Performing Our Future by Appalshop
Saturday, April 14
10:30am – 2:00pm
Comfort Station, 2579 N. Milwaukee Avenue
Free and open to the public. Donations gratefully accepted.
Comfort Station is hosting a presentation and workshop with the Kentucky-based grassroots media organization Appalshop, focusing on their “Performing Our Future” initiative that shares ways that arts and culture can catalyze equitable development in communities with histories of economic exploitation or disinvestment. This program will be led by Ben Fink, lead organizer of “Performing Our Future” and co-leader of the Letcher County Culture Hub cooperative network. For nearly 50 years Appalshop has led and amplified grassroots efforts that challenge stereotypes, work towards achieving justice and equity, and celebrate cultural diversity. Informed by national research partnerships, including with Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life, Appalshop is exploring how “Performing Our Future” can be a model of successful cultural and economic development in rural and urban communities across the country. This program is open to everyone, but particularly geared toward artists and cultural workers whose practices have traditionally been motivated by or focused on community-building efforts, social justice issues, or group empowerment efforts. Likewise, it welcomes community organizers/activists who have traditionally involved arts and culture in their work or have a strong motivation to learn ways to do so.
10:30am – 12:00pm
• Brief history of Appalshop’s origins and work in Letcher County, Kentucky
• Presentation on “Performing Our Future” and its guiding principles:
--Importance of artists learning and using community-organizing skills
--Creating and strengthening “community centers of power” (public, inclusive, and free spaces where people can collectively imagine and create the future)
--Moving culture from the margins to the center of community and economic development
•How/why the model may be useful and effective in other communities
12:00pm Lunch (provided)
12:45 – 2:00pm
“Deeper dive” workshop with participants interested in ways to directly apply or adapt the “Performing Our Future” model on their work in Chicago neighborhoods.
This program is made possible in part by a grant from Illinois Humanities, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Illinois General Assembly.