Vans has been a household name for as long as I can remember. My mother used to rock their classic black and white checkered slip on’s when she was in high school in the 80’s. So naturally when I heard that the company was coming to Chicago to open up their third permanent location of House of Vans I couldn’t be more excited to see what they had in store.


The weekend of February 3rd and 4th was their official grand opening. On Friday night they had acts such as Noname, a local female rapper, Digable Planets, another hip hop ground, and Future Islands, a synthpop group from Baltimore. Along with the music for the night they also had a photography retrospective which included photos shot at other House of Vans locations by emerging photographers. The following day was filled with an array of workshops covering both photography and mixed media. The night ended with an community open house which allowed anyone to come and check out the space as well as allowed skateboards to finally have their wheels touch the ground inside of Chicago’s only indoor skatepark.

I was lucky enough to be able to attend the first night of their opening weekend and photograph the space. Open entry I could see the large room that was host to many of the photographs from their retrospective, all in black and white, and all showcasing the music that has come through these locations. Walking further into the space to the right they have a large wall covered in old skateboards that hang above the bar that was graciously donated by Goose Island here in Chicago! This is where the warehouse opens up into its main space where you can see the stage against the wall in front of you as well as some of the few skate features along the walls that are meant to pay homage to iconic skate spots on the west coast such as Lockwood and China Banks. After Noname was finished with her set members of the Vans skate team took the stage along with a speaker from their team that talked about what this space was meant to be. It is a place that is supposed to unite the subculture’s that Vans has always treasured, skateboarding, art, music. It is a place that people can come and enjoy themselves by either just hanging out or skateboarding during their open sessions. And something that I thought was particularly cool was the fact that all future events held there will be free, the only thing people will have to do is RSVP. Vans truly wanted to create a space for the community of Chicago and that is exactly what they did.

Below are some photos of the artists that preformed that night. Each one of them put on a fantastic set and we hope that you enjoy the photos.

Credit: Georgia Modi Photography