Potluck: Chicago, a community building project, pairs with neighborhood organizations to increase local connectivity, using food sharing and community art-making to spark new conversations and open avenues to social change. Potluck: Chicago was launched in Fall 2011 through a series of shared meals, skill workshops, and discussions about strategies for re-imagining the social life of a city. Participants in Potluck engage in the initial stages of creative placemaking: imagining, evaluating, and becoming increasingly aware of the power of dynamic sociability. Potluck is specifically interested in the importance of comfort foods and their ability to create comfortable spaces and conversations among strangers. Potluck: Chicago looks to the social inequities that mark our neighborhoods and relationships with one another in order to spark actions on how we might harness the full potential of our city’s good.
The Chicago Recipe Box Project archives Potluck: Chicago’s process and promotes further city-wide community binding. The Chicago Recipe Box is a form of discussion, connection, documentation, record, collaboration and storytelling.
Each neighborhood organization that hosts a potluck and produces a new deck of recipes receives a box. As potlucks continue all over the city, the recipe collection grows.
On the Lower West Side of Chicago artists, activists and educators contribute to the empowerment and visibility of working class and immigrant people in Pilsen, making it a center of culture and pride. Here, the community arts movement has engaged local youth, included non-experts and supported the creative development of local cultural workers in the community for nearly 50 years, but places for this kind of holistic culture and community organizing are disappearing and though cultural organizations are moving into Pilsen, there has been little evidence of outreach, employment of local artists or youth, or support of existing Mexican/Mexican-American/Chicano/Latino culture. Multiuso will use art and non-art, experts and non-experts, and mash-ups between generations and modes of production. People will be invited to propose short-term projects and experiments in the space in exchange for community workshops and presentations, including panels, talks, youth participation, exhibitions and class visits, intergenerational teach-ins and events focused on local history. The project supports youth as public intellectuals, and to bring cultural workers together in alliance and in support of participatory culture. Lead organizers include Maria Gaspar, Nicole Marroquin, Amanda Cortes, Elvia Rodriguez, Vanessa Sanchez, and Paulina Camacho. Mulitiuso is currently in residence at the Propeller Fund studio residency and exhibition space located in Mana Contemporary.