Interdisciplinary artist Matt Woods, aka Motep, has been a sought-after collaborator and project manager in the Chicago arts and museum education scene since he moved to the city in 2001. Matt won “Best of Show” awards for his figurative painting style from Art Pace while in Texas, then moved to Chicago to manage a service learning program initiative with 6th through 8th graders. This quickly led to a range of partnerships that allowed him to cultivate a teaching style that synthesized technology, popular education, and contemporary art with both grassroots organizations and public institutions. Collaborating with non profits like Video Machete, Chicago Television Network, Urban Gateways, After School Matters, and Street-Level Youth Media, Matt has spent the last 15 years writing curriculum, visiting schools, and training teachers to use technology and art in the classroom. Through his work with museums like the Art Institute, Hyde Park Art Center, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Matt has been the interface to contemporary art for thousands of children, professionals, and families. He has also done consulting for special initiatives in youth programming through focus groups.
In his personal work, aside from self-producing two albums (Savage Journey and Orfeus Uprising), Matt created and curated one of the flagship events at the start of a second wave of underground black artists and musicians. The Soul Sessions (started from his loft downtown) influenced, nurtured, and celebrated a cluster of Chicago creatives that are now internationally recognized.