That's good news for the mostly furniture-makers and artists who have carved out a warren of studio spaces throughout the building. The joy of wandering a place like Dock 6 is the potential to come across someone truly extraordinary. I found two, both musical.
Mark Shuldiner lives and breathes harpsichords. The 16th century is alive and well and making beautiful music on city's Northwest side. Who knew? Not only is Shuldiner a well-respected musician (one of a handful of professional harpsichordists in the US), but he also builds and restores instruments. It is a rarefied field, but the laws of supply and demand are on his side. With two-years worth of work on the docket, that's job security, no coding skills required.
His wife, trained as a medical illustrator, paints the interiors of his harpsichords so that when the top is opened for performance, there is something lovely to see. This is an old tradition. Would that when I opened my computer, the keyboard was a work of art.
Around the corner from Shuldiner, I found Joe Rauen, a one-man band of his own invention who also paints instruments. Rauen's studio is in Munster, Indiana, so he was special guest for the Open House. First he played something that looked like a cartoon cello, then strummed a pink ukulele-banjo with atomic accents. From tennis rackets to forks, Rauen sees musical potential everywhere. Add a looping machine and it's hours of fun.
As marvelously wacky as Rauen's instruments are, they really do make serious music. Will an atomic ukulele-banjo become the next harpsichord? Maybe not. But the harpsichord, like every instrument, was invented by someone.
• Rook | Early Music Ensemble | website
• Harpsichord | Wikipedia
• Modern Harpsichord | WFMT | podcast