"CONNECT" Hyde Park Art Festival Preview - A Weekend of Art and Performance in Hyde Park

CONNECT Hyde Park Arts Festival Brings More Than Visual  Art to Chicago’s South Side.

"CONNECT", a new art festival coming to Hyde Park on November 18th, 19th, and 20th will be a three-day multi- sited extravaganza of contemporary artwork which combines visual art, live performance, designed objects, film, music, fashion and literature. The free festival will offer opportunities to engage with cutting-edge contemporary art and design by leading artists, designers, curators, gallery owners and art institutions.


Community Gallery Space

This art-driven approach will bring together local business owners, nearly 100 of the city's finest artists, and residents to influence the way neighborhoods can transform. Downtown Hyde Park and the University of Chicago Commerial Real Estate Operations Group are supporting an endeavor that absolutely captures the diverse manifestations of gentrification on Chicago’s South Side through artistic and cultural programming that showcases the unique attributes and offerings of its neighborhoods. "Based on the success of Eric Williams' Silver Room Block Party on 53rd Street this July and The Harper Court Summer Music Series the past couple years, we are excited to collaborate on this special cultural event for the community, highlighting the strength of the Hyde Park arts community as well as the vibrancy of the neighborhood", said James Hennessy, associate vice president for commercial real estate operations for the University.


Creation Gallery Space

Four exhibition sites will be constructed inside unused commercial spaces along 53rd Street and historic Harper court -- all owned by The University of Chicago. The Collaboration Gallery, 1538 E. 53rd Street,  will feature artists and South Side Institutions. The Community Gallery, 1520 S. Harper Court, will present  a show entitled "Permanent Record: Chicago HipHop Culture"The Creation Gallery, 1456 E. 53rd Street, will display designed objects from fashion to furniture. The Collective Gallery, 1504 E.53rd Street will highlight the works of local and emerging artists. 


Dozens of artists and creative entrepreneurs  including graphic designers, painters, photographers, installation artists and furniture designers will collectively display hundreds of works.

All exhibits are free and open to the public November 18th (5pm-10pm), November 19th (12pm-10pm) and November 20th (12pm-5pm).

Collaboration Gallery Space

 The Harper Theater, 5238 S. Harper Avenue,  will screen "Shake The Dust", produced by Nasir "Nas" Jones, a documentary film about the transformative power of hip hop in Colombia, Cambodia, Uganda and Yemen.
Additional exhibition venues include "Sir and Madame", 5225 S.Harper Court, "Modern Cooperative", 1500 E. 53rd Street, "A10 Hyde Park", 1462 E. 53rd Street, "Jojayden", 1457 E. 53rd Street, and "The Silver Room", 1506 E. 53rd Street.

Collective Gallery Space

These spaces will be filled with visual and sculptural art, designed objects, wearable and livable art and much much more!

"Body Language 2015", by Nnenna Okore; image courtesy of the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago


Multi-instrumentalist, jazz innovator and visionary percussionist Kahil El’Zabar along with renowned trumpet player Corey Wilkes and other musical artists to be announced will headline upstairs  at “The Promontory”, 5311 S. Lake Park beginning at 10:30 P.M. on Friday November 18, and play at intervals throughout the first night “afterparty”, which will run from 10 P.M. to 2 A.M.

Kahn El'Zabar at the Promontory; photo by Elliot Mandel

 About Downtown Hyde Park

For residents and visitors alike, Downtown Hyde Park is not simply a commercial corridor like those found in other Chicago neighborhoods. Downtown Hyde Park is its own small town embracing and supporting a rich blend of shopping, dining, cultural attractions and business services that invites those who walk its streets to experience the neighborhood's storied history of eclecticism, warmth and individuality.

For more information about local events, businesses and news, go to the Downtown Hyde Park website


Works of Art courtesy of The Creation Gallery

 About The Silver Room

Located in the heart of Hyde Park, The Silver Room is much more than a storefront. It’s a gathering place, event space artist gallery, and lifestyle boutique. From designer jewelry to one-­of­-a-­kind locally crafted pieces, graphic tees, accessories, art, vinyl records, and unique gifts , the boutique offers an eclectic mix of styles at a range of prices. The Silver Room has been bringing people people together through art, community, and culture since 1997.

For more information, go to the Siver Room website


A display at The Silver Room

In The Words of  Eric Williams

Williams, 46, entrepreneur, community organizer,  and owner  of The Silver Room, was the brains behind the Silver Room Block Party last July, which attracted 16,000 people to the area for a wildly succesful neighborhood+++ event. He brings his considerable people skills, professional talents and contacts to the stewardship of this endeavor. "It's a question of galvanizing a community of people with different skills and interests to reach a common goal". In this case, that goal is connecting artists and their art with the public.

“I think there are great artists everywhere, but  there is a lack of  space to show their art", commented  Williams.

The CONNECT Hyde Park Art Festival will solve that problem next weekend and provide the space!

Eric Williams; photo by StopTime Live

Parking will be free in the Harper Court garage (enter on South Lake Park Avenue just south of McDonald's) from 5 P.M. on Friday, November 18th through 11:59 P.M. on Sunday, November 20th for the duration of CONNECT.

For more information, visit the festival website:Connect Hyde Park


Unless otherwise noted, all photos courtesy of CONNECT Hyde Park Art Festival 

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