Open Hand Studio 2016Last week, CannonDesign’s Open Hand Studio hosted the sixth annual Meet & Match event in our Chicago office to provide opportunities to develop strong partnerships between design professionals and non-profit organizations. Over 100 Chicago-based non-profits and designers gathered to match needs to services with a goal of developing the critical connections necessary to moving our city forward.

The evening began by settling in with a drink and some delicious hors d’oeuvres from Inspiration Kitchens, a local restaurant and catering company who supports men and women overcoming homelessness and poverty through food service training programs that help them build better futures for themselves.

Open Hand Studio Speakers

Attendees heard three public interest design and engagement success stories from our partners: Alexis Stumpf and Kaitlyn Streyle, of the AIA Chicago Community Interface Committee, shared their stories of bringing design thinking to 8th grade students through the Architects in Schools program. Keith Rundquist, of Inner City Impact, discussed the collaboration with CannonDesign that came out of the first Meet & Match and helped them open a new community center for the kids Inner City Impact serves. Finally, our own Delia Conache shared the collaborative design process CannonDesign undertook with the Civic Consulting Alliance in redesigning the Cook County Central Bond Court.

Video Credit: – Staff videographers: Dino Zaigirdar and student Keliah Leato.

The evening’s focus was about expanding Open Hand Studio’s mission to the wider Chicago design community, by bringing design services to those who would otherwise lack access to them. Each attendee received Meet & Match business cards that pre-matched designers and non-profits based upon information the team gathered when attendees registered for the event. Non-profit and designer matrices allowed attendees to get a sense for everyone in attendance to match themselves and expand their networks even wider. The steam was also inspired by the provocative questions posed at Meet & Match 2012 in San Francisco and encouraged attendees to use our space and write down their ideas for transforming their neighborhoods and engaging their communities.

Open Hand Studio 2016

It was a very successful evening of sharing stories and making connections. We had to usher people out who were eager to keep talking for over the 3-hour event time, which is always the mark of a successful event. Thank you so much to everyone that was instrumental in planning the event for the past six months, And another big thank you to everyone who stepped up last week and made sure it went off without a hitch.

After the first Meet & Match was held in Chicago in 2010, it was exciting to once again bring together enthusiastic Chicago designers (architects, engineers, graphic designers, strategists, artists, policy makers) and local non-profit organizations together to commit to long lasting collaborations that can benefit these deserving organizations and our city. The team plans on continuing to follow up with attendees to be sure that our impact is measurable and continuous and that Open Hand Studio and CannonDesign become a catalyst for change in our Chicago communities. We can’t wait to see what exciting things we’ve helped start!

Learn more about Open Hand Studio >