Wed-Thu: 11AM-5PM | Fri-Sat: by advance appointment
Wed-Thu: 11AM-5PM | Fri-Sat: by advance appointment

Nekita Thomas

Nekita Thomas is a multidisciplinary experiential graphic designer, educator, and researcher dedicated to harnessing design for social impact. Her work focuses on the intersection of race, well-being, and urban design, spatializing justice and reimagining the civic role of design in our lives and communities. Bridging graphic design, tactical urbanism, and civic engagement, her research explores design's capacity to strengthen communities, initiate radical imagining, and amplify civic participation through anti-racist placemaking solutions. Thomas's initiatives, including public installations and participatory design workshops, guide communities toward envisioning and actualizing healthier, more inclusive, and just spatial environments and futures.

Thomas’s practice has helped steward projects with the National Public Housing Museum's Corner Store Co-op, the Chicago Sukkah Festival as part of the 2023 Chicago Architecture Biennial, and SkyART Chicago in reimagining the future of South-Chicago. These collaborations highlight her dedication to creating spaces that foster dialogue and understanding, emphasizing the critical role of design in addressing societal issues.

She has presented her work across disciplinary domains on both national and international stages, including venues such as the Krannert Art Museum, the Black in Design Conference at Harvard (BiD), the American Institute of Graphic Arts Design Educators Conference (AIGA), the International Association of Societies of Design Research Conference (IASDR), and artist residencies such as at Ragdale Foundation. These platforms have not only showcased her contributions to the field but also amplified her voice in the critical conversations around spatial justice.

Thomas holds a BFA in Graphic Design from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an MFA in Visual Studies from the University at Buffalo New York. She is an Assistant Professor of Graphic Design and Design for Responsible Innovation at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Image: Nekita Thomas, Black Space Protocols, 2022, Public Installation

CAC Residency

2024 - 2025,
Artist Resident