This past summer, the sidewalk was jumping outside The Silver Room, a jewelry, art, and accessories store in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood. One night, a short film by a local filmmaker danced across a screen in the window. A jazz band, guitarist, and pianist performed. On warm evenings, 30 or 40 neighbors would wander by and pause for a socially distanced minute to watch.
The entertainment is small potatoes next to Sound System Block Party, The Silver Room’s annual music and arts festival. In normal times–which these are not–that event packs in tens of thousands of celebrants from around the city. But founder Eric Williams views his mission as “providing human connection,” and he won’t give that up, even for a pandemic. The small performances “create moments of emotion and energy,” says Williams. “People really enjoy it.”
Inc. first wrote about The Silver Room during Small Business Week in 2018,