Chicago Love Stories: Comfort Station

February 8, 2017

To celebrate love, happiness, and flowers here in Chicago, we at Flowers for Dreams are bringing you another year of Chicago Love Stories. In the past, we have looked at couples with small businesses and even your favorite Instagram pairs, but this Valentine’s Day, we’re featuring those involved with non-profits.

In the heart of Logan Square, you’ll find Comfort Station, a non-profit, multidisciplinary art space that is open to all ages, all genders, promotes an intersection of diverse Chicago communities and fosters new connections between them. “Early on it seemed self-evident that, as a historically public space, Comfort Station needed to be relevant to diverse segments of our surroundings instead of just being a place for one particular subset. The fact that Logan Square has been a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood is a big part of this. So our vision of being an intersection is less a description of what we have been successful at and more of an aspiration of what we want to be always moving toward,” said Jordan Martins, director of Comfort Station.

Jordan, Angela, and baby Hattie

Jordan and his wife, Angela Watkins, met when they were attending a small liberal arts college. They both were in the same social circle, and throughout their college years, the pair got to know each other through good conversations and consoling one another. While they never dated during their time in school, Jordan and Angela reconnected a year and a half after graduation and realized the love they had for each other. The two just welcomed their first daughter, Hattie, into their family about eight months ago. “…Hattie’s birth at home was pretty stellar. We were sitting down eating in our dining room one night and then 12 hours later there was suddenly a baby entering the world in that same room,” Jordan said when recalling his daughter’s birth. When they get out and about, they love checking out the experimental jazz and improvised music community in Chicago and are involved in other organizations that galvanize particular artistic communities such as Chicago Artists Coalition, Links Hall, Experimental Sound Studio, The Arts Incubator, Elastic Arts, the ACRE residency, Nightingale Cinema and so many others.

“I’m still learning the ropes of actually running a non-profit, since when we started we were very informal and grass roots and now we’re a more formal enterprise. But in my experience it all boils down to having a clear vision for what our mission is and how we can collaborate with others–whether with partner organizations or our generous community of volunteers–to bring that to life.”

“I love the way the film series brings in such a wide range of work (locally and internationally) and connects our viewers with very surprising visions of what film can be. I’m biased toward the music series since I had a hand in starting it, but what is so great about it is the unique acoustics of the space and how the different performers activate it. And when I look back at the exhibitions we’ve had over the last six years I’m still blown away by how innovative and audacious so many have been in adapting to our very peculiar space”