Seven times a year we publish our “Leaders of Chicago Culture”—this month, we present the Design 50. In creating these lists, we strive to manifest a community of culture in text and images.
We’re often asked how we do it. Our process is a blend of art and science, or at least alchemy. We start with foundational knowledge gained through our constant presence as editors, critics and journalists in the communities we cover. Then we add to this knowledge and encourage a greater engagement of the community we’re covering by reaching out to a long list of its current leaders, of past list honorees, of sure-to-be-future subjects and others in between and ask for their input. Who is on their radar? Who do we need to know about that we might not know? And so on. And then our editors, in this case Vasia Rigou, work with their writers on the difficult task of distilling it all into a cohesive whole, one that displays a community where it might otherwise not be seen.
The photo shoot is where this community comes to three-dimensional life when we take pictures of fifty or so people in two three-hour sessions. It’s rapid and efficient and always results in a robust serendipity of encounters, as old friends bump into each other as they’re coming and going, and new friends meet for the first time, quickly sharing life-and-art essentials, along with contact details and Instagram handles.
All of this community building via photography is facilitated by a host, usually the work space of our respective “of the Moment” leaders. In this case Nick Cave and Bob Faust graciously opened their new multi-disciplinary space, called Facility, to us. It’s not only home to all of their creative endeavors, but it’s also a “creative hub for other artists, artisans, designers and architects.” In other words, a community.
When outsiders inquire about Chicago’s creative life, it’s the word that defines us above all else. Community.
Look for Newcity’s March 2020 print edition at over 1000 Chicago-area locations this week or subscribe to the print edition at newcity.com/subscribe.
In this issue: