Artist Bio

Lee Bay

(Bio as of May 2018)

has maintained a civic presence in Chicago for more than two decades in the fields of arts, culture, architecture and urban planning. Bey is vice president of the DuSable Museum of African America History, where his duties include overseeing exhibition planning, education, programming and civic engagement. A former Chicago Sun-Times architecture critic, he is also an active writer, lecturer and photographer of the built environment. His architectural writing, photography and reportage have appeared in a variety of places including The Guardian, the U.K.’s Monocle Radio, CITE Magazine, Chicago Reader and Crain’s Chicago Business. In addition, his photography of farm workers housing in Alamosa, CO and Chicago’s Archer Courts apartments were featured in the museum exhibit Wohnmodelle: Experiment und Alltag, which debuted in 2008 in Austria’s Kunstlerhaus. His Chicago architectural photography was the subject of a 2011 exhibit Chicago: Then and Now–a Story by Lee Bey at the historic City Gallery. His latest photo exhibit, Chicago: a Southern Exposure, documenting the rich and largely overlooked architecture of Chicago’s South Side, is featured in the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial, and hosted by the DuSable Museum. Bey was deputy chief of staff to Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, a position in which he advised the mayor on architecture and urban planning while helping shape the administration’s position on development, lakefront protection, park construction and architectural preservation. He also helped oversee major redevelopment efforts such as the $660 million Soldier Field renovation. After his tenure in the mayor’s office, Bey joined the Chicago office of Skidmore Owings & Merrill as director of governmental affairs for Skidmore Owings & Merrill’s Chicago office. In this role, he served as chief governmental expert and an in-house consultant on urban design issues. He is also former executive director for the Chicago Central Area Committee, a civic group composed of business and cultural leaders devoted to improving the architecture, transportation, cultural life and urban design of downtown Chicago.  Chicago public television station WTTW in 2014 called Bey “one of Chicago’s keenest observers of architecture and urban planning.”