Logan Square has long been a center for the arts. Smallish and risk-taking music venues, independent coffee shops and hip but dive-y bars have helped to draw the artists and musicians that now call Logan Square home. What people haven’t realized is that Logan Square also is becoming a place where the arts meet commerce. Because of the local vibe and the collection of artists who live here, there’s an opportunity for this neighborhood to grow into a commercial hub. These are just a few stories of how arts and business are colliding in Logan Square.
Indirap Productions (@IndirapHD) is a video production and marketing company that has been around for more than four years. They’ve produced thousands of videos, emphasizing realism and trying to capture businesses as they “do their thing.” Whether it’s a bar downtown or a construction company, Indirap produces videos that capture the identity of their client and engage potential customers. Indirap is all about individuality, a place where employees are encouraged to be completely themselves, all the time. Their founder, Julian Tillotson, is more likely to be wearing an Iron Maiden T-shirt at work than anything with a collar. It’s this attitude and spirit that made them a natural fit for Logan Square.
Boulevard Records (@blvdrecords, PO Box 471761) is a boutique record label that started up just a couple of years ago. Specializing in Chicago bands and vinyl-only releases, they’ve released seven different bands already with plans for another five or six within the next year. Started by a few Logan Square locals, Boulevard Records bridges that interesting gap between commerce and art. They have no plans to try to expand and compete with bigger labels, but rather they’re interested in staying boutique, dedicated to vinyl and releasing bands and music that might not get the same publicity otherwise.
Quark Magazine (@QuarkZine) is a brand-new startup, literally less than a month old. Not long ago, Sam Kucharski found herself working a job she hated and not able to get the job she wanted. Along with Ryan Stemple, Kucharski created Quark Magazine, an online zine featuring science and tech, as well as arts and entertainment. Because they both knew several writers who needed an outlet, starting the magazine seemed like a natural fit. At a time when journalism jobs are incredibly competitive and hard to get, Kucharski and Stemple struck out to do it themselves, arguing that the best way to get paid to do something is just to do it. So far Quark has been steadily increasing in web traffic, and although they need more writers, the project has been an unqualified success.
These are just a few of the businesses cropping up in Logan Square, turning an artsy community into a neighborhood known for culture and commerce. Whether it’s the Boulevard Records crew signing clients at Small Bar, or a couple of the Indirap guys grabbing happy hour drinks at Telegraph, these are businesses dedicated to their local neighborhood and helping to keep Logan Square a neighborhood to watch in Chicago.