On Saturday, we SHoP

On Saturday, we
BY Melissa Conway, Hyde Park Hype · Wednesday, September 28, 2011 11:59 p.m.

SHoP Open House: It Is What It Is

Sat., Oct. 1  4pm – ?
SHoP (Southside Hub of Production)
5638 S. Woodlawn Ave
Chicago, IL

Some people create art, others appreciate art that others have created, and a few generous souls are patient enough to try to teach their art to others.  But very rarely do all three of these groups get to converge under one roof at the same time.

Until now.

On Saturday, a new artists’ community/utopia is opening up in Hyde Park. It’s called SHoP (a catchy acronym for Southside Hub of Production,) a take on the Op Shop, which took vacant storefronts and turned them into temporary art galleries.

Fenn House, home of SHoP (photo borrowed from UChicago Maps)

But SHoP is so much more then a temporary art gallery, it’s hard to know where to begin. It’s housed in an old Victorian mansion called Fenn House, and each room is like it’s own little diorama of artistic intrigue.

Various types of artwork are on display throughout the house. I especially liked the furniture by John Preus, who takes remnants of second-hand furniture and resdesigns them with materials like old painted baseboards, and transforms them into beautiful yet functional art pieces.

Itching to build a mid-century modern-style coffee table, but don’t have the benefit of a woodshop and tools? Problem solved. SHoP offers a woodworking shop and tools, and will teach you how to build your own simple projects. Have a little kiddo who wants to build too? There will be woodworking classes for the wee ones (age appropriate activities, of course.)

And when was the last time you built a fort? Yes, a fort. Well, SHoP offers a fort-building room, called the Soft SHoP.  Seriously, can you think of anything more therapeutic than that?

Part of Red Flags Salon and Non-Sports Pub (Art by John Preus, Photo by M. Conway for RedEye)

Speaking of therapeutic, there will be alcohol available. Inside they have the Red Flags Salon and Non-Sports Pub,  complete with a video installation that only shows footage of what happens in-between football plays. John Preus designed this space, too.

If you’re into music, there will be a recording studio downstairs, and they’ll be streaming their own radio broadcasts. Or, you can take voice or piano lessons up on the third floor. And if you’re a budding artist or writer, there are several studio spaces available for rent where you can practice your craft or teach it to others.

Did I mention there is a thrift store on the second floor?

George Kagan Radios (Photo by M. Conway for RedEye)

Another room, named the Hyde Park Kunstverein, which loosely translated means “art union,” features hand made radios by George Kagan. He takes car radios and embeds them into beautiful, hand crafted wood cabinets, giving the impression of an old style radio, but fully functioning and modern at the same time.

Have kids? They’re welcome too.  SHoP offers supervised child care, complete with play area and Lego room, and the aforementioned fort building room and woodshop classes, so the kids can be entertained while you catch a video screening or poetry reading.

And I can’t forget the Time Bank, which is basically a bartering system where you can trade your skils for those that others have to offer. So maybe you can teach me how to play guitar, and in exchange I will write your resume for you. How cool is that?

I can’t do justice to everything SHoP aspires to be, so check out this article by the Chicagoist to learn more, and visit SHoPs website.

Whatever plans you may already have for this Saturday, cancel them and go to SHoPs Open House instead. You won’t be disappointed, and will score mad bragging rights when you tell your friends you found it first. On Sunday, tell me what you thought of it in the comments below.