Posts Tagged ‘#community’

Nov 02

Notes Based on a Story Corps Interview

By Lisa Angonese — After participating in a Story Corps interview, Lisa Angonese recounted from memory some of the questions and answers. Q: Describe your neighborhood and community. A: We live in a low-income neighborhood that is quickly being gentrified, with condos and family-owned business closing in. We feel ousted out of our own homes. The rents in Pilsen […]

Recess Postcard
Oct 15

A Conversation About Recess at the South Side Community Arts Center

By Tempestt Hazel — The exhibit Recess, curated by Tempestt Hazel, was at the South Side Community Art Center (SSCAC) at 3831 S. Michigan Ave., from October 11 through November 9, 2013.  It included the work of contemporary artists as well as artists from the permanent collection of the SSCAC. AREA Chicago had an extended email discussion with Tempestt […]

Oct 14


By The Chicago Childcare Collective — Our Story Roots The Chicago Childcare Collective, or ChiChiCo for short (pronounced CheeCheeCoe), was formed in 2007 by a group of radical activists and friends, including Lewis Wallace, Amita Lonial, Simon Strikeback, B Loewe, ChaNell Marshall, and Sam Worley. These organizers became aware of a need of many racial and economic justice–focused organizations in Chicago: […]

Children as Part of Our Social Movements

By Nancy Anderson — I approach this article as a parent, comparing the drastic differences among organizing spaces and their reaction to my child’s presence, ranging from disapproval to tolerance to welcoming. Participation that once was accessible to me suddenly became elusive once my daughter was born. Parents, grandparents and caregivers may find themselves in a similar situation with […]

Notes from a Conversation: Inheriting the Grid #14

By AREA Editors — In the language of aspiring adults, “child” can be a dis or a prop. When you are childish you are petty and irrational. When you are childlike, you are innocent and fresh. To be grown is to see the child as the other, as what you no longer are: your lost inner child, or weakness […]

Jul 23

Creative Resistance: Art as Activism

By Neighborhood Writing Alliance — The Neighborhood Writing Alliance (NWA) provokes dialogue, builds community, and promotes change by creating opportunities for adults in Chicago’s underserved neighborhoods to write, publish, and perform works about their lives. Neighborhood adults come together each week in our free, ongoing workshops to dialogue and write about their personal histories, everyday experiences, and reflections on their […]


A dialogue with Calles y Sueños’ artistic director: Christina Obregón

By Claudia García-Rojas — From  Pilsen, Chicago to Juchitán, Mexico,  we talk about how  Calles y Sueños (CYS) serves as a crossroads for cultural hopscotch, but also as an intersection for geography, language, art, space and economics.

Notes from a Conversation: Migrant Paths of Latin Guitar

By Iván Resendiz with Mónica Díaz Terrazas — The 1st Latin American Guitar Festival Chicago took place in December 2011 in Pilsen. It offered recitals, lectures, master classes and workshops for people interested in Latin American music. The idea to create a Latin American guitar festival is born out of the commitment to inspire art and culture in the Latino immigrant community and […]


Inhabiting and Learning Together: Tracing the first five years of AREA Chicago

By Daniel Tucker — An earlier version of this essay was written in May 2011 for a “Pedagogic Notebook” edited by Sitesize (Spain), but was revised in March 2012 for publication in “Healthy social movements need spaces for learning and experimentation, healthy democracies need wise citizens to make wise decisions about resources and politics, and healthy people need […]


PROXIMAL DISTANCE: reflections on process and proximity

By Caitlin Gianniny and Cathy Alva Mooses — Proximal of the body or the point of attachment. from the Latin proximus – ‘nearest’ + al. 2. v. (trans.) to make someone or something remote or far off in position or nature, to distance one self. from the Latin distare – dis- ‘apart’ + stare ‘stand.’ Distance adj. situated nearer to the center of […]

Jan 08

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

Heat 05

By Nicole Garneau — HEAT 05 Project Log I have lived in Rogers Park for over 10 years. I was attracted to Pratt Beach as a site for artmaking for a number of reasons. First, it is a beautiful place that is within walking distance of my house. Second, beaches are places where city residents can cool off during […]

The Conquest of Thalia

By AREA Staff — “Built as a hall for meetings and for musical and theatrical productions, this building was named for Thalia, the Greek muse of comedy and pastoral poetry. Typical of such halls, this design incorporated retail and residential facilities, which helped to support the theater financially. Unique among buildings of this type is its interior theater, which […]

Coercive Consumption

By Claire Pentecost — In October 2005, the Metro Chicago Information Center (MCIC)* published a study mapping the distribution of major player supermarkets in Chicago, against the racial and economic patterns of the city neighborhoods. Not surprisingly, the neighborhoods with a majority of black and poor residents had few if any major player grocery stores. On the other hand, […]

Boleria Hernandez

By Nance Klehm — NanceWhat I’ve noticed in your shoe store here is that you have, you cook here, I mean right behind you have tons of spices. You have onions, limes, chilies, salt and everything. Can you tell me a little about why you like to cook and what you cook here?, , Juan Well I cook first […]

Nueva Vida ABC

By Nance Klehm — Interview with Carina at ‘ABC NUEVA VIDA’ on 25th and Albany in La Villita. I had just picked up a tamale from the tam-alero and decided to meander a bit to take in the mild winter weather. When crossing Albany Street, I came across a sandwich board that read: “un galon de leche de soya […]

The Institute for Community Resource Development

By Micah Maidenberg — The Institute for Community Resource Development and its head Ladonna Redmond are making practical maneuvers to secure food resources on the West Side of Chicago. An Austin-based organization, ICRD is currently placing the final edits on a business plan for a community-owned grocery store that seeks to make sustainable food something it rarely is: affordable. […]

God’s Gang

By Micah Maidenberg — Food is at the center of God’s Gang. A South Side group with a holistic perspective on community transformation founded in 1980, God’s Gang is a volunteer-run organization that tutors neighborhood kids, curates exhibitions on Black history and teaches about agriculture and food through farming, animal husbandry and urban gardening. God’s Gang’s flexible organizational structure […]

Introducing: Student Tenant Organizing Project

By Matt Ginsberg-Jaeckle — “Let us in to see the plans they’re rolling out for our community!” says Marie Goodwin, an elderly poet and Woodlawn tenant, standing at the entrance to the Hilton Hotel downtown on a hot July day. “U of C is Exclusionary” reads a sign held by a University of Chicago student next to her in […]

Contested Space

By Joanie Friedman — This essay was originally published in the summer 2007 issue of Critical Planning, the UCLA Journal of Urban Planning. (Vol. 14: Spatial Justice) Introduction Education theorists such as Michael Apple and Henry Giroux analyze education’s role in the perpetuation of the economic status quo in urban America (Giroux 1988; Apple 1991; 2001). Often called “reproduction […]

How We Learn: Building an Educated City

By Members of Area, Mess Hall, Platypus, Free greek, Chicagoland/Calumet Underground Railroad Efforts, Bronzeville Historical Society, Chicago Women's Health Center, The Odyssey Project, Neighborhood Writing Alliance — Daniel Tucker, AREA Chicago: This exhibition, just to give you a little context, is called The Pedagogical Factory: Exploring Strategies for an Educated City. It was organized by the Stockyard Institute. Area decided to initiate a series of programs entitled How We Learn that would go along with the exhibitions. The way this particular forum […]

Love Over Fear: A Lesson in Community

By Irina Zadov — Upon my arrival to Chicago, a friend drove me through Cabrini Green. He explained its infamy, as well the city’s plan to demolish the decrepit public housing and turn the area into a mixed income community. A year later, I would set foot into this neighborhood for the first time, as I embarked on my […]

Learning to Ride a Bike: Mechanic Skillshares

By Beth Gutelius & Sarah Miller — It’s difficult to know whether or not the number of people riding bikes in Chicago is growing, since no one counts or keeps track. Anecdotally, cyclists—including those writing this article—will tell you they see more and more folks, especially in the spring. Also growing rapidly are the number of places in Chicago where cyclists can […]

Introducing: Green Lantern Gallery and Press

By Caroline Picard — I began The Green Lantern Gallery and Press in 2005. I host monthly exhibitions, publish limited edition original fiction and incorporate other performance events. Through these varied modes of communication, I hope to engage a wider audience than is possible with just one medium. Though I’ve embraced the white-cube gallery model to an extent, the […]

Can Experimental Cultural Centers Replace MFA Programs?

By Mike Wolf — While it starts in a place relatively remote from Chicago, this text focuses on Mess Hall, an experimental cultural center in the city’s Rogers Park neighborhood.    In June 2006, I was on a long walk in southern Minnesota. While spending a luxurious night at a Best Western in Cannon Falls, I caught a brief report […]