Larrabee Street Art Gallery: Uniting Stories of the Community

2014-08-16 05.01.52

Viewing Picnic for Larrabee Street Art Gallery on Larrabee & Crosby Tuesday 9/2, from 12-1:30pm. Free lemonade will be provided!

Over the past few years, the Near North Community has been a transforming community which houses a vast array of new and old residents, businesses and companies that walk the same paths everyday. This was an area that was once known as the Cabrini Green Projects which also housed family, friends and familiar faces daily. Over the past few years, the identity of the area has changed but we continue to be a community.

This photo installation was part of a Placemaking Project which brought local residents, organizations, local business and companies to clean up this abandoned lot in order to transform it into a functional community space. We decided to create a beautiful photo installation and depict goofy/funny faces of community members of this area which in turn transforms messages of personal identity into works of art.

We asked community members across all backgrounds – new & old residents, local pastors, children, business employees, a politician, artists – to allow us to take their portrait while making a face that would make someone smile. Each individual we asked to participate held their own story and perspective of the community. This collection of portraits resulted not only in a street art gallery of 24 awesome portraits of the amazing diversity of this area, but this also created a showcase that provides a reminder of how a little humor and a smile can unite a community.

Through art, we are able to transcend a message across different faiths, backgrounds and languages a universal truth which evokes happiness and unity. As you look at this installation, think about what community means to you?

The installation was organized by The Simple Good and Groupon and the following organizations were involved with helping install the exhibit:

Near North Unity Program – NNUP
The Simple Good
Metropolitan Planning Council
Friends of the Park
Chicago Ideas Week
Lefkofsky Foundation
Cabrini Green Legal Aid
Chicago Lights
Local Near North Community residents

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