We are Ginger Brooks Takahashi and Dana Bishop – Root. Mick McNutt, AIA and GBBN Architects, Transformazium, Emma Hedditch, Louise Silk, Dean Daderko, MPA and our neighbors are also project collaborators.
General Sisters, General Store: the exchange of goods, nourishment & perspectives. General Sisters will be a place for creative commerce. Our key ingredients are agency, flavor, and conversation.
General Sisters is a General Store, open and wide, designed so that a shared space is formed shifting the emphasis from consumerism to that of producers and the possibility that all of us can be producers. The building a conceptual and experiential art space, open to the ways it may be experienced and interpreted by those who step inside. General Sisters will make use of color and formal design elements and redefined resources to communicate expansive thinking and emancipated grocery shopping.
The lot surrounding the building is currently a healing and gathering garden with perennial herbs and flowers. Two years ago,we built a new roof, learning as we worked. This is the spirit in which we bring General Sisters to life—working slowly through skill-sharing and building resources through relations.The store will sell bulk dry goods such as teas, pancake mixes, and spice blends crafted by the staff with the neighborhood and our particular environmental and economic reality as inspiration. The packaging will be reusable and printed by residents and artists at the nearby Neighborhood Print Shop. We will serve simple prepared foods such as egg sandwiches, coffee, pickles, and milkshakes (for the after-school crowd). North Braddock and its surrounding region is considered a food desert, so one basic aim is to make available nutritious food.
Currently our garden serves as a gathering space and in information sharing meeting ground. We offer a Winter Soup Subscription and a Summer Harvest Subscription as well as catering and meal planning services.
General Sisters is an example of a ‘Third Space’, a place outside of home and work where people congregate and engage in creative interactions. The visual culture of consumerism creates falsification of choice and deeper class stratification. General Sisters aims to radically shift this paradigm by building a visual language of choice, knowledge and creative decision-making. This will take on many forms such as packaging, scents, workshops, meals, economy, the writing on the walls, and what is grown in the garden.
The visual language of General Sister’s will be a mixture of aesthetics created by many people. Artists and residents will design packaging, one of the ways we will publicly explore notions around design, marketing and choice. While challenging the false notion of choice that consumer culture creates, we hope to cultivate community and creativity centered around healthy, local goods. In a place where economic disparity and scarcity has been the norm, General Sisters hopes to be a visual and living example of the abundance of social and artistic capital that we all have to exchange.
General Sisters is in honor of and in conversation with the work and lives of: Judith Butler, Audre Lorde, Wangari Maathai, Angela Davis, Vandana Shiva…the list goes on.