Members of the community coalition included representatives from the Chester Housing Authority, Yes We Can Achievement and Cultural Center, Nebula Gallery, Smith Flooring Inc., as well as community artists, activists, historians, and organizers. The coalition met monthly and discussed ins and outs of Chester Made programming, where they saw their respective organizations or talents fitting into the project, and how Chester Made could make its efforts truly beneficial for an entire community. 

Coalition members recognized that downtown Chester had entered into a re-birth on artistic, cultural, and economic levels. They decided to take the lead on a program in collaboration with Chester Made. “Renaissance Chester” aimed to celebrate the City’s diversity and carry its rich legacy of past and current artists into the future for generations to come. This immersive historic, cultural, and artistic experience was presented at Nebula Gallery, recently opened by John Bush, and featured a pop-up Black History Museum curated by local historian Twyla Simpkins, CEO of the Yes Center’s Heritage Place Library, Museum & Black Repository, now located at the former YWCA Chester.

Smith Flooring Inc Crew posing outside Makerspace

Then in June, Chester Made partnered with Smith Flooring Inc. and Tish Lewis @fitmomtish for the "Clean Kitchen, Clean Eating" program. Participants made wooden fruit baskets together, talked about healthy eating, sampled a yummy apple yogurt snack, and took home some apples thanks to Fare & Square. Every collaboration done with the community coalition shined a warm, bright light into Chester Made and guided the project toward truly inclusive activities in the Makerspace.

participants building fruit baskets

“When Chester Made does stuff, I’ve noticed that the other artists on the Avenue of the States are more intentional about being open, so that’s a great opportunity to bring people in and say ‘Let’s go see what’s happening in downtown Chester.” –Tyler Rodkey of Painting Freedom