Sweet Water Foundation is a nonprofit organization based on Chicago’s South Side that practices Regenerative Neighborhood Development, a creative and regenerative social justice method, that creates safe and inspiring spaces and curates healthy, intergenerational communities that transform the ecology of so-called “blighted” neighborhoods.
Plan your visit
Visits to Sweet Water Foundation are by reservation only. Tours are available on Wednesday afternoons. Learn more and make a reservation to visit.
Mel Chin: Safehouse Temple Door
As part of Toward Common Cause, Sweet Water Foundation hosts two collaborative, site-specific projects that confront environmental pollution and its disproportionate impact on disinvested communities. Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle’s Hydrant, 41°47’22.662″ N – 87°37’38.364″ W, from the series Well, will be installed on the Sweet Water Foundation campus—known as The Commonwealth—as a means of drawing potable water and a site for gathering, conversation, and reflection. Hydrant, 41°47’22.662″ N – 87°37’38.364″ W directly engages questions of environmental racism, climate change, and the increasing scarcity of natural resources.
Nearby, Mel Chin will install Safehouse Temple Door, a functioning bank-vault door on Sweet Water Foundation’s Civic Arts Church—a community design center, central gathering and gallery space for workshops, field lessons, and events at The Commonwealth. The site will serve as one of several activation points for “Fundreds,” creative currency made by individuals across Chicago as part of the Chicago Fundred Initiative: A Bill for IL, a collaborative action focused on lead contamination in water, soil, and housing.
Sweet Water Foundation (SWF) utilizes a blend of urban agriculture, art, and education to transform vacant spaces and abandoned buildings into economically and ecologically productive and sustainable community assets that produce engaged youth, art, locally-grown food, and affordable housing.
Since 2014, SWF has created a series of urban acupuncture inspired installations and projects that actively re-story and re-construct a neighborhood located at the nexus of Englewood/Washington Park. Within 5 years, SWF transformed 4-contiguous city blocks into a place known as The Commonwealth—a real-word, physical manifestation of how built spaces reflect and impact understanding of the common and the collective. SWF’s practice of Regenerative Neighborhood Development, as demonstrated by The Commonwealth, offers a solution-oriented response that pushes the boundaries of blight and sheds light on the collective consciousness by making a new lived reality possible.