A half-dozen artists from the Buckeye neighborhood mill around the crowded storefront of Passport Project, at the intersection of Buckeye Road and East 128th Street.
They’ll be leading arts events here in August, as Sidewalks of Buckeye moves into its second phase. The exact dates are August 11 to August 29 (see the full calendar below).
African drums, tie-dyed tapestries, costumes, musical instruments - these are just a few of the items lining the walls of the space, all dating from artist Chloë Hopson’s 17-year-and-counting tenure in the space.
"We're in the process of moving things around," she says almost apologetically to the group, as she ushers everyone to a circle of folding chairs in the front of the studio.
But Eleanor Bergholz - one of the founders of the Rice Branch Knitting Circle, isn’t having it.
"I love it," she says. "It just shows how much you’ve accomplished here over the years."
"You can tell that this is a place that's done a lot for the community."
Both Chloë as an individual and Passport Project as an organization have been long-term staples in providing service to the Buckeye area. Since 1998, they've offered a slew of free and low-cost programs - everything from hosting international artists to organizing a full slate of art, dance and cooking classes.
In recent years, the building has seen less active programming. That’s at least partially a product of new ideas for utilizing the immense storefront, including converting half of it into a bay of artist studios.
But Chloë says the upcoming Buckeye series is exactly the kind of community programming she wants to host here moving forward. She’s had recent offers to lease the space from churches and hair salons, but it’s important for her that it continues to have an arts focus ... and a concentrated focus on advancing the neighborhood and the residents who call it home.
That’s exactly what will be on offer beginning August 11, when our friend Lee Kay kicks off the series with a workshop in applying for Neighborhood Connections grants. The idea is to help publicize the small grants (up to $5,000) - aimed at supporting the work of grassroots community projects - to area artists and other residents.
After that, visitors will get to see just that kind of grassroots energy in action - everything from teaching people to knit or perform martial arts, to brainstorming about greenspace and public art, to participating in an interactive art exhibit about racial identity.
The intention of every event is to continue drawing out stories from and about the Buckeye neighborhood - the aim of Sidewalks of Buckeye overall.
All events are open to the public and are free to attend. Artists will receive small stipends to help cover their time and the cost of supplies.
Below is the preliminary schedule (but check back for additional programming!). Mark your calendars, share with friends, and be sure to join us for as much as you can!
All events take place at Passport Project (12801 Buckeye Road), unless otherwise noted.