundation was established by Joseph and Elizabeth Walder to address critical issues impacting our world. The Foundation’s five areas of focus—science innovation, environmental sustainability, the performing arts, migration and immigrant communities, and Jewish life—are an extension of the Walders’ lifelong passions, interests, and their personal and professional experiences.

"Most people don’t understand the work that we do as dance presidents, CEOs and organizers. We save lives through dance. We give youth a place to be themselves, to build confidence and joy. Billiken shows that."