HUMBOLDT PARK — The founders of Humboldt Park brewery Ørkenoy are throwing a summer party at the Kimball Arts Center to reintroduce the neighborhood to the building they call home, which has gained new artist tenants in recent months as part of a major renovation project.
Ørkenoy’s inaugural Midsummer Block Party is set for 11 a.m.-8 p.m. June 26 at the Kimball Arts Center, 1757 N. Kimball Ave.
As part of the event, which will be held inside and outside, Kimball Arts Center tenants will open their doors to neighbors for family-friendly activities. Chicago Mobile Makers, Em+Me Studio, Crop To Cup and 1 Up Food Arcade have all moved into the building in recent months and are slated to participate.
“With construction finally wrapping up, and all of these really cool artists and small businesses coming in, we thought it’d be a good time to get the word out,” Ørkenoy co-owner Jonny Ifergan said.
The party also will feature about 20 local makers and small businesses from outside the building, as well as local artists Claire Ashley, who makes art installations using inflatables, and Emmy Star Brown, who will paint a large mural on the building during the event.
Ørkenoy, Cruz Blanca Brewery, Nanette’s Ice Cream and Dayglow, the brewery’s adjoining coffee shop, are teaming up on food and drinks for the day. DJ duo Wild Prairie will be spinning the tunes.
Ifergan said they hope the event becomes annual and welcomes everyone in the neighborhood and beyond.
“Every brewery has their own fun festival they do. Revolution has Oktoberfest, Lagunitas has [Beer] Circus. This is very in line with our ethos of celebrating and supporting artists,” he said.
The Kimball Arts Center has transformed over the past few years.
In a move cheered by some and denounced by others, a pair of developers bought the arts warehouse in 2019 with the goal of updating the deteriorating building and bringing in new tenants.
The renovation ended up pushing out several longtime artist tenants, whose spaces were overhauled during construction. Meanwhile, other tenants moved in, changing the makeup of the building. Ørkenoy opened inside the center in September, but it had planned to move in since before the developers bought the property.
To Ifergan and the brewery’s other co-owners, the renovation has injected life into a building that was long overdue for maintenance. The block party is a celebration of the artist community that continues to grow inside and outside of its walls, Ifergan said.
“I’m really happy [the Kimball Arts Center] is blossoming into what I’ve always hoped it would become as an arts building,” he said.
The event is free, but organizers ask attendees to reserve a time slot through Eventbrite. Reserved tickets are currently sold out, but Ørkenoy’s owners plan to release more soon. The event will also be open to walk-ins throughout the day as capacity allows.
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