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Hyde Park, Woodlawn, South Shore

South Shore Residents Will ‘Activate The South Coast’ With Art Fair, Park Cleanup And More Saturday

A day of art and community in Hasan Park is the first event in a community project to give "a new energy" to Southeast Side public spaces.

A view of the walkways and a "Please Keep This Area Clean" sign at the northeast portion of Hasan Park. Aside from the playlot to the southwest, the space is underutilized, Activate South Coast co-founder Krystal Amevor said.
Maxwell Evans/Block Club Chicago
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SOUTH SHORE — Southeast Siders will host a day of art and service this weekend at Hasan Park, kicking off an effort to preserve the creative culture of Chicago’s south lakefront neighborhoods.

A day of kid-friendly, community-focused activities will be held 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Saturday at Hasan Park, 6855 S. Oglesby Ave. The event includes:

The event is the first organized by the Activate South Coast program, which aims to give “a new energy” to public spaces from South Shore to Hegewisch and beyond.

Lakefront communities on the South Side have rich creative cultures, said Krystal Amevor, a South Shore resident and educator who co-founded the program with community organizer Linda Young.

From visual artists like Dorian Sylvain and Roman Villarreal, to musicians like Ausar and Grupo Cizma, countless creatives call the Southeast Side home and represent their communities in their work.

But after years of economic neglect, “we are in the balance of being gentrified” and at risk of losing that creative capital, Amevor said. It’s a story that’s played out repeatedly in Chicago’s hubs of art and culture, such as Wicker Park and Pilsen.

The Activate South Coast program is intended “to make sure that all of our creative identities and creative pursuits can be maintained for us, by us and with us,” Amevor said.

“People are realizing the proximity to the lake is making this prime real estate,” she said. “If we don’t start being the vanguard of our community identities … we are going to be pushed out.”

The event also will encourage residents to take ownership and pride in Hasan Park, which doesn’t have an active park advisory council, Amevor said. She’s serving as interim president as she builds support for reestablishing the defunct council.

“This weekend is about getting more exposure to things we can do in this park and opening it up to people in the neighborhood,” Amevor said.

Following Saturday’s event, organizers are tentatively planning activity days in Steelworkers Park, Big Marsh Park and other parks around the Southeast Side, as well as another arts and crafts event at a market in West Pullman.

“We’ve got to be able to utilize our spaces and be free to exercise our community identity,” Amevor said. “We also have to do it in a sense that builds our community and takes us from a ‘hood to a neighborhood again.”

To get involved with the day of activities at Hasan Park, email Amevor at suiteblaqstar@gmail.com. For more information on Activate South Coast, email centralsouthshore@thenna.org.

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