Local innovations featured during Chicago Ideas Week

Innovative structures in Hyde Park and nearby South Side neighborhoods were featured during the 5th Annual Chicago Ideas Week.

Chicago Ideas Week (CIW) partners with innovative businesses and venues to get ideas rolling across the city. Each year 156 events are scheduled across the city including workshops, discussions, parties and hands-on labs.

The South Side was represented at the Chicago Innovative Exchange (CIE), 1452 E. 53rd St., on Tuesday to introduce attendees to the newly opened Fab Lab. The Stony Island Arts Bank, 6760 S. Stony Island Ave., was also a part of CIW showcase. The Rebuild Foundation, lead by University of Chicago Arts Professor Theaster Gates, renovated the arts bank. A tour of the space was given early Tuesday.

“Chicago Ideas Week reached out to us to collaborate with them,” said Kate Toftness, the Archival Collections and Public Engagement Manager of Rebuild Foundation. “We are brand new, and this is a good chance to introduce a broader Chicago public to our space.”

The Stony Island Arts Bank opened only two weeks ago but has already accumulated over 2,000 visitors to the newly renovated space. Attendees at Tuesday’s event were able to see the vast collections the building houses, as well as getting the chance to actually work on some of the collectible archives.

The Arts Bank is home to the Johnson Publishing Library, a Chicago-based African American publishing company that is best known for publications like Ebony and Jet magazines. The two-story library holds floor to ceiling books of everything from Afro-American histories, archives of the magazines from 1940 to present day and the company’s entire editorial library.

Rebuild Foundation also inherited the personal vinyl record collection of famed Chicago house DJ, Frankie Knuckles. Toftness said that they plan on digitalizing the collection to make copies for public use within the next year.

After a quick tour, attendees were able to get their hands on another archival collection to learn how to preserve and catalog the important pieces. Participants helped sort and organize the 35mm slide collection, acquired by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, while discussing the importance and need for archival preservation.

Toftness said the Arts Bank holds weekly classes like this one every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Visitors are welcome to roam around the historic landmark Tuesdays through Saturdays between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.


[Via: Hyde Park Herald]

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