Chicago's bustling with creativity, from Edgewater to Garfield Park, and plenty of stops in between.
By Paulina Budzioch
Whether it’s painting, neon fabrication, glass blowing, or filmmaking, Chicago is home to a plethora of art studios and spaces. If you’re looking for a site to jump-start your creativity during Open House Chicago, read on for a list of places to explore. You might just end up discovering a new favorite artist or signing up for that art class you’ve been putting off.
Below the CTA Brown Line's Sedgwick stop sits a Commonwealth Edison electrical substation built to serve the train. After removal of the transformers converting AC to DC in the early 1960s, the building sat vacant for more than a decade until 1976, when it was purchased by several artists and converted to a studio space. Today, Sedgwick Studio is buzzing with energy as a live/work space for six artists. Inside, there's sculpture fabrication, public exhibitions and even a neon lab.
This 1905 building was home, from the 1920s to the 1980s, to the World Airbrush Factory—the company credited with creating the modern airbrush. Some changes were made to the building in the early 2000s, most notably converting the industrial clerestory to a proper skylight, which floods the space with beautiful natural light. Artist Julie Sulzen and her photographer husband Dan Zamudio took over the building in 2002, and it has served as a gallery space, art studio, event space, and a part of their home ever since.
Firebird Community Arts offers highly personalized ceramics and glass blowing instruction from their warehouse-turned-art studio located in Chicago’s East Garfield Park neighborhood. Their trauma-informed programs serve Chicago communities most in need of affordable arts education and a safe space. Plus, they offer drop-in hours in their ceramics studio, seasonal workshops, and private lessons. Connect with this incredible organization empowering communities and promoting healing through the arts.
The Arts Club was founded in 1916 and has occupied eight different sites. The core of the current design is a staircase by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe that was rescued from the Arts Club interior at 109 E. Ontario before demolition. The Arts Club has hosted public exhibitions and programs free of charge for over 100 years including works by emerging and established artists and performers. Guided tours will be held every two hours during OHC weekend so prepare to be inspired!
Chicago Filmmakers is a not-for-profit media arts organization that fosters the creation, appreciation and understanding of film and video as media for artistic and personal expression and social and community impact. They offer classes, workshops, and summer camps for aspiring filmmakers of all ages taught by award-winning professionals. The organization is housed in a retired 1928 firehouse so come explore this incredible example of adaptive reuse and discover the magic of cinematography, screenwriting and filmmaking.
If you’re still craving inspiration, be sure to check out the Open House Chicago app. The Pilsen Mosaics self-guided walking tour will be sure to delight as you discover colorful mosaics that cover houses, schools, alleyways, doors, CTA stations, and railway viaducts. Plus, explore the Mile of Murals in Rogers Park, an ongoing series of paintings that covers 14,000 square feet of concrete embankments and overpasses.
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