Brave New Art World, bravenewartworld.com
The art world can seem like an intimidating place. Galleries can have a particularly exclusionary feel, like immaculately tended gardens seen from the other side of the hedge. But as part of the cultural ecosystem, art needs us as much as we need it. And in order to achieve that symbiosis, there can be no perception of barriers. Enter Claire Molek: generational ambassador, intrepid gallerist, and all-around ball-busting iconoclast. She developed the idea for Brave New Art World while serving as director and cofounder of Hauser Gallery, and the best way to describe her mission is to say that Molek's throwing a party—and we're all invited. A monthly event, Brave New Art World features a gallery crawl, performance art, artist talks, and snacks from "cultural partners" like Lagunitas and Japonais. Molek's goal is to attract people from all walks of life to River North, the traditional epicenter of the local arts scene, and dispense with any preconceived notions we may have about galleries, art, or each other. In the Brave New Art World, there are no hierarchies, no stereotypes, no cliques. "The world is changing," says Molek. "And nobody wants to be a static asshole."