About The Still Searching Project​

Founded by Damon Lamar Reed (project artist) and Nicole Reed (project manager), the mission of the Still Searching Project is to use art to raise awareness about underrepresented missing women from the Chicagoland area. 

After looking at old news stories about the 40 year unsolved case of his aunt (Valerie Pride) and 2 cousins (Shontia and Duana) who were murdered in 1982, Damon began to research other cases.  He realized how many women of color were missing. Yet it wasn’t being talked about in the media.  After a conversation with Nicole, they knew something had to be done to shine a light on these cases.  When the pandemic hit and everything shut down, this gave Damon the opportunity to paint his first portrait, Kierra Coles. It wasn’t just a good idea, but a God Idea…The Still Searching Project was birthed!

The goal is to:

  • Bring attention to their cases in hopes of finding real answers
  • Honor the families of the missing 
  • Address the need for public safety
  • Inspire community organizing and participation
  • Be a voice for the voiceless

How is this project helping the community?

  • Addresses public safety in a creative way
  • Starts discussions with residents and law enforcement
  • Brings awareness to the quality of life of Chicago residents
  • Speaks up for many underrepresented families
  • Inspires community organizing, civic engagement and participation
Project Artist

Damon Lamar Reed

There’s truth to the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Artist Damon Lamar Reed brings that truth to reality.  From hip-hop to public art, he strives to create messages that reach the depth of the human condition.

As a young artist, Damon was a national competitor in NAACP’s Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics(ACT-SO), a winner of the Congressional Art Competition,  and a graduate of the Harvard Career Discovery Program in Architecture. After graduating from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago(SAIC) in 1999, he soon after attended Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture Artist Residency.  In 2003, Kerry James Marshall featured Damon’s work in his solo show at the Museum of Contemporary Art(MCA), One True Thing, Meditations on Black Aesthetics.

As an artist and entrepreneur, Reed has now created over 280 public art projects including: works for Super Bowl 46,  Showtime(The Chi), Gatorade,  the Chicago Blackhawks, Ticketmaster,  and Sears to name a few.  His work is  featured in books such as, Kym Pinders’, Painting the Gospel: Public Art and Religion in Chicago.  During the George Floyd riots, the BBC did a feature on the impact of Damon’s art;  and recently News Nation, ABC, CBS, WGN, Fox and NBC featured The Still Searching Project, in which he paints portraits of missing women in Chicagoland.  He is also filming a documentary with the same name backed by Hulu, Kartemquin and Still I Rise Films.

Recently, Reed received the Neighborhood Access Program (N.A.P.) Grant from the City of Chicago to do more Still Searching murals on the south side of Chicago. He was the first artist to receive the “Gem of the Community Award” from Architreasures, for his ability to collaborate with the community. In 2022, he also became the first person to accept “The Artist Award” from The Healing Foundation. He is also a recipient of the 2022 “Treasurers Award” from the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County.

Damon is the only artist on the City of Chicago’s band roster and prequalified artist list.  He is a true believer in the POWER of art and he uses it as a catalyst to change the world!

Visit Damon Lamar Reed on the web:

Project manager

Nicole Reed

As an avid student, Nicole began her career journey by attaining her BS in Computer Information Systems at DePaul University. Believing that she could play a vital role in bringing computer literacy to inner-city communities she was greatly taken aback when a Photographer saw her and advised her to get into runway modeling.

Helpful Links

The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) is a national information clearinghouse and resource center for missing, unidentified, and unclaimed person cases across the United States.

Cook County Sheriff’s Police Department Missing Persons Project

Illinois Missing Persons

Girls Like Me Project — Empowering Girls to Change the World

Black and Missing