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:
- A Pitch In For the Parks cleanup 10 a.m.–noon.
- An Art In the Park community art project 11 a.m.–3 p.m., organized by the Neighborhood Network Alliance.
- An art fair for children 1–3 p.m., offering workshops led by local crafters.
- A discussion on parenting 2:30–3 p.m., organized by The NYA Cafe.
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.
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.”
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