Thoughts on Parenthood

Thoughts on Parenthood is an interactive arts project examining the unique experience of parenthood, and inspired by the Chicago premiere of contemporary opera Blue. With the help of activist and photographer Tonika Johnson we will connect with communities across the city of Chicago, gathering personal stories of parents–their greatest wishes, biggest needs, and proudest moments.

The survey process for this project is now over. In September, we will begin featuring selected stories from parents across the city. We invite you to check back then.

The process so far

Beginning in January of 2020, we invited parents to share their thoughts on their experiences in Chicago. We were grateful to receive more than 200 responses, and we were inspired by the honesty, love, and concerns that parents shared. Examples of our survey questions included, “Is there anything that you wish you could provide your child?” and “What do you take pride in being able to provide for your child?" Following this initial survey process, we selected respondents based on the desire to collect a wide diversity of stories and experiences.

With the onset of COVID-19 in March 2020, our project came to a halt. This July, we have rebooted the project, reconnected with our community partners, and reintroduced ourselves to selected respondents with new questions to address the current times. Artist Tonika Johnson will conduct one on one interviews with selected respondents.

What does "parent" mean?

For the purposes of this survey, a “parent” is defined as anyone who has taken legal and/or social responsibility for a child. The goal of this project is to include as many unique stories of parenthood as possible. So, if you consider yourself to be a “parent,” please feel free to participate!

Examples of parents include, but are by no means limited to:

  • Biological parents
  • Adoptive parents
  • Step-parents
  • Foster parents
  • Caregivers (grandparents, aunts/uncles, family friends, etc.)
  • Parents who conceived through alternative means (surrogacy, IVF, IUI, etc.)
  • Parents whose children are adults
  • Estranged parents or parents separated from their children

Our partners

Thank you to our community partners involved in helping us build this exciting project: 

Are you a community organization interested in getting involved with us on Thoughts on Parenthood? Fill out this form, and someone from Lyric will contact you directly. 

Photo: Karli Cadel/The Glimmerglass Festival