#1 Privatization

Inheriting The Grid #1

By Daniel Tucker — AREA Begins In the mid-spring months of 2005, I started meeting regularly with Jim Duignan, an artist and educator who has been initiating a wide range of collaborative projects under the name of the Stockyard Institute for the last ten years. I had been looking for an opportunity to collaborate with Stockyard for some time, […]

On June 18th

By Amanda Torres — On June 18th, 2005, twenty teenagers from Young Chicago Authors (YCA) walked next door to face the “Axe Effect” ad erected not even a week after the YCA Mural , a series of nine huge panels created by the artist Chris Silva in partnership with community youth , was torn down by developers who are […]

Worker-Run Factories and Chicago Neighborhoods that Need Them

By Ryan Hollon — If you drive through Chicago’s West Side you will see blocks full of factories that are either abandoned or on their way to being abandoned. If you live on the West Side, or if you drive there and get out of your car long enough to talk to people, you will find that there are […]

Neighborhood Orchard

By Nance Klehm — Little Village is a neighborhood of 90,000 people in 4 square miles. Low density housing of single family homes and buildings with 3-4 units occupied by extended families. La Villita is mostly culturally Mexican and low income. It has the least amount of open space in the city; the main shopping district, however, along 26th […]

Community Referrals

By Kristen Cox — David Buchanan and Monica Avery met in 2001 through the Stone Soup Cooperative on the North side in Chicago. David is Head Physician in the Social Medicine Department at Cook County Hospital, and Monica is a community organizer. Both are committed to working for social justice. Monica joined David this summer to help him with […]

Introducing: Mutual Aid Phonebook

By AREA — “MAP is an ambitious project, to create a directory–starting in Chicago and branching out across the country–where anarchos/ anti-authoritarians can post an ad (for free) advertising any skills you may have to offer your comrades. Bike repair, barbers, computers, recording studios … anything at all.” , –from www.maphonebook.org On July 18, area conducted an e-mail […]

Fight or Walk

By Midwest Unrest — The purpose of this article is to help us discuss the strengths and weaknesses of our fare strike campaign in Chicago, as well as to help groups in other cities who want to organize around transit issues. When we first decided to do this campaign, there wasn’t much to read on how other people had […]

Sex in the Age of Environmental Disaster

By Jeff Edwards — One of the things that had to go when the City of Chicago decided it was time for the gentrification of Uptown to proceed full-speed was the man-on-man sex that has brought men together from across race and class lines for decades in the tall grasses along the North lakefront. The City first went about […]

A Lesson In Good Intentions

By Anonymous — This spring marked the end of an era in Chicago’s arts educational programming. After almost fifteen years of creative history, Chicago’s prestigious Gallery 37 (g37) has been merged into the larger, administrative structure of the After School Matters (asm) organization. Though it remains to be seen whether this merger will be friendly or hostile, the […]

Whose City Is It, Anyway?

By Pauline Lipman — The new world order is coming to roost in Chicago with a vengeance. Increasingly the city is defined by Neoliberalism, the global policies of transnational capital that make the market and individual self-interest primary in every sphere of economic and social life. On every side we see the elimination of the public interest and public […]

Position on Renaissance 2010

By Teachers for Social Justice — Text Originally from www.teachersforjustice.org, January 6, 2005 Teachers for Social Justice is a network of Chicago area teachers committed to critical, anti-racist, multicultural, participatory, democratic education. We believe that real school improvement requires the full participation of those with the most stake in high quality public education for all students –families, students, community members, and […]

Chicago Street Art Archive: Josh MacPhee

By Josh MacPhee — The streets of Chicago are a huge body of interacting expressions. Architecture provides the backbone, but city government, corporations, neighborhood entities and individuals compete to fill out the flesh. I’m most interested in this contestation over defining the aesthetics of space. Corporations construct billboards only to have them covered by the names of graffiti writers. […]

CHAos Creates Change

By Micah Maidenberg — In late May, a group of Chicago artists hijacked an advertising campaign sponsored by the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) and turned it back on the city as a vehicle for a biting critique of the CHA’s controversial Plan for Transformation. The artists turned the housing authority’s “CHAnge” campaign into “CHAos.” The Plan for Transformation, now […]

View From The Ground

By Daniel Tucker — 07/11/05 AREA Please introduce The View From The Ground project and provide some background on how it has functioned. Jamie The View grew out of a particular history, a particular set of relationships, a particular place and time. Throughout the 90′s, I was deeply engaged in the life of the Stateway Gardens public housing development. […]

YOU ARE _____

By You Are Beautiful — We created posters that simply stated “You Are”, with a space to respond. We were curious as to what people were thinking, and even more interested in what someone would stop and take the time to write onto a poster. The posters were placed along sidewalks to catch the passerby, some where it blended in […]

Give or Take: Chicago

By Salem Collo-Julin — Free stuff is considered necessary, surprising, and sometimes suspect. People never want to take free stuff when it’s handed to them on the street. You wonder if the giver is really trying to sell you something, or proselytizing, or both. It’s hard on givers as well. You give something away and wonder if someone else […]

Dear Chicago, from Mess Hall

By Mess Hall — I love you. Unabashedly, with devotion, and always. You have millions of faces and voices. You are daring but Midwestern. Homegrown, yet futuristic. Surprising and comfortable, with streets that curve, but always with your eye on the lake. My darling Chicago, you are the city of my dreams, but, as both you and I know, […]


By Nicholas Brown — The line separating Illinois from its neighbors is announced by colorful signage along the Interstate.  After the billboards for low-tax gas, Kentucky cigarette outlets, and cheap fireworks fall away, a sign juxtaposing corn and skyscrapers welcomes motorists to the state.   On the ground, of course, corn and skyscraper never meet.  The sign’s compression of […]

Burgeoning Blackstone

By Gabriel Piemonte — A unique alternative art center almost lost to natural and political forces in Chicago has been reborn, and its new composition can provide important lessons to anyone involved in social and cultural innovation.   Well known to those who have come in contact with it, the Blackstone is on the verge of engaging a broader […]

Buddy 2002-2005

By Ed Marszewski — “At once it became the rendezvous of leading labor organizers and leaders, of radical artists too often coarse and ribald, of modern poets often equally unrefined and gross, of rising literary personages and revolutionists.   …It opened its doors wide to everybody who had a message, a grievance, a hope, or a criticism – constructive […]

Introducing: 49th Street Underground

By AREA Staff — “49th” because we meet in the Blackstone Public Library on the corner of 49th St. and Lake Park. “Underground” because we meet in the library’s basement. But also because we want to offer a mysterious hint at a world to come, which we hope to help build, now, underground, while moving ever nearer to the […]

Convert Your Car

By AREA Staff — Introduction This year at University of Illinois Laboratory High School in Champaign- Urbana, about twenty students in the Social Advocacy II class focused on vegetable oil as alternative fuel for the semester project. There were five basic components to this project: converting a car to run on Straight Vegetable Oil (svo), researching and producing biodiesel, […]

Fire on the Prairie

By Daniel Tucker — Interview with Emily Udell and Aaron Sarver AREA: Give us a little background about Fire on the Prairie. How long has it been running? Can you explain your affiliation with In These Times magazine? Emily: Fire on the Prairie began broadcasting in October of 2003, and it started airing initially on WLUW, a community radio […]

Carlos Koyokuikatl Cortez

By Jesus Macarena-Avila — Carlos A. Cortez, who helped bring attention to Mexican and other native peoples through his labor-oriented art and writings, died of heart failure in his sleep on January 18. He was 81.At a ceremony at Casa Aztlan in the late 1970s, Cortez was given the name Koyokuikatl by Aztec elders. His friend, Carlos Cumpian, said […]

Beatz and Rhymez: The Mighty Roar of Kuumba Lynx

By Bonnie Fortune — “If we the people protest for the people, the reflex will be lethal! We can make a change!” says sixteen-year-old fm Supreme, as she hops off the Summer Fest Hip-Hop Arena stage in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. Using her mc-ing name, fm Supreme tells me that participation in one of Kuumba Lynx ‘s After School Matters […]