Flood’s Hall


Coming soon to Hyde Park

1508 E. 53rd Street, Chicago


Stay in touch!


Community Input

What do you want to exist in your neighborhood resource center?

What types of spaces, groups, and programming are missing in our area? 

(Submissions are anonymous, so if you want to get involved or have a question, leave your name and contact info so that we can respond)


Flood’s Hall is currently undergoing renovation, but we have big plans for when we open...

Flood’s Hall will be a safe and inclusive space that provides free access to collective resources, and contributes to Chicago’s cooperative economy landscape.

We will provide our own programming, but mostly aim to be a tent under which like-minded, independent groups can do their own thing, share supplies, and create partnerships amongst themselves.

Together with residents of Kenwood, Hyde Park, Woodlawn and the Southside writ large, Flood’s Hall will:

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Our goal is structural change, collaboration, mutual support, and the creation of networks that dismantle debilitating forms of separation, isolation and loneliness.

  • Provide multi-disciplinary programming

  • Promote financial wellbeing by breaking the cycle of predatory loans

  • Support local businesses, small enterprises and community groups

  • Advocate for workers’ and freelancers’ rights

  • Build true sharing economies, & house shared books, equipment, tools, technology and software

  • Foster an intentionally intergenerational, anti-sexist, and anti-racist community


Initially, Flood’s Hall will offer:

  • programming for teens

  • a zero-interest, payday-alternative loan program,

  • a small business loan program,

  • a library & equipment/supplies share

  • a community writing center: group classes for English language learners, workshops in various genres, peer tutoring

  • a public recording studio,

  • art classes of all kinds

(See “Get Involved” to help us expand our offerings!)



Our Space

Flood’s Block occupied the southwest corner of 53rd Street and Lake Park. Image from University of Chicago Special Collections, via the Hyde Park Herald.

Flood’s Block occupied the southwest corner of 53rd Street and Lake Park. Image from University of Chicago Special Collections, via the Hyde Park Herald.


We take our name from the 1874 building Flood’s Hall, part of Flood’s Block, which existed across the street from our space on 53rd Street. Flood’s Hall was one of the first spaces where community groups could meet for free, and where a public reading room was maintained.

The “new” Flood’s Hall will occupy the third floor.

The “new” Flood’s Hall will occupy the third floor.

Our short-term goal is simply to transform nearly 6,000 square feet of underused space with community input in a way that benefits our neighborhood and those surrounding it.

We hope to be fully operational by Fall 2019, with the help of Civic Projects—an architectural firm based just eight blocks south of us, in the Experimental Station—whose approach is hybrid and participatory, building teams and working collaboratively with community groups and organizations to develop solutions that revitalize and invigorate the neighborhoods and cities they serve.

Ultimately, we aim to carve out a hub for socially-minded groups that otherwise might have to work doubly hard to find space, materials, resources, and networks. Together we will build networks of reciprocity and create opportunities for meaningful social activity and organization.

Photo via Public Art in Chicago.

Photo via Public Art in Chicago.


Our logo is inspired by the local public sculpture "Destino" by Mark Di Suvero at 53rd and Lake Shore, for which Di Suvero has given us his blessing.



Get Involved

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*Fred Moten and Stefano Harney use this phrase in their book The Undercommons, meaning "studying with people rather than teaching them," and "studying with people in service of a project."

Do you have ideas for specific classes, workshops, gatherings, skill shares, actions, working groups, talks, etc. you'd like to see in your neighborhood? Send them our way!

Flood's Hall is a project built with and for its community*, so you play a critical role in making sure a wide variety of interests and skills are represented in our space.

Some ideas we have are:

  • Senior social center

  • Sunday morning cartoons & all-you-can-eat cereal

  • Voter empowerment/local politics teach-ins

  • Parent advocacy programming

  • Teachers Anonymous (support space for teachers)

  • Teachers Resource (to share materials/lesson plans)

  • Domestic Worker Alliance

  • Computer literacy classes for seniors

  • Monthly clothing swaps

  • Monthly (thematic) skill shares

  • Various apprenticeships

  • Coding workshops

  • Queer safe/brave spaces

  • (Arts) Mentorship Program

  • Books & Brews nights

  • Self defense classes

We are eager to grow our team, create partnerships, and help support other projects, so if you're excited by the prospect of a hub for mutual aid, get in touch. We'll find a way for you to create your own role within our project. 






We are indebted to the examples of so many movements, spaces and organizations, but want to shout out to a couple of especially inspirational local ones. Like them, Flood’s Hall aims to be a place for coherent and incoherent needs to be met along alternative economies that are built on genuine relationships.

The wonderful Living Room Cafe, in Woodlawn, was a place for people to gather for community events, substance use recovery meetings, and to volunteer. It was also a place to go for a free, hot meal in the neighborhood, served four times per week. The space helped members of its community become employed and permanently housed.

Photo of SHoP by Lizzy Szwaya

Photo of SHoP by Lizzy Szwaya


"Amnesia leads to despair in many ways. The status quo would like you to believe it is immutable, inevitable, and invulnerable, and lack of memory of a dynamically changing world reinforces this view...The other affliction amnesia brings is a lack of examples of positive change, of popular power, evidence that we can do it and have done it.

- Rebecca Solnit,

Grounds for Hope

Southside Hub of Production (SHoP, 2011-2014) was an independent community cultural center in Hyde Park. An initiative of Laura Shaeffer, John Preus, Mike Phillips, and Andrew Nord, SHoP was the outgrowth of The Op Shop (2009-2015), a roving autonomous zone utilizing empty storefronts on a temporary basis to foster community engagement, embodied learning and cultural production. Both projects were the public development of HOME Gallery (2007-2014), where Shaeffer used her home to exhibit artists and bring people together in an intimate setting around contemporary ideas and concepts in art. Shaeffer has been an important advisor to Flood’s Hall, and her current project Compound Yellow in Oak Park is a seminal partner and model.




If you are a small enterprise, freelancer, artist, or community-oriented enterprise (formal or informal) looking for free space to operate—or are just curious about what we are trying to build at Flood's Hall—we would love to hear from you!

Flood's Hall

A Community Resource Center



1515 E. 52nd Pl.

Chicago, IL 60615



Natalie Wright

Founder + Operations


Natalie is a caregiver, writer and educator in the neighborhood. She has cared for children of all ages, taught free ESL classes and creative writing workshops, and organized toward fossil fuel divestment and police accountability. She believes in marshaling humanistic skills toward civic engagement, and in getting to know one's neighbors. She’s completing a Master’s in English Education at UIC.


Mariel Martinez

Community Coordinator


Mariel is a Mexican artist based in Chicago. She's currently working towards her BFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she focuses on a variety of mediums including ceramics and performance. She lives in Hyde Park, which has inspired her to get involved in community arts and teaching. She's looking forward to collaborating with people across the community. Mariel likes tostilocos, cats, and dancing.