Boldly articulated in crimson, indigo, and saffron paint, these words float amidst depictions of rainbows, shooting stars, hearts, and Dr. Martin Luther King, all smiling back at us. Yet the messages are emblazoned across panels that are in limbo, as they are waiting to take root and speak out. For this is a collection of new block club signs, each destined to become a local landmark that greets residents and visitors alike to the streets called home by neighboring Chicagoans. These bright and shiny placards came to be after community organizer, Jahmal Cole, took notice of the signs installed by various hyperlocal organizations known as block clubs in his Chatham neighborhood on the city’s South Side.
— Kasia Houlihan
Oct 12, 2018, 5–8PM
Oct 20, 2018, 1–4PM
Community members of all ages are invited to participate in an interactive gift-making workshop. Make gifts or letters for your neighbors, inspired by the welcoming, newly-redesigned block club signs on view.
Oct 27, 2018, 7:30–8:30PM
Signs for Community. Jahmal Cole, founder of My Block, My Hood, My City, and Amanda Seligman, author of Chicago's Block Clubs: How Neighbors Shape the City, talk about the history and function of Chicago's neighborhood block clubs, and the power of block club signs as visual signifiers. A rich media presentation of those signs, along with their predecessors, will complement their conversation, moderated by Jen Sabella, co-founder of hyperlocal news outlet Block Club Chicago.
This offsite program is located at Paul Robeson Theatre, South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S South Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60649 as part of the 2018 Chicago Humanities Festival.
Screening: The Area
Dec 6, 2018, 6–8PM
The Area is a feature-length, locally-produced documentary from Scrappers Film Group about the resilience of Englewood residents when a railroad company seeks to expand through their neighborhood, demolishing homes and displacing longtime community members. The screening will be followed by a discussion with filmmakers Brian Ashby and Deborah Payne in conversation with Jahmal Cole, founder of My Block, My Hood, My City.
My Block, My Hood, My City provides youth with an awareness of the world and opportunities beyond their neighborhood. They work to help teenagers overcome poverty and isolation by supporting educational attainment. Reflecting core values of interconnectivity, empathy, hope, and civic responsibility, My Block, My Hood, My City offers hands-on experiences in the contexts of the arts, STEM, citizenry and volunteerism, health, community development, culinary arts, and entrepreneurism.
Block Building, installation views at Weinberg/Newton Gallery, 2018