Justice Hotel at 6018North

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Thanks to an ideation grant from the Joyce Foundation, artist/architect Amanda Williams, Justice of the Pies chef Maya-Camille Broussard, and grower Sarah Mallin are developing Justice Hotel and Just Desserts – a hotel and cafe that generates economic value while addressing social issues through art and food. Justice Hotel offers shelter to embody the ideas and actions that promote justice.

Justice Hotel will be at 6018North for the Chicago Architecture Biennial from September 19, 2019 to January 5, 2020. Justice Hotel at 6018North is a communal hotel where guests are invited to “check in” to justice. Developed with Amanda Williams and ALAANA concierge-curators, the 5-room hotel’s programming includes conversational dinners, performances, and healing services. Employing a co-op model of ownership, we are experimenting with living and working together in ways that benefit all. Your experience will shape our future hotel development on Chicago’s South Side. Help create justice, one room at a time. Please click here to reserve a room at 6018North during the Biennale. Check out our calendar of events.

Justice Hotel and Just Desserts has grown out of artist and architect Amanda Williams’s Color(ed) Theory which raises questions about value, eminent domain, and historical neglect through structural forces such as redlining and disinvestment. Color(ed) Theory sparked conversations about very messy, difficult, layered questions surrounding architecture and its role (or lack thereof) in shaping the potential for neighborhoods and cities to thrive. This commercial art project asks how art can best shape and generate both artistic value and monetary value to increase a neighborhood’s value for its inhabitants.  The long term goal is develop this hotel with community groups and curators on the South side.

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Justice Hotel and Just Desserts draw upon the threat of eminent domain in the Englewood neighborhood because of the Supreme Court’s Kelo vs. City of New London decision to allow city governments to take private land if it believes doing so will generate greater tax revenues or other economic benefits when the land is developed by a new owner. The idea for the hotel and café was sparked by a libertarian’s comical response to the Supreme Court case. Justice Hotel is then a reinterpretation in its manifestation and building of a space to redesign justice in the aftermath of Chicago’s landscape being “designed” via erasure, systemic neglect, racism, redlining, and an imbalance of resources. The building and running of the hotel as an art project is foundational. Instead of gentrifying, we aim to empower the community to become agents in the process that so often moves them out. Amanda is working with bricks, the foundational block of architecture. What does a justice brick look like? How can we, brick by brick, build an architecture for economic and social justice?

Since Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic dome typifies the 60s generation of sharing, this phase asks: What does a cooperative look like? To answer this question, in 2018 6018North’s Summer Youth Employees (prototypes of future youth workers of the hotel) helped build Williams’s prototype at Sanctuary at Expo Chicago 2019. This Summer, our Youth Employees are delving into justice and developing a podcast to discuss the odd pairing of justice and hospitality. In addition, we are working with a group of ALAANA based curators/concierges who are creating and developing the conditions of the cooperative working environment of the hotel.

The project’s mission is to work with rather than for the community. We aim to fill gaps and meet needs of the community by providing skills and creating jobs for youth who in turn design, build, work in, and manage the hotel. We build on artist and architect Amanda Williams’ work with a host of student architects and 6018North’s artisan craftsman mentor/apprenticeships with students to train youth in carpentry skills and video making to document the process. We also build on our partnership with local grower Pyrite Sun to supply produce and ingredients for the café and bar. As a hotel, it will showcase and integrate the work of emerging Chicago artists and architects. Following our work with artists at 6018North, each room has a unique artist created installation. House as art; hotel as art.

Finally, the project challenges the typology of hotel architecture. The design phase innovatively questions architectural and economic conceptions of hotels. Since we know what artist and curator run spaces can look like, we now want to develop the blueprints to construct an artist and curator run hotel as a social justice endeavor that through its spatial, material, and localized conditions empowers its workers and its community. We ask: how can architecture design and articulate the embodiment of a new set of financial parameters that express ownership, management, and maintenance as an artistic and a cooperative endeavor? 

Below are images of Sanctuary, the first iteration of Justice Hotel at Expo Chicago 2018.

6018North and 3Arts presented Sanctuary – a social justice space designed by Amanda Williams and activated by 3Arts Make A Wave artists Carris Adams, Maya Camille Broussard, Mashaun Ali Hendricks, Nikki Patin, Amina Ross, Rhonda Wheatley, and others at EXPO Chicago from September 27 to September 30, 2018.  Sanctuary unveiled a prototype of Justice Hotel – supported by a Joyce Foundation ideation grant – as a think tank for embodying the ideas and actions that support social justice and self-care. 

Press

Newcity “EXPO 2018: Critic’s Picks,” October 2, 2018 by Kerry Cardoza

Newcity “‘For the many, not for the few’, Market Reflections on EXPO 2018’s Commercial Offerings,” October 1, 2018 by Stephen F. Eisenman