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The Chalet

Phase 1 of a project to transform the Washington Park Chalet into a community art space.

This project is an ambitious follow-up to a program piloted by the Smart Museum and the Chicago Housing Authority in 2017 (taught by Luis Sahagun). Structured as an intensive, paid summer internship, the program cultivates leadership skills while encouraging teen participants to think critically about social and political issues through the lens of artistic practice and from the perspective of their own lived experiences.

The Chalet, a small boarded-up building in Washington Park (Chicago, IL) that once served as storage space for a lawn bowling league is marked for creative renovation which began in the summer of 2018. Participants in the Smart Museum’s Summer Teen Program, led by artist Luis Sahagun and Jordan Campbell worked with architects, arts professionals, and community members on Phase 1 of a project to transform the Washington Park Chalet into a community art space. When the rehab is complete, it will provide space for teen-led cultural programming on Chicago’s South Side and will be capable of hosting a variety of events, including poetry readings, film screenings, theatrical performances, and visual art displays.

During the summer of 2018, a group of 18 teens joined with peer mentors to begin planning and start the multi-year renovation work. Over six weeks, they worked with professional partners to organize community meetings, host design charrettes, and do mock build-outs. At the end of the summer, they hosted a celebratory event during the Bud Billiken Parade that showcased their work and vision for the Chalet.

Some of the workshops created during the summer were leadership training, woodworking (power tools, hand tools), Linoleum cutting and printing (ink application, tools), Poetry development, Photoshop basics (digital tools, and basics), and graphic design process (architectural collage, brainstorming,logo).