September 18, 2012

Chicago Artists Month Kicks Off With Bridgeport “Block” Party, October 5

Featured Artists and Events Highlight the Month of October

Cindy Gatziolis    312.744.0573

The 2012 Chicago Artists Month (CAM) celebrates “Art Block by Block” with an opening night event taking place on three separate blocks in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood.  The Bridgeport “Block” Party is Friday, October 5 at the Bridgeport Arts Center (1200 W. 35th St.), the Co-Prosperity Sphere (3219-21 S. Morgan St.) and the Zhou B Art Center (1029 W. 35th St.).  Free trolleys are available to make easy travel between locations.

Three of CAM’s featured artists will take center stage on this evening starting with Dobrila Pintar of Eleven Eleven Jewelry whose exhibit at the Bridgeport Art Center will include glass beads and small sculptural pieces, as well as SMALL Furniture and Functional Objects showroom.  Sergio Gomez, Curator and Director of Exhibitions at the Zhou B Art Center will exhibit his acrylic works of the human form at Zhou B.   The Co-Prosperity Sphere will celebrate the opening of “Flash Mobbed and Dolloped, which showcases paintings and illustrations by Ian Ferguson a.k.a. hydEON.

While many of the featured artists are Chicagoans, some, like Ferguson have selected the City as their home and workplace. “I have chosen to live and work in Chicago for one reason: I am compelled by the architecture here.”  Ferguson is a recent transplant from the West Coast stating, “I developed a fascination for the level of detail and brickwork in old Chicago architecture.”

A featured event is “20 Neighborhoods” which opens in the Woman Made Gallery (686 N. Milwaukee Ave.) on October 5 – 31 and is a project that unites women from 20 different neighborhoods including featured artist Victoria Martinez.   An interdisciplinary artist, whose work incorporates the urban environment, Martinez shares some of her creative process. “I go to marketplaces in Pilsen and other neighborhoods for materials.  I also like going to thrift stores and finding whatever I can find.”

Martinez isn’t the only featured artists to find the roots of their artistic pieces in thrift shops. Featured artist Jeremiah Lee, whose cigar box guitars are not only acoustically sound but also visually stunning, states, “If I find a really great trinket, it might be the design inspiration for my entire piece.”

His exhibition, “Deco-Sonic: Handcrafted Cigar Box Guitars” open this Friday and continues through October 20 at the Packer Schopf Gallery (942 W. Lake St.) and includes a performance on October 13 at 3 p.m.

Artists Seana Higgins and Anne McNamee met as six-year-olds on the swings at Hayes Park on the southwest side, and both grew up to be practicing artists and arts educators.  These two featured artists will lead a one-day workshop exploring the intersections of place and identity entitled “I Am From: Identity through Exploration of Place” at the South Chicago Art Center (3217 E. 91st St.) on Saturday, October 13, 1-5 p.m.

“When I started to look at why I was interested in this idea of place, I realized it really cam back to Chicago – back to an interest in Neighborhoods. I grew up on the South Side of Chicago. Both of my parents also grew up on the South Side, and their parents before them.  Chicago holds my history,” said McNamee.

Chicago’s streets hold the art history of featured artist Hebru Brantley, a Bronzeville native who uses a variety of surfaces and media including wood, coffee and tea and draws influences from pop culture icons.  The exhibition, “Street Images: the City Speaks through Art” begins on Sunday, October 21 with an opening reception and continues through Saturday, December 8 at Trinity United Church of Christ (400 W. 95th St.). The opening includes a panel discussion called “Demystifying Public Art” which begins at 2:30 p.m.

On October 20, SHoP (Southside Hub of Production) will host a full day of projects, exhibition, conversations and skill sharing with “Informal Art Education and Community Learning”.  SHoP (5638 S. Woodlawn) is a model for a local independent cultural center whose main aim is to creatively engage with the surrounding neighborhood through the arts.  Leading the conversations will be CAM Featured Artists John Preus and Laura Shaeffer who co-founded and curate the center, and lead a range of community programs along with collaborator Jim Duignan.  Hours are 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.

“With the [SHoP], we are trying to look at what is lacking in our neighborhood and address what is lacking creatively.  We’re also trying to propose that this kind of artist activism could happen in everyone’s neighborhood,” said Shaeffer.

A complete list on the 12 Featured Events follows.  For more information on them and the CAM Featured Artists and all of the events and exhibitions for Chicago Artists Month, visit  Pick up the Chicago Artists Month Official program guide in the September 27 issue of Time Out Chicago.  Programs will also be available for free at the Chicago Cultural Center Visitor Centers and participating organizations.

Chicago Artists Month is presented by the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.  Additional support is provided by 98.7WFMT and WTTW11, Chicago Gallery News and the Chicago Artists’ Coalition.  The official dining partner of Chicago Artists Month is Lettuce Entertain You® Enterprises, Inc. 

“Chicago Sculpture Exhibit”

Thirty large scale outdoor sculptures by Illinois artists are displayed throughout North Side neighborhoods in this 11th annual sculpture exhibit (formerly known as the “Lakefront Sculpture Exhibit.  Participants include CAM Featured Artist Andrew Arvanetes who uses bronze, mild steel, stainless steel and wood to create playfully absurdist sculptures featuring mechanical and architectural details.

Various sites (773.525.6034,, Edgewater, Lakeview, Lincoln Park, Wicker Park/Bucktown, free.

Through May 15, 2013


“Deco-Sonic: Handcrafted Cigar Box Guitars”

Jeremiah Lee’s practice focuses on resourcefulness and transforming the overlooked into something beautiful. Gathering materials from alleys, hardware stores, junk shops and tobacco shops, the CAM Featured Artist creates cigar-box guitars.  He designs the body of the guitar, inspired by Art Deco and design trends of the 1930s and then handcrafts additional instrument hardware and ornamentation out of exotic hardwoods, nickel and brass.

Packer Schopf Gallery, 942 W Lake St (312.226.8984,, West Town, free. Through Oct 20.

• Live cigar-box performance featuring works in the exhibition, free. Oct 13 at 3pm



An afterimage is an optical phenomenon that persists in one’s field of vision even after exposure to it has ceased. The 24 contemporary artists in this exhibition, including CAM Featured Artist Selina Trepp, are of a generation after Imagism. They work, as the Imagists did, in many media: painting, drawing, animation, sculpture, comics and music.

DePaul Art Museum, 935 W Fullerton Ave (773.325.7506,, Wrightwood Neighbors, free. Through Nov 18.


“The Installation Experiment”

A group of Chicago-based artists have created installations in seven storefront galleries along the 1800 block of South Halsted Street. The exhibition, lit 24 hours a day, is visible from the sidewalk; the public is invited to view the installations anytime during the exhibition’s run. Among the participants are CAM Featured Artists and collaborators Chelsea Culp and Ben Foch whose piece is a set of ceramic, glass and found-object totems secured on small motors.

Chicago Arts District, 1826–43 S Halsted St (312.738.8000, ext 108,, Pilsen, free.

Through Oct 31.


“Preston Jackson: Seeing Beyond”

CAM Featured Artist Preston Jackson creates bronze reliefs, three-dimensional figurative work and freestanding monumental sculptures. In this exhibition, his sculptures depict neighborhood images, expressive characters and everyday situations.

Cliff Dwellers Club, 200 S Michigan Ave, 22nd floor (312.922.8080,, Loop, free. Oct 1–Nov 2.

  • Opening reception. Oct 3, 5:30–7:30pm.
  • Artist’s talk, free. Oct 10 at 6pm.

 “AREA: A Survey Show of Logan Square and Avondale Vicinity Artists”

Sponsored by Hairpin Arts Center and the TRANSIT residency program, this exhibition features the innovative work being produced by artists working across the Logan Square and Avondale areas. Among them is CAM Featured Artist Mary Ellen Croteau who, with wit and humor, addresses the absurdities of social norms. She makes everything from installations to artist books and uses a variety of media, including traditional painting, photography, Xerox and assemblage.

Hairpin Arts Center, 2800 N Milwaukee Ave, second floor (773.782.9471,, Logan Square, free. Oct 4–27.

  •  Artist’s talk, free. Oct 14 at 2pm

“20 Neighborhoods”

Partnering with 20 Chicago neighborhood, arts-based, community-based and housing organizations, Woman Made Gallery presents an exhibition based on Chicago women’s individual and collective experiences and aspirations for their homes, families, neighborhoods and communities which includes CAM Featured Artist Victoria Martinez.

Woman Made Gallery, 685 N Milwaukee Ave (312.738.0400,, River West, free. Oct 5–31

“Lawrence Avenue Book Piling”

North Branch Projects is an independently run project space specializing in book arts. At this event, the general public can help fold, stitch and glue covers for handmade books.  Event includes a series of presentations, demos and performances celebrating the cultural spaces that make up the diverse neighborhood of Albany Park. CAM Featured Artist Regin Igloria, who facilitates the event, founded North Branch as an outlet for exploring the creative process in a neighborhood where few resources for the arts exist.

North Branch Projects, 3550 W Lawrence Ave (, Albany Park, free. Oct 13, noon–7pm.


“I Am From: Identity Through an Exploration of Place”

What stories can we tell through the places we’re from? How are our perspectives shaped by the Chicago neighborhoods where we live, work and play? Participants of all ages are invited to attend this one-day workshop delving into the theme of identity through an exploration of place. Join CAM Featured Artists Seana Higgins and Anne McNamee in creatively probing the intersections of place and identity. Art-making activities include collage and storytelling, as well as a multimedia exhibition of the pieces made during the workshop.

South Chicago Art Center, 3217 E 91st St (773.731.9287), South Chicago, free. Oct 13 at 1pm.


 “Informal Art Education and Community Learning”

The Southside Hub of Production (SHoP) hosts an exhibition and a full day of projects, conversations and talks, with an emphasis on the topics of creative neighborhoods and skill sharing. Community members, artists, educators and students who’ve worked at SHoP will lead these conversations. CAM Featured Artists John Preus and Laura Shaeffer cofounded and curate the center, and lead a range of community programs along with collaborator Jim Duignan.

SHoP: Southside Hub of Production, 5638 S Woodlawn Ave (773.710.5464,, Hyde Park, free. Oct 20, 11am–11pm.


“Street Images: The City Speaks Through Art”

The exhibition explores the works of black public artists/muralists and their relationship to the culture, spirit and energy of Chicago. All of the artists have a connection to the local street-art scene, including CAM Featured Artist Hebru Brantley, a Bronzeville native who uses a creative process akin to free-form journaling, incorporating wood, spray paint, coffee and tea.

Trinity United Church of Christ, 400 W 95th St (773.962.5650,, Princeton Park, free. Oct 21–Dec 8.

  • Opening reception and Artist’s talk “Demystifying Public Art.” Oct 21 at 2:30pm.

 I Want To