Volunteers Transform the HUB 930 Entrance

November 8, 2016

Brushes were dipped into a wide range of colors, and paint was splattered over six large panels. Individuals with and without disabilities volunteered side by side, and at the end of the afternoon, Center for Independent Futures’ newest community space was transformed.

"Every time I walked through the alley, I'd see broken glass and boarded up windows," said Ann Sickon, Center for Independent Futures’ Executive Director. "Now I see a colorful and welcoming mural."

Around 40 volunteers collaborated to create the mural that welcomes people to HUB 930. Located at 930 Chicago Avenue, HUB 930 is a recently renovated space with technology access and a new kitchen where individuals with disabilities can learn new skills and build connections.

Volunteers from Center for Independent Futures were joined by Clerestory Consulting for the day of fun and work. Clerestory’s connection with Center for Independent Futures began a few years ago, when their consultants did market research to support our exploration of innovative ways to share our services online. Linda Toops, founder of Clerestory Consulting, wanted to find a way for her team to do a service project in Evanston and to meet adults with disabilities who are living full lives in the community. After a few phone calls, a date was set, paint was purchased, and the people gathered to create a work of art.   

Rob Larson, an artist and Center for Independent Futures staff member, was charged with harnessing the creativity of the volunteers.“The key is to have fun, build relationships, loosen up, get messy, and then clean the brushes,” Rob says.

Rob led the volunteers to create panels that had both individuality and a cohesive design. The volunteers filled the panels with colors that became the base coat that Rob used to spell out the letters of the word "GROW," with one letter on each window.

Rob made sure the consultants didn't use a computer or tape to make straight lines, and he supported individuals with disabilities to participate equally with the Clerestory volunteers. In addition to painting, volunteers also beautified the garden space by tearing down invasive vines and planting flowers. As they worked, the teams shared stories prompted by Caring Cards, creating an atmosphere of acceptance and collaboration.

"Creating art without knowing the end result is nerve-wracking, but it’s really the only way to let go of control. Let 40 people splatter paint wherever they want and then be delighted by the result," Rob shares. "I believe every person is creative, and a project like this helps all of us get in touch with that.”

We are grateful to the Clerestory Consulting team and Rob Larson Studio for sharing their time and gifts to create a welcoming entrance to HUB 930! To see more photos from the day, view our Facebook album at this link. 

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