A variety of new efforts at reconceptualizing the built environment are emerging as communities grapple with vacancies caused by the economic downturn. I’ve recently become involved with one of the many new initiatives on the South Side of Chicago: The Op Shop.
As described by its founders, who run Home Gallery:
The Opportunity Shop is a transitory, experimental space for new art in Hyde Park.
The Op Shop is dedicated to creating alternative sites of exchange around art in vacant urban spaces. Come be a part of its first incarnation on East 55th Street, where local artists have produced an evolving, total installation of video, photography, drawing, and sculpture.
This large storefront, made available by Mac Properties for a token fee, offers a chance to create innovative encounters between artists and audiences, and new ways of connecting art to urban change.
Several dozen artists (including myself) have signed on to participate in this first attempt.
Here are a handful of images of the space:
The façade, including “Flood Drawing” by Anders Nilsen:
November 21, 2009:
November 29, 2009:
One of my installations:
Chicago’s Fast Track Abatement Program is a final step for buildings deemed by the city to be “vacant” and “open” and “constitute a hazard to the community.” Owners of buildings on the list must take corrective action upon receiving notice of the condition of the building. If they do not, the city reserves the ability to take the action for them, including demolishing the building and charging the owner for the demolition.
This is the Fast Track Abatement Program legal notice list that was published in the Chicago Sun Times on October 10, 2009.
View October Fast Track List in a larger map
I will be showing a five photograph piece in The Trunk Show.
Here is the announcement:
The opening reception for the TRUNK SHOW will be on Saturday, October 24th, from 7-10pm. Barbara & Barbara Gallery is located at 1021 North Western Avenue (3 blocks south of Division), near the Empty Bottle.
The show will run from October 23rd – November 17th, 2009.
Participating Artists: Sierra Berquist, Ben Bontempo, Peter McLean-Browne, Evan Burrows, Pete Cuba, Fred Frederick, Julia V. Hendrickson, Landon Manucci, Colin Nusbaum, Emma Powell, Scott Reinhard, David Schalliol, Elizabeth Stoutamire, Christopher Sykora, Sean Sykora, Jessie Vogel, Kelly Wallis, Rustél Weiss, Hannah Zurko
Opening Night Musical Performances By: Anna Vogelzang, Vintage Gramma, Julia V. Hendrickson & Marie Barker (accompanied by Chris Gingrich)
With the Chicago Housing Authority‘s Plan for Transformation in full swing, it’s hard to keep track of the location of new mixed income developments — not to mention which of the old family developments haven’t been demolished. Because the CHA website doesn’t have the entire listings, I submitted a request for the full data and mapped it.
The family developments are indicated by blue markers, while the mixed income developments are indicated by targets. Additional information listed on the mixed income development tabs state which public housing project was the original development. Approximate addresses have been substituted where the exact addresses of developments were not listed by the CHA.
I originally posted this piece on Gapers Block.
A recent excursion to photograph street corners on the South Side prompted me to put pull out a few other favorite corner shots. Whether the buildings that occupy these sites anchor commercial districts or serve as outposts in residential neighborhoods, they play key roles in communities.