About this submission
Working with Chicago Park District, two young artists – filmmaker Ezra Sera Pelaez and photographer Kendall Hill – were tasked with documenting the nature, arts, and culture youth programming during the summer of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the 8-month commission they followed teaching artists and youth participants throughout Chicago’s south and west sides to amplify their resilient stories. The Reparations for the Earth curriculum was realized with caring vigilance in the midst of coronavirus spikes. THEY SMILE BENEATH THEIR MASK showcases the abundance of community support, local history, and creative perseverance in a time of caution.