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Residents Brainstorm New Arts Center in Old Town Storefronts

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Old Town residents gathered Saturday to share their design ideas for a proposed arts center in vacant storefront space in Sedgwick Avenue's Marshall Field Garden Apartments. The event, put on by the Near North Unity Program and Architecture for Humanity Chicago, sparked input from participants of all ages regarding the center's programming, mission, space planning, and aesthetics, among other topics, according Architecture for Humanity Chicago's Board of Directors' Co-Chair Tom Veed. Participant contributions included surveys, plan diagrams, preference mapping and multimedia collage.

"The center would provide art classes for children and adults, taught by local artists and professionals, with the intent of increasing community cohesion in the area and providing after school enrichment opportunities for all children. Project visionary, Charlie Branda, imagines a center for community dialogue and creative education as well as an anchor for the Sedgwick corridor between Division and North Ave.," Veed said in an email.

From here, Architecture for Humanity will consolidate participant responses into a design document to be delivered to potential donors and eventually an "architect of record," Veed said.

We'll keep an eye out for any updates on the project that, if done well, has the potential to inject some life into an area that could use it.