City Visionaries: Lessons from Chester, Chicago and Detroit

March 16-17, 2018

MJ Freed Theater, 515 Avenue of the States, Chester, PA 19013

Chester Made, Devon Walls, L. Ward and Kenya Abdul Hadi hosted Chicago's Theaster Gates and Detroit's Kimberly Driggins for a reception and lively, informative talk on creative and cultural rebuilding in their communities.

Participants thought about how we can, with or best selves, make our cities better, Kimberly and Theaster presented about people-focused approaches to development, and visionaries from all over exchanged ideas about reclaiming, repurposing and rebuilding their cities with arts, culture and their communities.

Learn more about Devon Walls, Theaster Gates and Kimberly Driggins. Listen to Devon Walls talk about the transformation of downtown Chester in this video about a mural by artist Mary Lacy. Devon Walls is Director of MJ Freed, President of New Day Chester and Founder of Artist Warehouse. Next watch Gates’s TED Talk on how he got involved as an artist and social activist in rebuilding his neighborhood in the South Side of Chicago. Gates is currently Professor in the Department of Visual Arts and Director of the Place Lab at the University of Chicago. Then hear from distinguished city planner, Kimberly Driggins, when she was LOEB Fellow at Harvard about her early work in creative placemaking in Washington, DC. Driggins is now Director of Strategic Planning in the City of Detroit’s Planning and Development Department and the Mayor’s representative for arts and culture for the City of Detroit.


Tools 101: Desk Building Workshop

February 21 & 24, 2018

Chester Made Makerspace, 511 Avenue of the States, Chester, PA
Students, families, and friends who attended this session of Tools 101 worked with Jeff Pond of The Public Workshop and Tyler Rodkey of Painting Freedom Ministries to learn some tool basics and build their own compact wall desk. We hope these desks will be as useful as they were fun to create!


Biography of a Place: Power and Justice at the 1724 Court House

February 24, 2018

MJ Freed Theater, 515 Avenue of the States, Chester, PA
As follow up to re-imagining the past through the lens of power and place with Laura Barraclough on Feb. 2-3, Chester Made, Widener University, and collaborating community historians toured the city's Court House with Carol Fireng of Chester Historical Preservation Committee, delved into archives with Margaret Johnson at Delaware County Historical Society, and explored new ideas for remapping Chester together.


Chester Community History Programs

February 2-3, 2018

MJ Freed Theater, 515 Avenue of the States, Chester, PA
On Friday, people who live, work, study, and play in Chester gathered to tell a different story of the city they love. Yale historian and author of A People’s Guide to Los Angeles, Laura Barraclough, shared examples of remapping efforts in LA and cities alike in her presentation, “Insurgent Scholarship and Radical Tourism: The Making of ‘A People’s Guide’.”

Attendees were then invited to “Re-mapping Chester: Spaces of Struggle, Resistance, and Solidarity,” on Saturday to reflect on social movements that have taken place in Chester and how place-based narratives are powerful resources in amplifying a more genuine history of the city. Biography of a Place is the first step! Hope you can join us.


Frame Your History Build

January 27, 2018

Chester Made Makerspace, 511 Avenue of the States, Chester, PA
Participants built a picture frame—and celebrated their family history—with Emily Bunker of The Public Workshop. Each person learned the step-by-step process to measure, cut, and create their own personalized frame that they got to take home! The frames now showcase memorable photos and one-of-a-kind artwork which holds special meaning in this community.


A Chester Story Screening and Discussion

January 15, 2018

MJ Freed Theater, 515 Avenue of the States, Chester PA
Chester Made and MJ Freed Theater hosted a special showing of "A Chester Story"—a documentary experience written, produced and directed by Ulysses 'Butch' Slaughter and Devon Walls. View more photos from the event on the Chester Made Facebook page and check out press coverge on The Stefan Roots Blog as well as The Delaware County Daily Times.