Before we produced Fable Festival, I didn’t know much about the Edgewater community. I had been to a few restaurants, shopped in Andersonville, and attended productions at Berger Park. But after producing Fable Festival in bars, churches, empty storefronts and other locations, I began to get to know the neighborhood and have come to believe that Edgewater has the potential to once again be a hip destination place in Chicago.
I wasn’t around but Edgewater was first developed around the 1880s as a summer home for Chicago’s elite and was annexed by the city in 1889 as part of Lake View. By 1910 the area had the name Edgewater and was considered one of the most prestigious communities in Chicago. The Edgewater Beach Hotel hosted famous guests like Frank Sinatra, Charlie Chaplin, Nat King Cole (to name a few) while big bands played there including Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey. Since that time, Edgewater has transitioned into one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the country. The businesses and people include the LGBT friendly bars and shops on Clark Street, the Ethiopian restaurants on Broadway, students attending Loyola and the many immigrants who live along the lakefront. It is this culturally rich community that makes for a fun place to create art.
Pivot Arts has already done a wide span of programming for adults and youth and being in a diverse community enables us to work with different neighborhood groups. From partnering with local artists like Thomas Comerford and The Alternatives Youth Group to performing in a wide range of places like the Waterfront Cafe, an empty storefront, an underutilized church courtyard, Burke’s Pub, or Senn High School — we have a diverse range of places to perform in and have used this as an opportunity to revitalize underused, urban spaces making for a safer and more vibrant community.
It’s exciting to have a community like Edgewater to create in and I hope you will all join us on this grand adventure and find some magic yourself here with us.