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The CHIRP Blog

Entries categorized as “Community” 70 results

The Audible Snail writesGive Up Your Car for New Belgium!

Have you ever dreamed of a car-free life? Of the open bikeways in a big city? Of trading in your car keys for a steel frame on two wheels with all of the love you can muster? New Belgium’s Tour de Fat needs you!

New Belgium is giving away a $2,250 stipend to buy a new bicycle and bicycle gear. Potential commuters must submit a 2-minute video to New Belgium’s Facebook page and Chicago’s Tour de Fat Facebook event by Wednesday, July 6 addressing why you want to go car-free and commit to biking full-time.

Click here if you would like to trade in your vehicle.

CHIRP is proud to sponsor the 2016 Tour de Fat on Saturday, July 9 in Chicago’s Palmer Square. In addition to the car-for-bike challenge, CHIRP volunteers will be supporting New Belgium by riding in the Bike Parade!

CHIRP Volunteer Bicycle Trivia: In 2005, DJ The Audible Snail left her broken down minivan at the bottom of a mountain in Western Massachusetts for what would become a 10+ year commuter bicycle life in the great city of Chicago! Her minivan was impounded of course, not left for dead in the middle of nowhere, but she can attest to the freedom of living a life on two wheels and self-propelled velocity! There is no joy like getting to where you need to go on your own time, nor the simple pleasure of passing cars stuck in traffic along the way.

Become a car trader. Submit!

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Share July 5, 2016 Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Categorized: Community

Topics: tour de fat

Clarence Ewing: The Million Year Trip writesThere’s No Place for Workplace Harassment

Recently, the Chicago arts community has been witness to events at the (now closed) Profiles Theatre, whose artistic director engaged in a pattern of bullying and sexual harassment of cast and crew members. All credit is due to the individuals who came forward to talk about what happened, as well as those who organized and provided support for the victims. Illegal actions like the ones at Profiles happen in all industries and professions. But there's strength in community and a network of people willing to help.

Remember, harassment in a workplace is a form of discrimination, which is illegal under Illinois law. If you need more information or help regarding bullying or sexual harassment where you work, the Illinois Legal Aid site is a good place to start. They have a directory of local organizations that can help you if you need it. You have rights...Don't wait.

Share June 28, 2016 Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Categorized: Community

SKaiser writesCHIRP Photos: Lincoln Park Conservatory

If you find the city looking fine and would like a chance to share your favorite concert or festival images, or most any other things, on the CHIRP Radio blog, then hop on your nearest internet service provider and send them to Shawna Kaiser at Here is a collection from the historic Lincoln Park Conservatory and surrounding area. 

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Share June 27, 2016 Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Categorized: Community

SKaiser writesAmie Sell

If someone handed you a survey asking what you could share with others in your neighborhood, what would you say? Now is your chance to show off your green thumb and urban farming skills. This is your art. Or maybe you have nunchuck skils, bowhunting skills, or computer hacking skills. Okay forget the last one. You know what you have that nobody else does. Get out there and share it. 

“I believe in the idea that we are all artists, we just have different modes of expression, whether we realize it or not. Creating a piece of art can often feel like putting a piece of yourself out in the world and there is much uncertainty surrounding it, but the more one becomes comfortable with that uncertainty through repetition, the future becomes filled with many more choices than one could have thought possible.”

This is Amie Sell. She works as a project assistant to designers and architects where she’s able to contribute her visionary art-thinking abilities and often gets “very lucky to be connected to some amazing teams”. Check out one project, a floating greenhouse, called The Looper.

“Individually we can come up with good ideas, but groups with diverse visions and skills are where the best designs are born,” she said. “In school we learn about individual artists or historical figures that did everything on their own, but when you peel back the surface, there almost always teams, collaborators and instigators that drive the creation.”

Amie Sell has lived in many places and traveled to more. She's been in Chicago the past 11 years. “Asking someone where they're from is an easy way to place a set of preconceived geographical cultural norms on a person, so I get why this question is important to contextualize people, but for me personally, it is not as simple. My mother likes to say that I came from the ‘Mothership’. Depending on my mood or context, my answer varies,” Sell said. (Photo by Justin Vaughn)

The Connection

Amie stays committed to the path of an artist because it provides her the freedom to explore ideas and foster collaboration with other artists.

There's a Chicago architecture firm's lobby, which is modeled after the ideal white cube gallery, that needed fresh perspective and Amie was asked to be a curator for the space. Through the rotating showings of work, Amie's goals are to bring inspiration from local artists and coax people into feeling comfortable with their art.

When asked how we can bridge art and science as they relate to society, Sell gives us this exchange:

Sell: Curiosity and truth-seeking are the common threads that run through art and science. When Watson & Crick envisioned the double helix shape of DNA, it took outside the box thinking to visualize this for humanity to understand the concept. The linearity of the scientific method and the waves of imagination riff off of each other to create understanding.

CHIRP: How've you been able to express this understanding in your own work?

Sell: It started with the internal struggle of what these terms meant to me in context to a personal relationship. Then it began to materialize in a very methodical way of visiting every house that I lived in and capturing a picture of it – 25 or 26 at the time. Visiting each house caused my mind to move through them spatially and then to draw the floor plans and models of the spaces. The drawing and model making turned out to be very tedious and the lines between accurate model and distorted memory became blurred and, well lonely. I then started to explore the term in context to my community in the face of mass evictions and gentrification by actively studying the concept from social science and anthropological perspectives to broaden the context from my ‘self’. It has blown open my life in ways that I could have never imagined. Many collaborations and two installations, Home Sweet Home and Warm Memory were born out of this shift.

"Art in Unity Park 2015" Amie Sell was contacted to help with the annual Art in the Park event. Unity Park is located in Logan Square and Amie pitched the idea for kids to create their own neighborhood one home at a time. 

A Change

When looking towards our future, Sell says art and design shape everything in our human world, but the way it is valued is distorted by our economic system that relies on constant growth, mass production and efficiencies that create profit for few. What can we do better to locally and globally connect with each other? The answer is to change our value systems and powers that seek to oppress and destroy. Art and collaboration is a major part of the (r)evolution strategy. 

“Working with young people gives me hope that a better world is actually possible,” Sell said. “I’ve seen art change the trajectory of many people’s lives on different levels. It opens doors to conceptual thinking that is lacking in our contemporary school environments and has the power to decontextualize traditional cultural constructs that repress personal expression.”

Are you feeling inspired yet? Here’s some final words of wisdom from Amie, and for more on her work, please visit

“Art is powerful, use it wisely and when art becomes business, be careful who you choose to accept money from and how they value you. They could be using you as a tool to push their agenda that could have unforeseeable negative impacts on your community, our Chicago community. Investigate who sits on the boards of art organizations. Do they align with your values? Also, if you move into a new neighborhood, do not start your own isolated art practice, gallery or collective. Get out and meet others that are already there building community through art. Artists are everywhere, creating everywhere - they just don’t always look like you.”

Share May 10, 2016 Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Categorized: Community

Clarence Ewing: The Million Year Trip writesNew Belgium and Active Trans Make for a Strong Partnership

When it comes to businesses and organizations, “for-profit” and “non-profit” are often thought of as being on opposite sides of the table culturally and philosophically. But look closely at your community, and you will find the kind of partnerships formed between business and non-profits to have fun and make the world a better place.

Such is the case in Chicago, where New Belgium Brewing, a 100% employee-owned brewery, has joined forces with Chicago’s Active Transportation Alliance, a non-profit that has spent the last 30 years helping to develop and improve sustainable transportation options in the city.

Through their partnership with Active Trans, New Belgium will be participating in 2016 events such as Bike the Drive on May 29th and the Bike Commuter Challenge in June. Steve Navas, New Belgium’s Chicago Field Marketing Manager, sums up the synergy involved: “The partnership has made sense for a while, since our values sync so well, and we’re also sponsoring Chicago Bike Week. We look forward to continuing to make Chicagoland a great place for alternative transportation. We definitely love two wheels and helping Active Trans spread that love.”

New Belgium Brewing got its start during a bike ride through Belgium (the country). Two-wheeled transportation is a fundamental part of the company’s DNA. Their collaboration with Active Trans is what on Wall Street they would call a “natural fit.” Fortunately for the Chicago community, it’s also a pairing for a cause that makes life a little better for everyone.

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Share March 29, 2016 Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Categorized: Community

Topics: active transportation alliance, new belgium brewing

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