The Chicago Perch was described as a creative platform for social exchange through the publishing of books, hosting of symposium dinners and cost-free learning opportunities. I started this project by turning my apartment into a space designed for collaborative projects and book-making.
Myself and a team of volunteers used this space to foster a number of projects with Chicago-based creative people. Over the course of 4 years, we generated $47,000 in granted funds to artists, who incurred no debt to create their projects.
The Chicago Perch worked in the following ways:
Publishing through The Chicago Perch worked like a completion-dependent scholarship for each selected artist. We raised the money for the production of the book, designed and created it together, and all profits were given to the artist when the book was released.
Each dinner consisted of about ten guests that were chosen based on their contributions to a community, project, effort, etc. The guests were provided with wine, food, and company in exchange for a prepared presentation responding to a prompt that I sent with their invitations. Their RSVP acted as their assuming of this responsibility. After we ate, each guest shared their responses with the group.
We often collaborated with other institutions and groups to be able to extend our reach, connecting other people to one another. We did events with the Smart Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, ACRE Residency, Spudnik Press and others to extend our reach of being able to connect people with a creative and conversational dynamic.
This project was partially supported by an Individual Artists Program Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events and Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.