Irina Zadov is an artist, educator, and cultural organizer. A Soviet Jewish refugee, her practice explores the relationship between the individual and the collective, the home and the state, diasporic community and chosen family. She is passionate about healing justice, emergent strategy, trauma-informed pedagogy, and cultivating spaces that nurture personal and structural transformation.
She works in partnership with youth, artists, grassroots organizers, and cultural institutions including: Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Hyde Park Art Center, Smart Museum of Art, National Museum of Mexican Art, DuSable Museum of African American History, South Side Community Art Center, Cambodian American Heritage Museum and Killing Fields, Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health, Chicago Freedom School, Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, and Cambodian Institute for Peace. In addition to working with preexisting institutions, Irina has co-founded multiple collective initiatives including Feast of Words, Open Feast, Hyde Park Dacha, Cities of Peace, Chicago Home Theater Festival, and Queering the Parks.
She is a Senior Program Specialist within the Culture, Art & Nature Department of the Chicago Park District, where she cultivates city-wide youth programming, civic engagement, and cultural stewardship. Her work has been generously supported through grants and awards from the American Alliance of Museums, Institute of Museum and Library Services, US Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Chicago Art Department, DHR Studios in The Hague, Propeller Fund, Puffin Foundation, Open Meadows Foundation, Chicago Park District, Terra Foundation for American Art, Illinois Humanities, Chicago Foundation for Women, Crossroads Fund, and Rockwood Leaders in Racial Justice and Human Right Institute.