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Art & Soul records

Identifier: Midwest-MS-Art&Soul

Scope and Content of the Collection

Series 1 contains files and documents concerning Art &Soul’s operation, including proposals for funding and set-up, courses taught, and future plans for the space, as well as copies of photographs of Art & Soul, interview transcripts, and media coverage.

Series 2 is comprised of Ann Zelle’s subject files on African American history and art, museums, cultural and educational programs, and museum science. It includes DVD documentaries, slides, programs for museum and gallery exhibitions, newspaper clippings, and magazines dedicated to the Black Arts Movement.


  • Creation: 1917-2018
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1968-1992



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Art & Soul records are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Biography of Ann Zelle and History of Art & Soul

Ann Zelle is a photographer, sculptor, and educator. Born in Springfield, Illinois, she attended Mount Holyoke College and went on to study art at the Pius XII Institute in Florence, Italy. Upon her return, she researched and interned at the Newark Museum within their graduate program in museum studies. A surge in radical and culture politics following the Newark Riot of 1967 marked her time at the museum and greatly influenced her democratizing approach to art and museum administration.

After her graduate program ended, Ann traveled around the southern states until, in 1968, the Museum of Contemporary Art hired Ann to work with the Conservative Vice Lords, Inc. (CVL) to organize and fund Art & Soul. Formerly the Lawndale gang known as the Vice Lords, the CVL formed when the group’s leadership became concerned about the destructive influence of gang violence on West Side youth. As the Conservative Vice Lords, Inc., they sought to avert the cycle of violence by cultivating small business networks and creating educational opportunities for young people. Art & Soul (usually capitalized to ART & SOUL) was born out of this mission.

Over the course of the program’s run, Ann worked closely with the director of Art & Soul, Jackie Hetherington; his brother, Daniel Hetherington, who worked as the assistant director; art instructors Peter Gilbert and Theophilus Clay; James Houlihan, their contact person with the Illinois Sesquicentennial Commission; and Jan van der Marck, the director of the MCA. Together with the CVL, they brought in local plumbers, electricians, and carpenters to transform two dilapidated storefronts into a gallery space, a workshop, and a free library. Once finished, Art & Soul served as a point of artistic and cultural exchange and as an educational and affirmative space for West Side residents (particularly children).

The project was unable to garner the funding needed to extend its life, and it disbanded in 1969. Ann went on to work with the American Association of Museums and served as the head of the International Council of Museums American branch. She later became head of the Photography Program at American University, and she currently serves as an associate professor emerita in the university’s School of Communication. As of 2019, she resides in North Carolina.


1.3 Linear Feet (3 boxes)


Art & Soul (1968-1969) was a nonprofit workshop and gallery project designed and organized by the Conservative Vice Lords, Inc. in partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art. It provided a platform for the West Side community to pursue creative collaboration and arts education. These records include organizational and funding proposals, course materials, photographic copies, slides and DVDs, interview transcripts, and media coverage relating to Art & Soul and the Black Arts Movement.


Papers are organized in the following series:

Series 1: Art & Soul, 1968-2018
Box 1
Series 2: Subject Files, 1917-2015
Boxes 1-3

Collection Stack Location

1 41 6


Gift, Ann Zelle, 2018.

Separated Materials: Books Cataloged Separately

The following book came with the Art & Soul records and was separated out to be cataloged individually. See the Newberry Library online catalog for call number:

  • Sillin, Lelan F., Jr. What is our answer to Angelo Gonzalez? Washington, D.C.: Urban America, Inc., undated.

Separated Materials: Books Removed from Collection

The following books came with the Art & Soul records and removed from the collection.

  • Beckwith, Naomi, and Dieter Roelstraete. The Freedom Principle: Experiments in Art and Music, 1965 to Now.Chicago: University of Chicago Press, undated.
  • Chepesiuk, Ron. Black Gangsters of Chicago.Fort Lee, NJ: Barricade Books, 2007.
  • Dawley, David. A Nation of Lords: The Autobiography of the Vice Lords. Second Edition. Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press, 1992.
  • Keiser, R. Lincoln. The Vice Lords: Warriors of the Streets. Case Studies in Cultural Anthropology.New York: Hold, Rinehart and Winston, 1969.
  • Perkins, Useni Eugene. Explosion of Chicago’s Black Street Gangs, 1900 to Present.Chicago: Third World Press, 1987.

Processed by

Ashley Ngozi Agbasoga (processing plan), Grace Walsh, 2019.

Inventory of the Art & Soul records, 1917-2018, bulk 1968-1992
Grace Walsh
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States