Monday, December 21, 2009


"Walk this Way: 38th Annual Pilsen East Artist's Open House, September 26-28th."

Chicago, September 2008

By now the 39th Annual Open House has happened--and maybe somebody is even planning the 40th. I was leafing through old magazines the other day and came upon this little ad for various artsy outings in Chicago--including the Bridgeport Art Walk, believe it or not,and the Pilsen open house.

For some reason, I read garden walk, not artist open house. I couldn't believe that happening under my nose when I skirmished with the artsy crowd 35 years ago. But open house, yeah,they had those.

I liked these folks and we shared some basic values about the neighborhood--things we wanted and things we didn't want. The trouble began when we bid for the same buildings and when artist impressarios floated bigger visions for Pilsen that had little room for existing residents. Some urban pioneers have the bad habit of becoming development boosters of the worst kind.

Pilsen can take care of itself, I know, and maybe happy accomodation and integration has occurred. But open houses and garden walks still get me going, at least when they happen in Pilsen.

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