Using his Business to Blend Chicago’s Wide Range of Culture
Businessman and sole owner of The Silver Room, 1442 N. Milwaukee, Eric Williams chose to step outside of his residence and stir up Chicago’s melting pot. The Silver Room is not only retail space for clothes and accessories but is utilized for visual and performing art, entertainment showcases, and now with a new in-store music bar, purchasing possibilities are endless.
The store hosted an opening to introduce their new music bar. Saturday, June 8, in collaboration with known music distributor, Groove Distributor, The Silver Room had an ever-growing selection of music with vinyl mixes and CDs. People came inside and while they shopped DJ Ron Trent scratched his own records at the DJ booth playing a blend of old school and modern funk with a hint of disco. Parts of the store are still under construction but that did not seem to bother anyone as people skimmed through the limited edition vinyl selection with one mix including A Tribe Called Quest and Pharcyde mash-up as well as a Samurai Champloo vinyl.
“Just one more aspect of the store I wanted to explore was music. I always play music in the store and people are always like, ‘oh what’s that playing?’ So what I have set up in the front [of the store] is just some headphones and [guests] can listen to all the CDs. It’s just another way to help share what we’re doing with music. We can just share what we like”, said Williams.
Located in Chicago’s Wicker Park area, a known haven for artists in the city, the Silver Room opened 15 years ago exhibiting works of talented local artists with a variety of talents; painting, illustration, photography, sculpture, fashion, music and more.
There was an assortment of paintings by cartoonists, John Jennings and Stacey Robinson. The “Who the Hex” comic illustrations by Chicago illustrator, Antonio Maldonado along with cartoons of his famous P.I. Jane character and some works by Griot Comics was on the walls. Some ethnic pieces and some very random pieces conjured up conversation among the customers that came inside the store.
Right in the middle of Chicago’s refuge to artists, The Silver Room opened in 15 years ago in Wicker Park. Williams said, “I knew the neighborhood was changing; there were a lot of artists in the neighborhood and it was like a real vibrant kind of energy so that’s why I moved here.” Williams knew these events were good for the store, but he genuinely enjoyed the art being showcased inside the store.
“I feel like this space can be used for a lot of different things. It’s not just a community Center, it’s not just a gallery, it’s not just a retail store it could be all of them. Why not use the space for everything; it’s to enjoy”, said Williams while helping customers who were considering his jewelry display.
In the past The Silver Room has been an open gallery for artwork of all types and the host of many workshops and open mic events. One of the Silver Room’s main events for a while was the “Grown Folks Stories” night where people came for the evening to tell some of their most intriguing stories.
Aside from the introduction to their new music bar, The Silver Room is preparing for its 11th Annual Sound System Block Party (on Evergreen and Milwaukee).
“[The Annual Sound System Block Party] is kind of an answer to all of the festivals that I saw. It was a need for something a little bit different it wasn’t one kind of music it wasn’t limited to just one specific area. I felt like it was something for the whole city so that’s why we do it.”
The event has music ranging from a wide stretch of musical genres, “It’s a conscious effort to have all kinds of music; Rock music hip-hop, house, salsa, house, and really a way to just bring people together so that’s kind of what the main focus is… Right now we’re still getting things together but I promise you it will be good; it’s always good. It’s diverse it’s fun; it’s a good time” Williams promised.
The Block party will happen on July 20, 2013; for more information check The Silver Room out on Facebook.
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