Expo Chicago at Dorchester

On Sunday, September 23, we welcomed visitors from Expo Chicago to work with us and some of our neighbors on a handful of projects at our spaces on Dorchester Avenue.
The day started out with a brief film program in 6901 Dorchester put together by Black Cinema House operators Michael Philips and Amir George.

inaugural screening
inaugural screening

As it was a Sunday, we started out with a short documentary called “Crowns” about the tradition of African American women who create and wear beautiful, elaborate hats to church on Sundays.

sunday crowns
sunday crowns

After the screening, guests and volunteers went to different stations on the block to work on a variety of tasks. One station was in the future site of the Reading Room, where there was a lot of salvaged lumber that needed to be cleaned and de-nailed for future use.

Mejay, Eboni, and others get to work on pesky nails
Mejay, Eboni, and others get to work on pesky nails
de-nailing stations
de-nailing stations

Other people got to work hauling, cleaning, and organizing salvaged bricks.

Paul and Bill in the back, moving debris out of the way
Paul and Bill in the back, moving debris out of the way
Nathaniel, removing an obsolete brick structure
Nathaniel, removing an obsolete brick structure
a guest cleans bricks in preparation for re-use.
a guest cleans bricks in preparation for re-use.

And one of the biggest impacts was made on the back yard itself, with helpers preparing the beautiful garden for winter, and moving materials out of the way for the various staging that will be happening on site in the coming months.

clearing out the garden
clearing out the garden

We also had an inaugural fire in our newly created fire pit, burning the unusable scrap lumber and creating a space for helpers to warm-up on a day that had a slight autumn chill in the air.

Bill builds a fire
Bill builds a fire

The day ended with a walk through the neighborhood and a brief visit to the Stony Island Bank, a building that we are in the process of rescuing for reuse as a neighborhood cultural hub.

ending at the bank
ending at the bank

Thanks to all the volunteers, neighbors, and organizers for a wonderful day of work and learning. We look forward to more of these in the future!

For more images from the day, check out the set on our flickr site here.

 

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