Creativity in Motion: Hyde Park Arts Center pulls another all-nighter

The Hyde Park Art Center (HPAC) celebrates its third annual 24-hour festival, Creative Move 2008, this Friday and Saturday. Creative Move is a free event created specifically for an audience interested in and curious about art, where open mics, lectures, cocktails and activities abound. HPAC’s festival is an excellent opportunity for Chicago residents to mingle in an interactive setting; in fact, Creative Move is described as “24 hours of hands-on art-making,” where a do-it-yourself approach to understanding contemporary art is enthusiastically encouraged.

The diverse offering of events includes printmaking, pottery classes and a neighborhood open mic in the center’s new coffee shop. The University of Chicago Dancers and student a cappella group Ransom Notes will perform during the festival. Other events include a screening of mountain-themed motion pictures. This particular series of films, including the popular favorite, “Cold Mountain,” is inspired by Kelly Kaczynski’s “Olympus Manger, Scene II,” an interactive artwork that will be exhibited in the main gallery space on the ground floor of HPAC. Colleen Coyne, HPAC’s Communications and Events Manager, describes this year’s Creative Move as an event centered on the notion of movement, using art as a way of “overcoming obstacles” through action.

As indicated by past Creative Move festivals, participants should make up a diverse crowd with guests from all over the city, from local Hyde Park residents to North Siders and even a small handful of visitors from out of state. A Hyde Park institution, HPAC remains very much embedded in the neighborhood’s community, all the while maintaining its independence from the University of Chicago. Coyne describes the UofC as an “involved” member of the center, but accentuates that HPAC does its “own thing.” This distinction is crucial because many community events and efforts are overshadowed by the UofC’s behemoth presence in the neighborhood; too many students forget the thousands of permanent residents who live in the Hyde Park, Woodlawn and Kenwood area, and who are not affiliated with the university. Creative Move draws attention to the various institutions that create Hyde Park’s cultural landscape, especially HPAC’s sleek and ingenious artistic space, which plays a central role in the neighborhood arts scene outside the UofC’s doors. Students and residents both should attend, or at least stop by and take part in some of the events, if only to experience a cultural institution that is interwoven into the Hyde Park community.

Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell Ave. April 13-June 22. Monday-Thursday, 9am-8pm, Friday-Saturday, 9am-5pm, Sunday, 12pm-5pm. www.hydeparkart.org