2022 Design
Impact Grants

The 2022 Grantees

Grant Recipient: Chicago Eco House/Southside Blooms

Chicago Eco House is an agricultural organization that uses sustainability to alleviate inner city poverty through a network of urban flower farms and a flower shop. Founded in 2014, the social enterprise has transformed over ten acres of vacant land into solar-powered flower farms, diverting thousands of gallons of rainwater to agricultural use and creating dozens of meaningful jobs for young people. Today, Chicago Eco House operates four eco-friendly farms throughout Chicago and one in Detroit. Their brick-and-mortar flower shop, Southside Blooms, processes the flowers grown at Eco House farms and sells them as bouquets, facilitating long term employment for Chicago’s youth and spurring economic development. Chicago Eco House will utilize the grant funding to expand its farmer-florist workforce development efforts in 2022 and engage more youth in the program.

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Special Recognition: Cabinet of Curiosity

Cabinet of Curiosity is composed of diverse project-by-project collectives who collaborate on original productions and unique community rituals utilizing sophisticated, highly-engineered devices and spectacle puppetry, along with community collaborations to develop unique interactive experiences. Their Pedal Powered Parable project is a design-based event using pedal-powered technology and an engineered mechanical screen to reveal vibrant hand-painted large-scale images that promote environmental awareness and celebrate triumph and resilience of community elders.

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Special Recognition: Aram Han Sifuentes

In collaboration with the HANA Center, artist Aram Han Sifuentes will develop a community NongGi making program. NongGis are Korean folk banners that lead cultural activities including festivals, gatherings, and rituals and serve as tools for political organizing. This project aims to empower Chicago’s multi-generational Korean, Asian American and multi-ethnic immigrant communities through the creation of art in the community with a shared goal to fight for immigrant and racial justice.

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Special Recognition: Mat Rappaport

Mat Rappaport's Range Mobile Lab (RML), is a field research platform built from a step-van and outfitted with a system to capture and project live video, Rappaport's RML project, Travel & Gather will map the historical borders of Chicago as it evolved, combining live-captured video of these boundaries mixed with data that excavate historic changes to demographics and housing values to highlight the transfer of generational wealth. Post-performance, the video is composed into meta-monuments; a series of murals placed on the borders and in a pattern that conveys a message to pedestrians passing through the space.

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Special Recognition: CCA Academy

CCA Academy is a charter school located in Chicago’s North Lawndale Community that provides students with a second chance to earn a high school diploma through a rigorous educational program, extracurricular activities, and support services. Their project, Soil Lab Ceramics Studio creates a community space to create art while learning practical building skills while exploring how art, the environment, community health and entrepreneurial opportunities are connected.

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Special Recognition: Good City Group

Good City Group is a collective of professionals from practice areas—including architecture, design, urban planning, education, community organizing, and environmental strategy— that addresses complex issues which shape our everyday experiences in Chicago. Centered on exploring inventive, equitable approaches to placemaking, urban design, and environmental justice at the hyper-local scale, Good City Group aims to create big impact for residents. Good City Group's proposed project, 'Props' will foster 'bridge builders' or connectors—both literally and figuratively—between people of different generations, cultures, and experiences, focused in the Devon area where many relationships between residents are transactional.

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Special Recognition: Lawndale Pop-Up Spot

The Lawndale Pop-Up Spot (LPUS) is Chicago’s first community museum in a refurbished shipping container. LPUS' Chicago Sukkah Design Festival will be a partnership with Could Be Architecture, Open Architecture Chicago, Stone Temple Baptist Church, and several North Lawndale community partners, recognizing a profound Jewish history in the North Lawndale neighborhood. Sukkahs are small huts that are traditionally built to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, a fall harvest festival that celebrates and welcomes guests into our communities. It will be a public exhibition with a participatory design process. It will spotlight the latent potential in sukkah tradition to inspire contemporary architectural design and to engage the public in discussions about radical architectural reuse.

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Special Recognition: Chicago Textile Week

Launched in 2019 by textile design and industry expert, Kathleen Neary, Chicago Textile Week (CTW) is a network of dozens of artists, designers, makers, and students throughout the city. In 2022, CTW is focused on becoming more equitable and accessible by maintaining free public programming with one free program each day of the week. They also plan to pay participating artists, independent venues, and administrators for their labor, host additional programs at three new locations on the city's South and West sides, grow participation to include over 1,000 attendees, and expand the CTW Steering Committee from the members to five, prioritizing racial diversity.

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Special Recognition: Nate Barksdale

Anxiety on public transportation is an issue that Nate Barksdale, a designer from the Southside of Chicago, has faced since he was a student commuting to Whitney Young High School. His proposed project, 'Meditative Transport' will seek to ease anxiety on public transit through the use of different ambient sounds and music to be played out loud in public transit spaces as background music. Singing bowls, melodic white noise, soothing frequencies, and more will populate the air waves in train cars, buses and waiting areas. Meditative Transport will aim to create a less stressful environment for Chicago’s commuters by designing their experience and positively stimulating their senses.

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Special Recognition: Design As Protest (DAP) Collective

Design As Protest (DAP) is a collective of designers mobilizing strategies to dismantle the privilege and power structures that use architecture and design as tools of oppression. Co-organized by designers of color across the US and internationally, DAP exists to hold our industry accountable in reversing the violence and injustice that architecture, design, and urban planning practices have inflicted upon Black people and communities of color. DAP's Anti-Racist Design Justice Index (ARDJI) is a transformative framework to seed change in design and the built environment.

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See the 2021 grantees

See the 2020 grantees