Arts & Culture » Summer Guide

Chicago’s south and west sides offer a wealth of art galleries and museums

Feast your eyes at these spaces outside the downtown area.

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The Art Institute and the MCA are cultural gems, but let's face it: both spaces can be tough to navigate during the summertime, when they're mobbed by tourists. Do yourself a favor this summer and check out these 11 museums, galleries, and art spaces outside the Loop and the northeast side that offer their own rewards.

AMFM Gallery
Launched in 2009 as an online magazine, AMFM began organizing pop-up events and exhibits throughout the city in 2014. Eventually it branched out into its own gallery and artist-coworking space in Pilsen after its founder, Ciera Mckissick, launched a successful GoFundMe campaign earlier this year. AMFM's events will be held in various spaces throughout Chicago over the summer. Of particular note is the Jazz Series, a program of pop-up events that will include live bands, visual artists, and DJs. It kicks off at Virgin Hotels Chicago on May 19 and will make stops at Blanc Gallery, Subterranean, Schubas, and Dvorak Park for Night Out at the Parks on September 8. Check out AMFM's Facebook page to see where it's headed next. 2151 W. 21st, amfm.life

Arts + Public Life Arts Incubator
This University of Chicago initiative offers a variety of artist workshops, lectures, exhibits, and residencies in Washington Park. From May 19 to June 23, the center will host the "Petty Biennial," an exhibition dedicated to including communities of color and pushing back against art biennials and fairs that tend to be almost exclusively white and male. The "Petty Biennial," according to APL's website, "is not a biennial itself, but a curatorial investigation towards queering the canon of traditional biennials. . . . Works include video, painting, installation, performance and photography engaging in critical forms of authorship through hypervisibility and self-representation." Participants include performance artist Nic Kay, New York-based interdisciplinary artist Elizabeth Axtman, and Chicago-based photographer and video artist Stephanie Graham. 301 E. Garfield, 773-702-9724, arts.uchicago.edu/artsandpubliclife

Beverly Arts Center
The nonprofit space provides a variety of arts and cultural programming including exhibits, comedy shows, film screenings, theater, and concerts. Among this summer's highlights: "A Constant Struggle," an art exhibition featuring the work of quilting artists who explore race relations in America, and screenings of Moonlight and Lion, in case you missed them on the big screen. 2407 W. 111th, 773-445-3838, beverlyartcenter.org

DuSable Museum of African American History
Yes, DuSable is a major institution, but we included it for the folks who usually don't venture farther south than the Museum Campus. Traveling just a few more miles, you'll arrive at the 60-year-old hub of exhibits and cultural programs. Of particular note this summer is "Freedom's Journey," which uses paintings and photographs from DuSable's collection to tell the story of black people's fight for equality in America. 740 E. 56th Pl., 773-947-0600, dusablemuseum.org

Filter Space
This West Town venue opened in 2015 as a location for exhibits, artists' workshops, and talks related to contemporary photography. The gallery is also connected to the nonprofit printing lab Latitude, where both professional photographers and amateur photo enthusiasts can make and share work. Filter's upcoming show, "The Personal Ads and the B-Side," opening June 2, combines photographs, drawings, and video from artists Karen Connell and Frank Ishman. 1821 W. Hubbard, suite 207, filterfestival.com/filter-space

Gallery Guichard
A fixture in Bronzeville, Gallery Guichard has been exhibiting work by local and international artists for 12 years. In 2014 it expanded to the 4,000-square-foot ground floor of Bronzeville Artist Lofts, which offers live-work spaces for artists. This summer the gallery will be one of several participants in the 11th annual Bronzeville Trolley Tour, which starts June 16 and will run every third Friday through September. In addition to Guichard, the free trolley takes passengers to other Bronzeville art spaces including Blanc Gallery and Little Black Pearl Art & Design Center. 436 E. 47th, 773-791-7003, galleryguichard.com

Hyde Park Art Center
Just blocks away from the lakefront and a variety of restaurants on 53rd Street, HPAC is a perfect place to spend a summer afternoon. In addition to exhibits such as "The Presidential Library Project: Black Presidential Imaginary," open through July 2, the 77-year-old institution is also home to a prestigious, invitation-only artist-in-residence program whose past participants have included Rashayla Marie Brown, Monica Herrera, and Emmanuel Pratt. 5020 S. Cornell, hydeparkart.org

Mana Contemporary
Located in Pilsen, Mana Contemporary has become a hub for challenging contemporary art, mounting exhibits by a variety of painters, sculptors, and multidisciplinary artists. Mana also hosts several art-related organizations, including the publication Art in Print and the artist-support organization High Concept Labs. Noteworthy events include the Body and Camera Festival, a program of more than 40 short films in addition to installations and live performances happening May 20-21; "Odes to Transience I Create," a collection of video art by Jamie Diamond and Matthew Weinstein, on display through May 31; and paintings by Francesco Clemente and Chuck Connelly, up until August 31. 2233 S. Throop, 312-850-0555, manacontemporary.com

Rootwork Gallery
Located on the border between Pilsen and Chinatown, Rootwork specializes in promoting folk, street, and indigenous art. It also hosts a variety of film screenings, artist talks, performance art works, and workshops open to the public. On May 20, the gallery will offer a free screening of the 1997 documenatry Nappy by director Lydia A. Douglas, which focuses on the then-burgeoning "natural hair movement" within communities of black women. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Chicago-based filmmaker Shahari Moore. 645 W. 18th, 917-821-3050, facebook.com/rootworkgallery

Stony Island Arts Bank
Opened in 2015 by artist and Rebuild Foundation founder Theaster Gates, Stony Island Arts Bank is home to the late, great Frankie Knuckles's vinyl collection as well as rotating art exhibits and two reading rooms that house the Ebony-Jet library archive and the DuSable High School library archive. The South Shore institution also offers weekly tours and invites neighborhood residents to help catalog its archival holdings. This summer, the bank will unveil "Future People," a new solo exhibit by New York-based multidisciplinary artist Derrick Adams. The show opens June 6 and runs until September 18. 6760 S. Stony Island, 312-857-5561, rebuild-foundation.org/site/stony-island-arts-bank  v

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