Dominique Chestand

Resident Artist
  • Writer/Poet

Dominique Chestand is a jack of all trades and master of few. She is a Theater and Drama graduate of The Chicago Academy for the Arts and holder of a BA in Theatre and Communication Arts from University of Wisconsin-Madison with a focus in film. As a self-proclaimed multimedia artist that has been trained in theater, dance, music, film, painting, photography, etc., there is truly no limit to her expression. This diverse practice allows her to blend her artistry to create dynamic, meaningful bodies of work to explore the experiences of black, queer, woman-identified and otherwise marginalized bodies. Of all her skills, language– specifically, poetry–  is the most familiar medium used to convey these truths.

The power of truth has led this queer black woman from Chicago’s Southside, across the world and back again. Needless to say, adversity is no stranger to Chestand and she is not shy to let the world know that vulnerability is one of the sharpest tools in her shed. She spreads the message of transparency not only in her stage performances as an actor and poet but also in her various roles as an administrator. As an educator and organizer, Dominique makes it a point to keep herself and those around her as open and honest as possible. As a freelance teaching artist at her alma mater Young Chicago Authors (YCA), she encourages young poets and artists to acknowledge their individual truth and tell it how only they can. Honesty is not always glamourous but it is necessary to shape yourself into the artist you are meant to be.

Chestand applies the crucial lesson of truth to her latest and arguably most important poetic venture to date. In her most recent poetic voyage, she is exploring the uncharted waters of how breast cancer consumed the most important person in her life. In her first book, titled How We Killed my Mother, Chestand will examine the weight of her mother’s death and what truth is still unravelling about her family’s response to mortality. Among her many endeavors for the new year, this collection of poems is by far her most important work. This is all new for Chestand as she is deconstructing the use of various media to focus solely on poetry. This is a personal challenge to ensure that her words can stand with the confidence she strives to embody every day.