Make These Ideas Happen

Our volunteers and friends of SHoP have a lot of ideas for possible community events, but even though we have the space and resources to do it, we often lack the people and time to make them all a reality!

You can help us turn these ideas into realities! You can be our event organizer and host your event at SHoP!

Come up with the plans, and we’ll give you the space and materials to do it.

Make these ideas happen:

  • The first ever Children’s Theatre Group in Hyde Park. Rarely is there a chance for children in the Hyde Park community to actively engage in the performing arts. Create Hyde Park’s first Children’s Theatre Group! Advertise a few flyers in local elementary schools, make costumes with them, adopt a script, rehearse, and host a benefit children’s play for the community.
  • Saturday flea markets. A place for members of the community to exchange and barter their hand-crafted items, artwork, and used goods with one another. A real, local marketplace to meet local artists, craftsmen, and enthusiasts across the neighborhood.
  • Skill-Shares. Everyone with a unique skill or knowledge to share sits in several rooms across SHoP. People rotate for about 30 minutes or so each person to learn a new skill–be it how to play the guitar, a foreign language, beginning crochet lessons, or tap dancing lessons. Come away from these sessions learning new skills and hobbies.
  • Time Banks. Instead of dollars, exchange time amongst each other. You teach me, I’ll fix your car. You fix my car, I’ll paint your bedroom.
  • Children’s Workshops. We would love to have more children’s workshops and programs at SHoP! Be it in writing, the arts, science, or anything else fun, enriching, and/or educational! Host one, or several, workshops for children at SHoP. Make a one-week science camp, teach children the beginnings of a new language, give them comic-drawing lessons, or whatever you’d like!
  • Dance or Exercise classes. Host dance classes in our third floor aesthetics room. We have a lot of space and mats. You can be our instructor. Feel free to charge a small nominal fee for your members (suggested $2 per session)
  • Mystery Murder Dinner Series. Fenn House is a 100-year-old mansion. What sort of quaint, strange things happened here? Why is there a room with a one-way mirror in the basement? Why are there rooms filled with letters? And who killed Ms. Smith? Use the entire Fenn House to play out your mystery dinner. Invite members of the community and a few actors to play as guests to your mystery dinner (make it a potluck, even!). Disperse clues all around Fenn House. And figure out who did it.

Southside Hub of Production Fundraising

Southside Hub of Production Fundraising


The Southside Hub of Production exists as one of the few valuable collectives of artists, writers, film makers, craftspeople, educators, and local civic organizations who have come together to create a local cultural hub space in Hyde Park, Chicago. The cultural contribution this affords the community is incredible – people from throughout Hyde Park can come down to spread the word on their latest pieces, political campaign, or community project to ask for collaboration or just to share.

These funds go directly to paying for the overhead costs and rent that make this community sharing possible. On the second floor of the house is a thrift store for the community – one which provides cheap and warm clothes to any who walk into our doors. Filled with intriguing clothes, trinkets, and objects full of character – this shop offers durable goods that also offer a positive environmental impact.

Yet as soon as these funds dry up, a community loses a cultural hub where any idea or object could be found – real or not. In total, our costs amount to $2000 a month for rent and other costs. Since SHoP is entirely volunteer run, all donations go 100% towards the costs of this jazzy operation – not the deep pockets of some administrator. On this level, every donation truly does make a difference.

No matter your penchant – preserving the arts, providing a cheap and interesting community shop, or creating an inter-community dialogue – this cultural hub ought to appeal to the best of our passions as human beings. It is these campaigns, these small donations that often go unnoticed by the general public – that one micro donation can change the shape of an individual’s life and of an entire community.

Toward a Union of Public Artists

Toward a union of public artists we have invited artists into our space to activate our house with public programming throughout the length of our exhibition. See below for our calendar of events programmed through the current exhibition.

The month of October will be one of exploration on the nature of artistic independence and community interdependence, dedicated to informal education and an investigation of the Public Artist.

Public Artist-one who acts, thinks, and/or learns publicly and in some way exhibits his/her performance of daily life, or entangles it with public life. The Public Artist might be one whose daily endeavors, say, seeking studio space, finding a place to live, eating dinner, raising children, seeking education for himself or her children… all become endeavors that are shared, informed by broader needs than ones own, and pursued with some degree of aesthetic or poetic sensibility.

Home Gallery and SHoP present: Form Follows Function off a short pier

Home gallery

Each commission reflects both a practical and social wish, the fulfillment of which is tacitly bound up in the artistic process. The exhibition further explores home life as an arena that necessitates intervention and rupture from outside; domestic life is an incrementally self-imposed set of activities, habits, attitudes and rituals, born of archaic patterns, personal history; social life as an art form; the concept of home as the place most familiar, but founded upon the imaginary.

Opening: Saturday July 20th
6:00 to 10:00 pm

Closing Brunch: Sunday September 22nd

11:00 am to 3:00 pm

We look forward to seeing you here!

Ad-Hoc Playground at Elm Park from August 15th to August 18th!

SHoP and the friends of Elm Park invite artists, musicians, performers, storytellers, educators, adults and children of all ages to participate in our first 4 day Ad-Hoc Playground. Since SHoP no longer has a physical space, we are thinking of an outdoor community center without walls with a constantly evolving, additive and participatory process of engagement with our public space. Come out, bring cardboard for a huge Fort Cardboard, make an interactive installation or project or come visit ones made by other artists. We hope to have an outdoor concert night Saturday evening and ongoing creative interventions and interactions with the park and it’s neighboring community, focusing on how we can more creatively use our public spaces for social gathering and learning sites, playscapes, living rooms, exhibition space and performance venues without big funding

History: The Ad-Hoc Playground is SHoP’s second investigation into refining a replicable model for the creative transformation of public parks, empty lots and otherwise underutilized public spaces into spontaneously un-programmed play-gardens that may foster newly enriching, but otherwise unlikely, relationships among community members and continue a conversation that meaningfully addresses the humanistic needs of the surrounding community.

ELM PARK IS OPEN: from 8:00 am to 11:00 every day.
Ad-Hoc Playground invites participation on these days:

(8/16) FRIDAY
(8/18) SUNDAY

We will also have a community board for sign ups.


A donation-and-volunteer run cultural community hub in Hyde Park, Chicago.

New hours to be determined
Open during all events or contact Laura Shaeffer for an appointment.

SHoP volunteers and renters for studio and storage space. Contact for more information.

Benefits Of A Bale Loader

Commercial forage growers and livestock producers are aware of financial gains which come with close management of cutting, conditioning, baling and loading hay. Surprisingly, these management practices are forgotten during bale movement. It is sad for such producers to invest large amounts in growing quality hay only to compromise the value in handling and transportation. However, use of the right equipment and adequate planning can save bale value. One of the most resourceful equipment for farmers who grow hay for sale is a bale loader.

Benefits of a bale loader

a) Reduce hay waste
Until recently, ranchers and farmers were unable to escape “bad side’ hay which was not only costly but an unavoidable expense. It is caused by inefficiencies in production equipment which leave bales exposed to moisture. When allowed to sit for days or weeks in the field before it is transported to storage, the bottom part picks up moisture which leads to the growth of mold. This is how the ” bad side” is born. The more the bale sits in the field, the more its value depreciates.

The problem can be solved by the use of bale loaders which ensure the process of hauling the bales for transportation to storage is done faster and efficiently.

b) Reduce cost
In the past, farmers and ranchers relied on human labor to load and offload hay. Due to the complexity of the process, many casual laborers had to be hired. It is one of the activities which cost farmers a lot of money. With the introduction of machine loaders, only a few workers are needed to facilitate the process.

c) Save on time
The speed of harvesting, loading, and transportation of hay to storage affects the value. If the processes drag, even the highest quality hay will depreciate in value. Bale loaders ensure the processes proceed faster and efficiently to safeguard the value. This translates to better profits to the farmer.

d) Winter feeding
The process of handling hay does not end once it is safe in the storage space for ranchers. There is need to move it during winter to feed the cattle. Because they are scattered at different places during this time, only one or two bales are placed at each location. With conventional trailers used in hay dumping, the entire load is dumped at once.

Traditionally, ranchers have dealt with the issue by using pickups and tractors to distribute the bales at different location. This necessitates excessive trips which mean excessive fuel consumption, time wastage as well as wear and tear. Investing in bale loaders is the best alternative.

bale loader

Every rancher or farmer who is serious about increasing efficiency and improving productivity in the farm should take advantage of bale loading equipment. They ensure bale movement takes place in the least downtime.