Help Tara Betts Buy a Community Arts Space!

"Conduct your blooming in the noise and the whip of the whirlwind."
-Gwendolyn Brooks

From Tara:
I've been looking for a building for at least two years before I happened to spot this building at 56th and State Street in Chicago's Washington Park neighborhood.  Washington Park is predominantly Black neighborhood that is home to several dynamic, small community orgs, at least three schools, and many wonderful stories that are not included in the larger narrative of the city. 

While dreaming out loud, I posted on Facebook that I would like to get this building so I can run classes and events and possibly host guest residencies for people who would like to do work in the neighborhood at what will become The Whirlwind Center. I'm also planning to partner and share this space with other community orgs and individuals that have already invested time, energy, and resources in the South Side. I was surprised and excited to see how many people believe and trust me to begin what will be an exciting development for a city that I love dearly.  Although I have been working in the arts for young people and people of color for 20 years, I think it's time for me to start a space that addresses needs with a new, more inclusive vision of, for, and with long-time South Side residents. 

Here are some of the things that I'm envisioning:
-writing workshops and book clubs
-literacy classes
-cooking demos
-dance classes
-tax prep sessions
-doula training
-technology education for young people (coding, building computers, etc.)
-and a space that would be available for small, intimate cultural events and family celebrations. 

I am asking for your help in purchasing this property and making small renovations. We've already begun steps to purchase this property and talked to investors. If you don't have access to money that folds, jingles, or swipes, please share this campaign widely on social media. If you help get us there, I'll be happy to celebrate when the doors open for our launch celebration.  


From the Board:
When we came across Tara's Facebook post, we shared in everyone's immediate enthusiasm for this very achievable goal: to bring more community arts and services to Washington Park, led by the genius and love of Dr. Tara Betts. 

As witnesses of her work in the fields of literature, education, editorial work, and community organizing, we know that she will indeed WORK! We are asking you join us as we support Tara in doing all that she does best in her soon-to-be home of Washington Park, its surrounding neighborhoods, and the South Side.

Our goal for a 20% down payment is $50,000.

However, in our collective support with you, we can go further. Join #teamnomortgage! We can do this! Let's do this together for Tara and The Whirlwind Center (#WhirlwindCenter).

L.D. Barnes
Nikki Patin
Aurelius Raines II
Jennifer Steele 
Nell Taylor
  • Anonymous 
    • $35 
    • 3 mos
    • $25 
    • 3 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 5 mos
  • Lori Rader-Day 
    • $100 
    • 5 mos
  • Dana Hennessey 
    • $50 
    • 5 mos
See all


Tara Betts 
Chicago, IL
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