2012 is here, and it'll be blowing past us faster than we can imagine. Time flies no matter where you are, but when you're in the art world, you're usually thinking a season or two ahead, so we wanted to take the chance to think about about winter and the here and now while we could. Our January-March 2012 issue is out, and soon we'll be planning for April-August, see what we mean about the time flying by?
Our website is now packed with tons of information about new gallery shows, exhibiting artists, gallery specialities, galleries and spaces that are new on the scene, and more. Click through our pages to find what you're interested in already, or to discover what you might want to learn about in 2012. Also be sure to read the latest interviews with artists, collectors, and dealers. Above all, have fun and go out and discover all there is to see and do. Chicago can be a rough place in the winter, but not if you know where to go to stimulate your mind and keep your spirit warm!
Here is our list of places for you to start your 2012 art discovery:
• The winter gallery season opens on January 6 so if you're free, come check out the new shows and then hang around the districts for dinner with friends to chat about all you've seen. The shows will be up for awhile, at least until the next round of openings in February. If your new year's resolution is to see more art (we think it should be!) then this is the night to start. Of course, you can visit the galleries any time, but Friday night is the most social scene. The January 6 list may be found on our openings page, as well as the rest of the openings schedule for January-March 2012.
Gallery hoppers in Pilsen East for 2nd Fridays, taking place in the Chicago Arts District each month.
• Saturday gallery tours start up again on January 7 (and they don't take a break until Memorial Day since they happen every Saturday). The River North tours are always popular, even in the freezing cold, but we encourage you to make the trip to the West Loop in 2012 for a tour if you haven't yet. River North tours take place weekly, but West Loop visits are only every 6 weeks. Saturday afternoons are a great time to visit the galleries around Washington + Peoria and along Fulton Market, since the hubub of the Randolph restaurant scene is still in a quiet pre-dinner phase, and the meat packers playing frogger with their palette lifters aren't zipping around while you're trying to cross the street. These tours are FREE and they give you total access to dealers, and sometimes visiting artists. Many tour-goers have become regulars each week and some have also become collectors! The winter schedule of dates and participating galleries may be found HERE.
• Attend an open studio or weekend gallery walk. Free tours are great, but there are less structured ways to just grab your friends and dive into a neighborhood art center or studio building. Practically every neighborhood in Chicago has banded together by now to organize a regular monthly event. Check out our full list here, and make the trip to Bridgeport, Pilsen East, Oak Park, Crystal Lake, and beyond. Places like the Chicago Arts District, Lacuna Artist Lofts, Bridgeport Art Center, the Zhou B Art Center, and Lakeside Legacy in suburban Crystal Lake have been running these 1st, 2nd and 3rd Friday events for awhile, and they've gained a following!
• Visit a museum - one that you haven't been to before. Chicago is home to a lot of amazing smaller museums. We adore the Art Institute and the MCA as much as the next art-lover, but we also want more of you to check out the Block Museum, the Smart Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Elmhurst Art Musem, the Renaissance Society, the Driehaus Musuem, as well as out of state destinations worthy of a road trip, such as the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Brauer Museum of Art at Valparaiso University, and the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. Here is our long list of museums you should see. Our calendar of events lets you know what's on now.
• Attend an auction or a visit a market. Everyone loves treasure hunting, and Chicago has some outstanding resources for discovering art and antiques on the secondary market. Save the dates for some upcoming auctions at Leslie Hindman on Lake Street in the West Loop. Hindman's Marketplace Auctions (January 11-12) are fun for beginners, as basically, anything goes. You can rifle through eccentric collections or pick up unique furniture that just needs a little TLC in order to be perfectly at home in your house or apartment. Bidding in person or online raises the stakes for some competetive fun. You can preview the sale online in advance and also visit to see pieces in person during days leading up to the auction. On the market side, the Randolph Street Market is now taking place all year long! Don't miss the first Wonderful Winter Market February 4-5. Besides a lot of great things to admire and bring home, there's free parking and furniture delivery! Details here.
• Take an art class this winter. Seeing art more often is a great idea, but what about giving it a try yourself? You don't have to aspire to launch your own career as an artist, but you will most likely discover a range of pleasures that go along with learning a new skill and getting to be artistic in the company of others. There are several notable centers in the area where you can sign-up to learn any number of specialties. Give it a try this season! Below are some art centers to get you started, but there may be an organization in your neighborhood that has programs worth exploring as well. Whatever you do, be inspired and be creative!
Lillstreet Art Center Founded in 1975 and today located in a former gear factory in Ravenswood, Lillstreet has a range of classes + opportunities starting next week. Check out exhibitions and installations for inspiration, as well as visit several artist studios. Adult classes include metalsmithing + jewelry, painting and drawing, ceramics, textiles, glass, and more. Kids + family programs are also available. Lillstreet.com
Evanston Art Center + The Art Center Highland Park
On the north shore, the Evanston Art Center offers classes and workshops, for people of all ages and levels of experience, taught by professional artists. Register online for winter classes that begin January 9. Classes match any interest, from learning to make a cocktail hat, experimenting with lithography, exploring digital design, or navigating the business of art: marketing, ceramics, fashion, painting, and metal sculpture. Evanstonartcenter.org
The Art Center in Highland Park also offers classes and workshops in the visual arts, and they host regular gallery exhibitions, special events and performances for class members and faculty, as well as local artistic talent. Theartcenterhp.org