Juan William Chávez is an artist and cultural activist who creates and shares space in the built and natural environment to address community identified issues. Chavez’s studio research is at the heart of his practice which incorporates drawings, films, photographs, architectural interventions, and unconventional forms of beekeeping and agriculture that utilize art as a way of researching, developing and implementing creative placemaking and socially-engaged projects. His exhibitions then feature studio research in the form of multimedia installations.
Chávez’s contributions have been instrumental to the development of Saint Louis’ cultural landscape, as well as the canon of social practice. He was the founder of Boots Contemporary Art Space, an artist-run-space dedicated to supporting emerging artists, creator of the Pruitt-Igoe Bee Sanctuary, a proposal to transform the former housing development into a public space that cultivates community through beekeeping and urban agriculture, and founder of the Northside Workshop, a space dedicated to addressing social justice issues in North Saint Louis.
Chavez has exhibited at ArtPace, Van Abbemuseum, Harris Lieberman Gallery and Laumeier Sculpture Park. His interdisciplinary approach to art has gained the attention and support of prestigious institutions like the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, Creative Capital, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, and Art Matters Foundation. Chávez holds a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and a MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Juan was Born in Lima, Peru and raised in St. Louis where he lives and works.