At Home with Charlie Branda

I interviewed Charlie Branda, a resident of Chicago's Old Town neighborhood, in November of 2014. I met her as a volunteer with Architecture for Humanity. Charlie is working to create a community art center in Chicago’s, Old Town neighborhood. She would like for there to be a space where everyone in the neighborhood is welcome and place where neighbors can meet and get to know each other. I was always very impressed by Charlie's dedication to improving her neighborhood and was very excited to talk to her about about her home. I learned during the interview that Charlie grew up in Anchorage, Alaska, and why she was drawn to Chicago, after going to college in the suburbs of Chicago in the early 1990s.

Charlie sees her home as a place where you can feel any feeling you experience, a safe place to feel happy and sometimes sad. She recognizes the complexities and difficulties that exist in many of Chicago's neighborhoods. In parallel to the complexity that Charlie notices and experiences in her community, she had many happy things to say about her home and sharing that home with her family. Charlie talked about a number of special places in her home; I was particularly moved by the way she talked about spending time in the warm seasons on the trampoline in their backyard. She said that when she is sitting on the trampoline, she feels “ like this is the little patch of earth where i belong,” what a wonderful way to describe the feeling of home. So, I made a painting of the view you have laying on the trampoline in Charlie’s backyard and the patch of sky framed in that spot. Thanks for stopping by!

Special thanks to Stefano Vita for use of his music in the audio recording.