[messhall] Mess Hall Closing: Final Months

"Art is Business" Reposted for the Mess Hall

This is the announcement list for Mess Hall, an experimental cultural center
 in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago. Mess Hall hosts a printed matter
archive, exhibitions, workshops, lectures, public projects, actions, events,
meals, and more.

Reading Area

Mess Hall
6932 N Glenwood, Chicago
just across from the Morse stop on the Red Line

Don't Mourn. Organize.”[messhall] Mess Hall Closing: Final Months
Joe Hill

Dear Mess Hall friends,
Mess Hall was founded in 2003 through the efforts of a wide community of artists who were given the free use of a storefront space at 6932 N. Glenwood Ave in Rogers Park. “Surfing on surplus,” we sought to develop a generosity economy in the cultural life of the neighborhood and city. We wanted cultural spaces run by the people who use them, and to explode the myth of scarcity by
redistributing surplus at every level of production and consumption. Ten years later, private property, following the inevitable trajectories of its calculus, reasserts itself. As of March 31st, Mess Hall will no longer exist.

International Art Group of Rogers Park,
Sunday Dinner and Artist Talk 2011 at MessHall

Over the last decade, Mess Hall has hosted thousands of exhibits, lectures, workshops, free stores and other events that don't fit easily into the norms of culture prescribed by neoliberal capitalist society. The space has seen several generations of “key holders” and has evolved to meet the needs of the neighborhood and the challenges of organizing freedom during the Great Recession. Now, in our final months in this incarnation, we invite you to participate in a series of public events that address our beloved experimental center in the past and future tenses. What was this? What might it become?

Some events are directed to the past, in order to consolidate the knowledge the space has helped to create and mourn its passing. Others turn away from closure, in order to extend the spirit of Mess Hall into the future. Now more than ever we need to create practices, spaces and counter-institutions that resist the reification of our daily lives, relations and aspirations.
We welcome your participation in these events:

 *Saturday 16 February – Friday 23 March*

Mess Hall 2003-13 / Our Collective Future

This on-going exhibit will display selections from the Mess Hall archives alongside your own memories of the space and community responses to a questionnaire about what Mess Hall was to residents of Rogers Park and what paces will take its place once its gone. The exhibit will be on display  during all Mess Hall events, and questionnaires will be available in the distribution box by our door. Please send us your memories of Mess Hall, or stop by to fill out a questionnaire.

Chicago Calling Arts Festival- 2007
Saturday, 23 February, 2:00 – 5:00 pm*

The Material Production of Cultural Space I.
The first of two workshops exploring practical models for building counter- institutions that are non-commercial, consensual and community driven. Two guest speakers will offer concise presentations on the labor, tactics, skills and monetary investments required to forge/forage alternative cultural spaces in Chicago. The focus of our discussion to follow will be on concrete models or building worker-owned co-operatives, liberated houses, and counter-economies. As Mess Hall closes its doors, we wish to think in practical terms about how to establish and maintain spaces reclaimed from the dictates of private ownership.

Saturday, 2 March, 2:00 – 5:00 pm*

The Material Production of Cultural Space II.
See previous event; different featured groups will present on the production of alternative spaces and economies.

*Saturday, 16 March, 12:00 – 7:00 pm*

First Drafts for an Uncertain Future that May Kick Ass if We Work Together

A day-long conference for everyone interested in the future of alternative cultural spaces in Chicago. We will mix practicality with dreams, fantasies and hallucinations in order to brainstorm about future shapes the spirit of Mess Hall might assume. We will ask a multitude of participants with practical knowledge about the development of anti-commerical, community oriented counter-institutions to diagram their wildest dreams for spaces/sites/programs that defy the logic of marketplace. A brunch-luck will be served from 12:00 –1:00, followed by several round-table discussions designed to explore the realities of the present by reflecting upon our dreams for the future. All participants are invited to bring diagrams of their dreams for free cultural spaces and the freaky communities that might inhabit them.
*Sunday, 24 March, 10:00 – 4:00 pm*

The Really, Really, Really, Really Free Store Mess Hall's Free Store is closing its doors, so we're having a Free Store Final Blowout Super Giveaway. Everything must go! It was free to begin with so just imagine the discounts you'll find at our going-out-of-business anti-sale! This final free store at Mess Hall brought to you by the generosity of the White Rose Catholic Workers.

 *Friday, 29 March, 7:00 pm – Midnight*

 Farewell to Mess Hall: Closing Ceremonies and Celebration
Join us for our final gathering in the space. We will say our farewells with a
parade, a key-tossing ceremony and a night-long party. The current key-holders
 do not wish to leave the space alone. We will leave it as we found: together.
 That about wraps it up, folks. Mark your calendars, and check our website
(www.messhall.org) and e-mail announcements in the coming months for these and
many other events. In the meantime, we invite you to send us letters to/for/
about Mess Hall—we are seeking memories, rants, photographs—anything you can
offer us as we say farewell to this haphazard, beloved institution. Please
send any memories or materials you may have to info@messhall.org with the

subject line “Mess Hall Memories.”
International Art Group of Rogers Park,
Sunday Dinner and Artist Talk 2011 at Mess Hall

It has been a pleasure & honor to sustain this on-going experiment with all of
 you. We will miss seeing you in this space, and hope to rediscover each other
in the context of new experiments with generosity-driven culture. Our thanks
 to Al Goldberg, who has given us use of the space these ten years, and who
 intends to re-open 6932 N. Glenwood Ave. as a center for spiritual practices.
 Yours in the on-going struggle to Free Culture,
The current Mess Hall key-holders

 (Diana, Lora, Lara, Justin, Rozalinda, Amy, Matthias)

 This is the announcement list for Mess Hall, an experimental cultural center
in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago. Mess Hall hosts a printed matter
archive, exhibitions, workshops, lectures, public projects, actions, events,
 meals, and more.

Chicago Calling Arts Festival- 2007