The Crusader Newspaper Group

The New 411: Sock Hop!

By Raymond Ward, Chicago Crusader

SOCK HOP!: Rebuild Foundation, a platform for art, cultural development, and neighborhood transformation will present its 2017 Annual Benefit, Sock Hop: A Night with Rebuild Foundation and Friends, featuring a special screening of Arthur Jafa’s film, “Love Is The Message and the Message Is Death,” as well as a musical performance by critically acclaimed artist Meshell Ndgeocello. Sock Hop will also kick-off Rebuild Foundation’s Retreat for Black Artists, a weekend of programming that runs from September 15 – 17. In addition to the celebration, the Retreat is a three-day event featuring keynote speakers, breakout sessions, public activities, and private events. This weekend takes place during EXPO CHICAGO and the opening of the Chicago Architecture Biennial.

Sock Hop will take place on the evening of Friday, September 15, at the St. Laurence School, 7200 S. Dorchester Ave., and all proceeds benefit the artistic, cultural and educational programs of Rebuild Foundation.

“The Annual Benefit is something we look forward to all year. It’s a celebration of Black art and culture and highlights the major accomplishments of Rebuild Foundation over the past year,” said Theaster Gates, Rebuild Foundation and Executive Director. “It is also a renewed commitment to all ambitious and entrepreneurial work being done to meet the economic and cultural challenges in our neighborhoods. We’re also thrilled to have renowned artists like Meshell and Arthur supporting our cause. It’s going to be an exciting evening.”

Artist, director and award-winning cinematographer, Arthur Jafa’s film, “Love Is The Message and the Message Is Death,” will be screened during the event. “I want to make Black cinema with the power, beauty, and alienation of Black music,” said Jafa. “Rebuild Foundation provides Black artists with the tools and opportunities to create projects with parallel goals, so I’m very excited to be a part of that.”

A highlight of the evening will be Meshell Ndgeocello’s musical performance. “I think the evening will exemplify the joy and power of creativity and purpose — and I can’t wait to be a part of it,” stated Ndgeocello.

“Bringing together artists and innovators to share in the love of creativity and extending that fellowship outside, to strengthen communities through free arts programming, create new cultural amenities, and develop affordable housing and work spaces make sense and makes the work,” said Ndgeocello.

Dorchester Industries’ work, which has grown out of Rebuild’s workforce development initiatives, will be featured at EXPO CHICAGO. Born out of a deep commitment to activating unharvested materials and creating job opportunities on the south and west sides of Chicago, Dorchester Industries is a pilot project of Rebuild Foundation that uses the city’s ash trees, brick, and other materials to create functional and beautiful furniture, objects and public spaces. Initiated by Theaster Gates, “the goal ultimately is to create new economic generators on the south and west sides of Chicago and to build strong creative businesses that demonstrate the capacity and creativity of Black people.

For more information on Rebuild Foundation and/or The Sock Hop, visit

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