Back to All Events

Annual Blackstone Summer Block Party at Experimental Station


Annual “Blackstone Summer” Block Party at Experimental Station
Friday, August 16th, 3-8PM (Rain date Saturday, August 17th, 3-8PM)
Free - All ages!

On Friday, August 16th from 3 pm to 8 pm, on the block of Blackstone Avenue at 61st Street in Chicago, the Experimental Station will be hosting its annual “Blackstone Summer” Block Party, collaboratively produced by Youth for Black Lives, the Backyard Series, Blackstone Bicycle Works, and Porscha James“PrivatetheBrand” Back-to-School Project. The rain date is Saturday, August 17th, 3-8PM.

Join us for this fun and safe Woodlawn community event with live music, free food, skill-share workshops, kids haircuts and activities, community resources, and a school supply giveaway.

EIGHT PERFORMANCES: Synergy Collective, Ano Banks, Maushea, Kari, Christian JaLon, Legendary, DJ Ron Ron, and DJ Nephius

SIX WORKSHOPS: Agape Luv on identity, Sexpectations on denouncing gender roles, Chef Kennedy on making healthy snacks, Nile Lansana with Rebirth Poetry Ensemble on poetry, Stillwell Institute on theater games for life, Izzy and Anai Akuei on fashion photography

ACTIVITIES AND INFO: Youth For Black Lives (zine-making), Blackstone Bicycle Works (bike safety checks), Fortune House (surveys) Queer Initiative (button-making), Period Packs and Feminine Care, Carnegie Elementary (robotics), Stillwell Institute for Contemporary Black Art, Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago, Major Taylor Cycling Club of Chicago, Banks Performance Project, Clif Bar, and Experimental Station.

Kids Corner featuring FREE school supplies, face-painting, friendship bracelets, and haircuts by professional barber, Ano Bank$. Free hot dogs (veggie and meat) and local vendors selling their food.

The Blackstone Summer Block Party invites people of all ages, from Woodlawn and surrounding neighborhoods, to participate in workshops and activities, share food together, and listen to good music in a free, safe, inclusive, and engaging space. A focus of the event is to provide resources and learning opportunities for youths. The block party prioritizes youth, Black, POC, femme, non-binary, and queer leadership (organizers, workshop leaders, performers, etc.) in order to ensure the space is welcoming and inclusive while creating visible platforms for underrepresented voices. 

A centerpiece of the block party is Youth for Black Lives’ workshop model featuring 30-minute skillshare workshops for youths and adults led by Black women, transgender, and gender non-conforming people. Their workshop model directly challenges the power structure between teacher and student while validating the knowledge of workshop leaders. They are cultivating networks of information outside of traditional educational institutions that often exclude marginalized viewpoints. Yahaira Muyea Tarr, a co-organizer of Youth For Black Lives, states “It’s pertinent that the public learns from Black voices, especially young Black voices. My generation is the most capable of articulating the trickled down trauma that ensues from racism. We are consistently undermined and ageism affects our ability to translate our truths, stories, and passions in a safe and comfortable environment. Creating those spaces and that dialogue is crucial to the movement, especially in this time of mobility.” 

The Backyard Series will also offer POC-led workshops and hands-on learning activities led by professional and d.i.y. photographers, models, poets, painters, and artists. Musicians and poets will perform throughout the event, featuring emerging Black and POC artists from Chicago. 

A special showcase will feature the all-women performers and producers of the hip-hop album, Synergy, with students from their hip-hop technique summer camp

Blackstone Bicycle Works will be promoting their youth education program and community bike shop by offering bike and helmet fittings, safety checks, and more. 

Free hot dogs, veggie dogs, and snacks will be available for guests to enjoy, and vendors will have locally made food for sale.

To help provide underserved youths the essential supplies needed for the upcoming school year, the block party will feature a school supply giveaway organized by Ano Banks (Backyard Series) and Porscha James (PrivatetheBrand). Additionally, Ano Banks, a professional barber, will offer FREE kids back-to-school haircuts. 

Community groups will be on hand to share resources they offer for youths and families. Among them, Maushea House (Backyard Series) will be offering vaginal health tips and period packs. 

Together, we want to celebrate the end of Summer and the start of a new school year with local youths, families, and community members through a fun, educational, and fulfilling gathering. 

For more information about the block party:

  • Visit the event FB event page

  • Contact Youth for Black Lives at or 773-850-0256

  • Contact Matthew Searle, Assistant Director, Experimental Station at or 773.241.6044.

About the partnering organizations:

Youth for Black Lives, who organized last year’s event, is a teen-femme led organization which amplifies the voices of young people within the Black Lives Matter movement. Y4BL also strives to provide opportunities for young people to reclaim their voice through the power of education. 

The Backyard Series is a platform for artists to come together in an interdisciplinary capacity for elevation. By combining Chicago networks, The Backyard Series offers an experience to look back on for the artists, the guests, and for all future opportunities. 

Blackstone Bicycle Works uses bicycle advocacy, mechanics, cycling, and business operations to create an inclusive community centering Black youth. 

Porscha James is a community organizer who creates school supply drives under “PrivatetheBrand” name.

Synergy, organized by Jovan Landry, is a Chicago based album that supported over 50 women and femme identified artists from Chicago music, film, photography, and graphic design scenes, and is the embodiment of women empowerment & collaboration.

The Experimental Station is a non-profit working to build an independent cultural infrastructure in the Woodlawn neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago. It is home to the 61st Street Farmers Market, Blackstone Bicycle Works, Link Up Illinois, Build Coffee, City Bureau, Civic Projects, the Invisible Institute, and the South Side Weekly. 

Earlier Event: August 10
August 10th Farmers Market
Later Event: August 17
August 17th Farmers Market