William Estrada

Art form(s): Community Based Art Practices

CAPE Teaching Artist since 2002


MA 2015 Art Education School of the Art Institute of Chicago

BFA 2000 Art Education School of the Art Institute of Chicago

William Estrada grew up in California, Mexico, and Chicago. His teaching and artmaking practice address inequity, migration, historical passivity, and cultural recognition in historically marginalized communities.

He documents and engages experiences in public spaces to transform, question, and make connections to established and organic systems through discussion, creation, and amplification of stories through creativity already present. He is currently a faculty member at the UIC School of Art and Art History and a Teaching Artist at Telpochcalli Elementary School. He has worked as an educator with Chicago Arts Partnership in Education, Hyde Park Art Center, SkyArt, Marwen Foundation, Urban Gateways, DePaul University’s College Connect Program, Graffiti Institute, Vermont College of Art and Design, Prison + Neighborhood Art Project, and the School of The Art Institute of Chicago.

William’s art and teaching are a collaborative discourse of existing images, text, and politics that appoints the audience to re-examine public and private spaces critically. As a teacher, artist, and cultural worker, he reports, records, reveals and amplifies experiences you find in academic books, school halls, teacher lounges, kitchen tables, barrios, college campuses, and in the conversations of close friends to engage in radical imagination. William is currently working with the Mobilize Creative Collaborative, Chicago ACT Collective, and Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative.

William has presented in various panels regarding community programming, arts integration, and social justice curricula through the Illinois Art Education Association, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois Humanities Council, Smart Museum of Art, the National Guild of Schools in the Arts, National Art Education Association, Teachers for Social Justice San Francisco, Iowa University, Grand View University, Illinois State University, University of Nebraska at Kearney, Nebraska Art Teachers Association, Illinois Arts Alliance, Chicago Cultural Alliance, Gallery 400, and Utah State University. In 2016 he was awarded the Teaching Artist Community Award from 3Arts Chicago and, in 2021, was awarded the National Leadership Award from the National Guild for Community Arts Education.

His current research is focused on developing community-based and culturally relevant projects that center power structures of race, economy and cultural access in contested spaces to collectively imagine just futures.

Artist Statement:
William Estrada is focused on collaboratively generating culturally responsive works of art in public spaces. Emphasizing community-based art education practices, Estrada amplifies the radical creativity present in marginalized spaces and the importance of honoring existing legacies, memories, familial traditions, and daily practices. The focus on developing personal relationships, reviving connections, and weaving experiences across communities is as important as the artifacts created.

His art projects critically listen to the experiences of historically marginalized people. He emphasizes the conscious process of collective knowledge the importance of artmaking in amplifying underrepresented stories and identifying support networks that aim to organize just futures.

Through play, social justice, and culturally responsive art education, he invites people to imagine and articulate their collective needs radically. Our resilience is practiced by our ability to imagine, learn, and teach cooperatively, identifying common themes and engaging in dialogue that addresses how we can use our collective creative resilience toward mutual liberation.

Learn more about William:

Images of William Estrada at work in CAPE classrooms

Images of William Estrada’s work