If you live in Chicago you will know that there is a concert going on every night, regardless of the weather. The city’s large array of concert venues brings in talents from all over the world across every single genre.
But what about the lesser-known, DIY spaces? This type of venue that always appears to be on its way out seems to creep its way into every city and town. Creators that want to create. Makers that want to (wait for it…) make. DIY spaces often cultivate an environment that is inclusive and that is a huge benefit to people that want to be involved in a particular scene.
Most DIY spaces will all do one thing: get you involved. If you show up to a concert, there is a chance you will be asked to watch the door, pass out wristbands, or move some lights. It is a community where if you give a little to it, it will give some back.
Chicago is no stranger to DIY spaces. In fact, here are some of our favorites.
1. Elastic Arts
Elastic Arts is a “non-profit organization fostering artistic exploration from a versatile Chicago venue by programming and presenting multifaceted performance and exhibition.” They boast a wide range of talent they bring in as well as what they can provide for the artists at their events. Elastic Arts has been around since 1998 with no signs of stopping as the community they help create grows and grows.
2. Heaven Gallery
Heaven Gallery is believed to be the oldest DIY space in Chicago still operating. It is a non-profit gallery that creates an educational environment for artists, musicians, filmmakers, and photographers to learn from one another. They showcase a wide variety of talent and do not charge an exhibition fee in order to make their artists more accessible to the public. Heaven Gallery‘s shows are also on a pay-what-you can basis.
3. The Dojo
If you are looking for a DIY space that is about social change, The Dojo is it. They aim to put on events that connect the local community with artists from all around the world. They are big on collaboration and self-expression, two perfect things to value when in the arts. The Dojo’s strong focus on communal empathy has made their space inclusive and welcoming to all guests.
4. Fat City
Fat City is all about no bias toward creative endeavors. This Pilsen DIY space turned an old store into an impactful arts and event space. They are incredibly flexible in not only the type of projects they work with, but also the length of time a creator’s work will be displayed. Fat City is yet another example of a community of creators working to bring other people in on the action.
5. Archer Beach Haus
The Archer Beach Haus calls itself a “dream incubator”. This includes things like an art gallery, movie theater, dance hall, and really whatever you want to make of it. The curators and hosts who put on the events live in the building so you really get a sense of community.
There are countless DIY spaces not only in Chicago, but around the world. They are often spaces that boast a friendly, supportive environment with plenty of creative juices flowing. If you are looking for a place to network and get more involved in a particular scene, these spaces are a great place to start. Even if you want to do something different on a night out, DIY spaces consistently offer a variety of projects that are sure to grab your attention.
Got a great DIY space near you? Let us know about it in the comments below.
Image: Archer Beach Haus