How important is it for an artist to engage a neighborhood? VERY important it seems. Art has no true spirit if its aim is to stay indoors and affect only a specific audience. Even the poor and struggling need to feel a sense of hope and know that people are out there who care to say a positive statement.
Aronson Furniture store had been a center for active business many years ago, however as time went on, the store fell into bankruptcy and closed. This shell of an institution stood for more than 10 years in the face of Ashland Ave. traffic, day in and day out, vacant and lifeless. It’s presence was a reminder of the struggle that plagued the Back of the Yards community for some time. At this point, we discussed this issue with the Neighborhood Council, who then made reference to the owner of organization that held rights to the property.
Enter T.R.P., The Resurrection Project, a non for profit organzation that is buying and re-envisioning properties and buildings in the area. We contacted the liaison representative, Oscar Hernandez, of our intentions. He was interested in the concept of doing an art gallery display on the front of the property. A few weeks passed, and in April the budget was approved, and the project was underway.
Luz Castillo, co-lead at Cocomocha studio, largely responsible for the design, stated: “This is a good thing for my community; a way to revitalize a neighborhood that really needed a change visually. I felt good to be able to do this."
The installation is available to see for the summer of 2016, after which it is proposed, the building will be dismantled for a new center in the works. Response from the community and even businesses in the area were quite welcoming.