Cover Story, Visual Arts, February 5, 2009 | Feature | Chicago Reader

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Cover Story, Visual Arts, February 5, 2009

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Visual Art

B1-E Self-taught sculptor Andrew DelaRosa says this storefront is meant to be an incubator, especially for those working in offbeat media. DelaRosa, whose day job is historic preservation carpentry, builds sculpture from found objects and leases space (a bargain at $100 per month) in his basement studio to a few other artists. The commission-free gallery shows his work, their work, and select pieces by "anybody who walks through the door with something interesting." No regular hours, but the doorbell rings in the studio; if someone's working there, they'll let you in. a6902 N. Glenwood, 773-856-6578. —Deanna Isaacs

Greenleaf Art Center GAC, a vast, sky-lit warren of artists' studios, also offers programs, exhibits, and classes for the public. Its main gallery is its concourse, a 170-foot-long hallway flanked by 40 private studios. It also contains a communal studio, classrooms, and a small commercial print shop. Denis and Kathleen Paluch started the center in 1990 in a building across the street. They bought and gutted its current home, believed to be a former Marshall Field's warehouse, a little over a decade ago. Denis is a third-generation printer and a real estate broker; Kathleen is an artist and teacher. They run GAC as a business, renting 200-500-square-foot spaces for $300-$500 per month. They also offer several membership options, including one with 24-hour access to the open studio for $75 per month. There are about a dozen classes on offer, ranging from four to ten weeks, in everything from knitting to yoga to portraiture, some taught by resident artists. GAC mounts two annual art shows; its monthly salons and critiques are open to the public. A new event, an exhibit and sale of work donated by GAC artists with everything priced under $200 and all proceeds going toward scholarships for local kids, opens 2/6, with a reception from 6 to 9 PM, and runs through 3/7. a Open to the public Mon-Fri 11 AM-4 PM, Sat-Sun 11 AM-2 PM, 1806 W. Greenleaf, 773-465-4652,greenleafartcenter.com. —DI

Hotei Gallery & Art Center Jewelry maker Omar Farah and SAIC student Nikos Karabetsos opened this gallery and art center in late 2008. They carry work by about 20 local, mostly emerging artists and offer classes in yoga, drawing and painting, and parent-and-child crafts, and plan to add additional subjects, including tai chi and meditation, soon. a Mon-Fri "12ish"-7 PM, Sat noon-6 PM, 1445 W. Morse, 773-856-0551, hoteiartcenter.com. —DI

Mess Hall This small storefront in the Glenwood Arts District is an experiment in transformational generosity. Housed rent free and run by a group of "key holders" who donate their time and labor and share utility and supply costs, Mess Hall hosts meetings, workshops, art exhibits, and other events, including film series and an ongoing "sewing rebellion." An attempt to "establish a model of redistribution based on cultivating relationships," this new take on a cultural center aims to "breach capitalism's definition of social relations" with "fellowship, mentorship, kinship, and friendship." The exchange of money is forbidden; all events are free. They'll be soliciting new ideas for the space at a five-year anniversary party on Sun 2/15, 7-10 PM. No phone, no regular hours; check the Web site for events. a 6932 N. Glenwood, messhall.org. —DI

Unity in Chicago A second-floor church meeting room doubles as the Sunshine Gallery. Exhibits in a variety of media change monthly. a Tue-Fri 10 AM-5 PM, Sat 10 AM-2 PM, Sun 9 AM-2 PM, 1925 W. Thome, 773-973-0007, unitychicago.org. —DI

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