We are happy to announce


as the January 2015 recipient of our

Monthly Gift Initiative!


Dawoud Bey is a photographer, father, curator, professor,

writer, musician, and powerfully warm, grounded essence

that lives, works, and resonates throughout Chicago (and beyond).


If you’ve had the privilege to share a conversation with Dawoud,

it is likely you’ve learned something important from that experience –

his words may still be settling in your mind as the months and years pass,

and you may find yourself later sharing these lessons with those you care about.


Dawoud is generous in his role as an educator,

frequently offering guidance and considerate insight

in his engagements within his personal communities

as well as in larger dialogues with the rest of our world

through his expansive practices as a prolific thinker and doer.


Whether he is sharing a grounding perspective

when the hopes for humanity seem to be collapsing,

or sharing the newest works of a recent graduate student

as a propellant for their future and a spotlight for their ideas,

or simply sharing a delectable review of a recent meal on Facebook,

Dawoud teaches us how to embrace the nuances of our days

while representing a contagious appreciation for being alive.


This month, we responded to Dawoud’s motivating influences

with an invitation to collaborate on a notebook:


We call it


for Dawoud Bey.

Dawoud writes:

Simplicity is my hallmark, so the notebook should be understated...but elegant. Shades of grey with lined pages and un-ruled pages. Red in there somewhere, since red always awakens the senses and the eyes, especially when paired with grey or black. The notebook should be useable but so beautiful that you almost don't want to use it.

I shall leave it to you to do what you do best...


As Dawoud has a mysterious ability to see every exhibition ever

and seemingly be in multiple cities at the same time,

his notebook needed to be portable as well as durable:

the small 4.5" x 7" size with a vinyl buckram wrapped cover

will last long and show little wear through its travel and use.


The book consists of two main sections (red-ruled and unruled)

divided by a third section of textured gray vellum papers

to be used for sketching or as a file for collected ephemera.

The endpages represent a bold red that carries

throughout the book in its thread and headbands.


THE MODEST VANGUARD consists of 144 pages

for Dawoud to fill with his beautiful ideas.


Thank you for inspiring us Dawoud,

We hope you enjoy.