In the heart of Chicago’s Bucktown, the Ivy Hall cannabis dispensary is already well on its way to becoming a neighborhood fixture after a hugely successful first year serving up top-quality cannabis products to locals and visitors in a chill, welcoming, and engaging “sensory dispensary” environment. We used that first year to build a reputation as a unique dispensary brand, a fun and friendly place to access the best cannabis products in Illinois. We pride ourselves on crafting a shop that is focused on community and building good relationships, and not just on getting as many paying customers as possible shuffled in and out the door. Here at Ivy Hall, we know that if we do the most important things successfully – focusing on people and our mission first – the sales will take care of themselves. So far, we’ve been proven right.
Now, we’re proud to announce that Ivy Hall Bucktown has also become the canvas for a groundbreaking collab between The Bettering Company and the acclaimed visual artist WRDSMTH. The natural synergy between this innovative edibles producer and a renowned street artist showcases how their partnership goes beyond a mere fusion of art and cannabis. In fact, it speaks to a never-ending global movement for positive change. Let’s break it down.
The Bettering Company: Revolutionizing Edibles
To understand where this cannabis-positive art project came from, we must start with the driving force behind it: The Bettering Company. As a progressive, LGBTQIA-owned organization, The Bettering Company strives every day to live up to its name, bettering the world as it simultaneously redefines the edibles market. That’s a mission Ivy Hall Bucktown can get behind, as we’re one of the very first social equity dispensaries to open in Illinois, plus a steadfast advocate of positive change throughout the cannabis industry and right here in Chicago.
Crafting a Better Gummy
Using a production process that focuses on simplicity and quality from end to end, The Bettering Company crafts luxury edibles from all-natural, organic ingredients, raising the industry’s bar for both taste and potency with each bag of gummies delivered to dispensary shelves.
With individual servings ranging from 2.5 to 5 mg and total package sizes coming in at either 50 or 100 total mg of THC, there’s a Bettering gummy for every shopper and every situation. Whether you’re looking to start a morning microdosing routine or equipping yourself for a big night out with the squad, you’ll find a unique option that suits your needs. Some preparations combine THC with other cannabinoids like CBN and CBD, while others are powered purely by high-grade THC-forward cannabis extract.
The Bettering Company: Better Gummy Options
We know that it often seems like every edibles manufacturer who slaps some mango or acai in their product claims to be “changing the game” with an “innovative” flavor lineup. But The Bettering Company’s cannabis chews actually live up to such claims, incorporating a range of inspired, gourmet flavors that are legitimately forward-thinking – and legitimately delicious.
Their flavorful offerings include these top treats.
This sweet and sour summer sip works wonders all year long when converted to cannabis gummy form. In this perfectly balanced treat, sour lemon and sweeter blackberry swirl together to wash away the pungent cannabis notes before they can overwhelm.
Blood Orange (1:1)
Blood orange is another great flavor for pairing with cannabis products because it isn’t overwhelming, yet the bright, citrusy notes do a great job of blending and softening those less agreeable “dank” flavors that come with the use of high-quality natural cannabis extract. The Bettering Company’s blood orange gummies also contain equal amounts of Cannabidiol (CBD) and THC. The addition of CBD tempers the psychoactive “high” brought on by THC and introduces the potential anti-inflammatory and gentle relaxation properties of CBD, making it a great morning supplement for regular therapeutic users.
Perhaps the most elevated offering on this menu, The Bettering Company really reached with this one, and it was a bold choice that paid off big time – not just for The Bettering Company’s product catalog, but for your tastebuds, too, A handful of 5 mg fennel fig chews would be just as appropriate on a plate of brie and fancy crackers as it would be at a music festival, hiking trip, or bedtime snack. If you’re a cannabis-loving foodie who really wants to push boundaries, you could even try incorporating the fennel fig gummies into a new twist on the classic holiday figgy pudding.
Hibiscus Chamomile Thyme (2:1)
For those who prefer to chew their nighttime cup of herbal tea, The Bettering Company presents their groundbreaking Hibiscus Chamomile Thyme 2:1 gummies, featuring a dose of sleep- and relaxation-promoting Cannabinol in addition to 5 mg of top-quality THC. Cannabinol, or CBN, is the subject of much emergent research into the therapeutic properties of lesser-known cannabinoids, and it is believed that combining CBN with other cannabis-derived substances like THC and terpenes can lead to a powerful “entourage” effect that is greater than the sum of its parts.
This fruity delight has a smaller dosage size, making it perfect for micro-dosing regimens for those who want to dose more precisely or progressively throughout the day. With 50 total milligrams of THC in a bag, The Bettering Company’s raspberry mandarin gummies are a great choice whether you’re stocking up for daily microdosing or grabbing a bag to share on a mellow night in. You’ll once again notice delicious citrus flavors being used to mask the pungent cannabis notes effectively.
Those who can handle the heat will want to reach for a package of The Bettering Company’s astonishing watermelon chili gummies. The combination of authentic watermelon flavors with zesty chili spice is like a more sophisticated version of some of our favorite Latin American candies. Just like the somewhat less challenging raspberry mandarin gummies, the watermelon chili version comes in the smaller 2.5 mg per chew dosage size.
The Bettering Company’s edible products are hard to beat just based on flavor choices alone. For us, though, it’s their unique company culture and steadfast commitment to “bettering” the cannabis world and the world at large that makes them one of our favorite vendors to collaborate with.
WRDSMTH: The Artist Behind the Installation
That brings us to the other crucial element of this story: none other than the artist himself. After graduating college, WRDSMTH – born Phil Brody – found himself stuck in the early days of a successful but unfulfilling advertising career. A leap of faith sent him to Los Angeles, and thus began his path to a career as an author, street artist, and advocate for positivity.
It wasn’t long before WRDSMTH’s unique blend of storytelling and aesthetics caught the attention of the art world, both underground and in the mainstream. Today, he has notable street art installations from coast to coast. Some are officially sanctioned, some are directly commissioned by property owners, and some are done on a more informal basis in keeping with the proud traditions of street art.
The WRDSMTH installation at Ivy Hall Bucktown caps a long line of these rebellious street art installations, not to mention an impressive multi-medium history that includes compelling prose work, high-profile commissions, and corporate collaborations. Even more strikingly, it stands as the most recent testament to a lifetime spent working for positive change through visual art, mixed media, and, of course, a good bit of wordsmithing. Best of all, WRDSMTH shows no signs of slowing down.
The Collaborative Installation: Merging Art with Edibles
By now, you may be beginning to understand how WRDSMTH’s artistic vision aligns so seamlessly with the mission, values, and aesthetics of an operation like The Bettering Company. This project goes beyond that obvious connection, marking a turning point in both WRDSMTH’s already-storied career and the long-standing narratives around cannabis culture.
The installation consists of two similar window murals, directly adjacent to one another but facing 90 degrees apart, each occupying its own window and separated only by the building’s brick corner. The murals are oriented vertically and feature large text in front of a white, rectangular background. It’s the background that gives the illusion of a sheet of typing paper, seemingly rising up from a vintage typewriter stenciled in color below.
- Mural 1: A blue typewriter below text reading “Let’s do better.”
- Mural 2: A yellow typewriter below text reading “Question yesterday. Improve today. Aim for a better tomorrow.”
Each mural also includes a tastefully implemented QR code alongside the typewriter, with text promoting The Bettering Company and the artist. This innovative element allows viewers to use their mobile devices to learn more about the installation as well as The Bettering Company’s world-class edible cannabis products. A limited number of prints celebrating the collaboration were also made available to celebrate the installation’s unveiling.
WRDSMTH’s Ivy Hall Installation Placed in the Context of His Body of Work
It is key to understand that this is far from the first time a typewriter has been featured prominently in a WRDSMTH installation. He uses this same typewriter silhouette on a regular basis, sometimes almost like a signature or brand logo, but other times as a main element, as in the murals at Ivy Hall. The other primary element of large text blocks in a serif, typewriter font, also appears repeatedly in his work. In fact, one of WRDSMTH’s largest works, 2018’s My Palette, located in Worcester, MA, consists of a three-story alphabet in this same font with a massive typewriter keyboard sculpture sitting in a garden area below.
Some other beloved WRDSMTH street art creations that also employ a prominent text block and feature an image of a typewriter read as follows:
- “Aspire to inspire others and the universe will take note.” – Aspire to Inspire, Los Angeles, CA (2016)
- “When life gives you lemonade, drink in the moment.” – Drink in the Moment, Beverly Hills, CA (2017)
- “Take a breath. Change the world.” – Take a Breath, New York, NY (2017)
- “When you’re a kid, you color with reckless abandon. You color outside the lines. You color however you feel. Blue elephants, purple trees, red bears, green oceans–it’s all good. As you get older, though, everyone tells you to stay inside the lines, to color everything just like you see it. You end up painting by numbers–whether you actually paint or whether you write or sing or dance or act or direct. I think you should create what you feel. Create outside the lines. I want to watch green oceans and red bears. I’d love to listen to purple trees. And I long to read blue elephants.” – Blue Elephants, Los Angeles, CA (2017)
- “Find your muse. Then hold on tight.” – Muse, Los Angeles, CA (2018)
- “Give it your very best every single day. And don’t be so hard on yourself come nightfall.” – Nightfall, Melrose, CA (2020)
The themes of radical positivity and gentle encouragement constitute a throughline that can be readily identified in just about all of WRDSMTH’s street art. But perhaps none of these pieces can sum up WRDSMTH and his message more concisely than another great mural located right here in Chicago: 2016’s Dream Bigger. In this large piece hosted at Lacuna 2150, the full text emerging from the typewriter reads simply: “Dream bigger.”
Symbolism & Significance
We believe the installation at Ivy Hall Bucktown does a great job of speaking for itself, just like most of WRDSMTH’s other work. The murals, when taken at face value, encourage general positivity and reflect some shared principles of WRDSMTH, The Bettering Company, and Ivy Hall dispensaries. The work not only beautifies our space and celebrates one of our cherished partners in the retail cannabis world but also serves as a catalyst for conversations about art, positivity, community, and cannabis.
While the message and purpose of WRDSMTH’s installation at Ivy Hall Bucktown is accessible to anyone who walks down the street and looks at it, that’s not to say its individual elements don’t warrant a closer examination. Like all good art, it has layers. WRDSMTH is by no means a newcomer to the art and messaging game, after all, and you can rest assured each aspect of the piece was chosen very thoughtfully.
Consider these thoughts:
- The text used in the pieces does not call for overanalysis and is typical of the sort of straightforward, powerful, and universal messages that work well for street art installations. The positive messages of “doing better” and “improving” are also directly tied to The Bettering Company’s mission, not to mention their name.
- The messages being “typed” on “paper” (rather than presented as some more modern form of communication) implies a lasting hard copy. Not only that, but it represents a hard copy created on a machine that, while seen as obsolete, was built to last in this era of disposability and planned obsolescence. This can be seen as a shoutout to the absolute timelessness of the two complementary but distinct messages in a world of fluid media narratives, fast-shifting social norms, and bad-faith “culture war” messaging.
- Similarly, the use of old-school vintage typewriters (and the associated font) as a primary motif for the installation not only alludes to the longstanding power of the written word – it also reminds us that this power can be wielded without relying on modern technology, smartphones, social media platforms, or mega-corporations. In this way, the installation can be seen perhaps as both a nod to the historical context of writing’s vast power as well as an instruction manual for the future. It’s a future that teaches us a means of pressing reset on an information landscape increasingly dominated by oppressive tech overlords with ulterior motives. This theme of returning to principles of simplicity and quality is also a nod to The Bettering Company’s gummy production process.
- The choice of blue and yellow for the only colors (other than black and white) used in the installation is also interesting. In a more recent geopolitical context, this color palette is heavily associated with the Ukrainian flag and has been adopted by many who are critical of military operations currently ongoing in that part of the world. In a way, this can be seen as subtly directing the demand to “do better” at specific groups who are currently contributing to destruction and pain in the world.
- Any visual artist would also be aware that yellow and blue combined make green. “Green” is, of course, one of many quaint throwback code words for cannabis used during the long era of cannabis prohibition. The color scheme could, therefore, serve as a hidden shout-out to the cannabis industry operators who commissioned and hosted the project.
Bettering Yourself with The Bettering Company’s Edibles
The Bettering Company’s mouthwatering edibles aren’t just a gummy indulgence. When used wisely, they can be a long-term tool for personal enhancement. From boosting productivity to facilitating creative output, natural pain relief, better sleep, or general relaxation, these exquisite cannabis chews offer cannabis lovers and curious first-timers alike a unique (and uniquely delicious) way to incorporate high-quality cannabis into a wellness routine or micro-dosing regimen.
Check out their innovative formulations (and take one more mouth-watering gander at those associated flavors while you’re at it):
- Blackberry Lemonade – 5 mg THC per piece, 100 mg total THC per package
- Blood Orange (1:1) – 5 mg THC, 5mg CBD per piece, 100 mg total THC per package
- Fennel Fig – 5 mg THC per piece, 100 mg total THC per package
- Hibiscus Chamomile Thyme (2:1) – 5 mg THC, 2.5 mg CBN per piece, 100 mg total THC per package
- Raspberry Mandarin – 2.5 mg THC per piece, 50 mg total THC per package
- Watermelon Chili – 2.5 mg THC per piece, 50 mg total THC per package
WRDSMTH and The Bettering Company at Ivy Hall Bucktown: A Convergence of Art, Community, and Superior Cannabis
It’s an understatement to say Ivy Hall Bucktown is proud to be the home of this positive, eye-popping art project by WRDSMTH and The Bettering Company. Customers can now start their comprehensive sensory dispensary experience even earlier by viewing world-class street art before they ever walk through our doors.
Come down to Ivy Hall Bucktown at your earliest convenience to take a look for yourself. While you’re here, stop in the store to experience the interior of our sensory dispensary, which is a bit of a gallery experience in its own right. Be sure to check out the full line of delicious new gummies by The Bettering Company and leave with a bag of your favorite flavor.
Whether you’re a seasoned cannabis connoisseur or a total newcomer to the world of edibles, you’re a part of the living story being told by The Bettering Company and WRDSMTH through this innovative art installation. This project isn’t just a simple reminder to be positive but instead a deep and lasting testament to the evolving culture of cannabis, where creativity, positivity, and community can intertwine to create something truly extraordinary. At the end of the day, that’s what Ivy Hall is all about.