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The doors to Chicago’s finest places and spaces don’t unlock themselves. We'd like to introduce you to the passionate, enthusiastic people helping us put #OHC2015 together.

Teyonda Wertz is the Executive Director of South Shore Chamber, Inc., and she works to assist community retailers, property owners and residents to design and implement positive programs for the revitalization of the South Shore and Avalon communities. This year, she’ll be participating in Open House Chicago as South Shore Cultural Center’s site host.

South Shore Cultural Center's impressive spaces include a solarium, ballroom, theater and library as well as the Parrot Cage Restaurant. The marble, wood paneling, chandeliers and ornate details featured within hearken back to early 20th-century luxury and leisure, while the Center’s 58-acre grounds include a golf course, Chicago Police horse stables, a nature sanctuary and a beach. This year, in addition to experiencing the grandeur of the space, OHC visitors to South Shore Cultural Center will enjoy special programming for Chicago Artists Month, including two exhibitions and a performance. 

What’s your favorite part about this site? Why should people see it?

The ambience of the Cultural Center brings you back to days long gone. The gardens and structure have been impeccably maintained, and there are always activities going on, particularly creative endeavors with murals and other art and unique artifacts continuously on display. The Center’s lakefront location and all the amenities, like the golf course and nature sanctuary, make it such a distinctive space in the neighborhood. 

The Center is just one stop along the way to the Stony Island Arts Bank building, recently restored by Theaster Gates and his Rebuild Foundation, as well as the Regal Theater. These important restoration efforts help people envision what the future will bring and realize the results of the efforts put into this community.

What do you love about OHC?

OHC gives us such a wonderful opportunity to show off our community and the beauty of the neighborhood. This site is fortunate enough to have participated for three years now and we feel that this added exposure will help us grow and strengthen the local businesses along the strip. This event helps us shed a positive light on South Shore and lets us share our rich culture and improve community perceptions.

What is your favorite OHC experience?

Working with the people. Watching residents evolve based on their creative involvement in our community. The number of volunteers in this neighborhood increases every year and their passion and tenacity do so much to educate visitors about the diversity of South Shore.