Friday, September 23, 2011

The perfect pair: local art & local business

Artwork by Nicholas Zulauf at New Wave Coffee
The Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival has already come and gone for the year, but Logan Square’s arts community is constantly growing and thriving. In particular, Logan Square is lucky to have the support of several local businesses that allow artists to showcase work in the business space and on their walls, in addition to Logan Square’s dedicated gallery spaces. Such arts-loving businesses include, but are not limited to: Boiler Room, Revolution Brewery, CafĂ© Mustache, Cole’s Bar, Rocking Horse, New Wave Coffee, Ciao Napoli Pizzeria, El Cid, and more. D’Noche recently put out a call for artists and will be curating a new set of artwork on their walls shortly.

Just a few weeks ago, New Wave Coffee hosted an opening for a new art show being displayed on their walls. Susan Wingerter, one of the masterminds behind New Wave, detailed the new show: “The current work this month on display is the annual collection of artwork done by all of the employees of New Wave Coffee: a ‘Staff Show’, if you will”. In addition to the benefit of having their work shown in a high traffic public space, artists are also able to sell their work. Susan explains: “The artists are free to price their artwork for sale if they wish, as well as their contact information, but we do not handle sales for the artists of their work, nor take any percentage of commission… The benefits [to New Wave] come from seeing the shop ‘change its shirt’ every month or so and from seeing the customers stop for a minute on their way in or out and have a look around at the walls.  It makes our place more interesting, and it makes the artists happy to come in and see their stuff up on display.”

Artwork by Sarah Stambaugh
at New Wave Coffee

Art shows at New Wave Coffee are chosen and curated by employee Elizabeth Tieri. Typically Elizabeth picks the artists and medium herself, however New Wave is always open to having a show concept pitched at them. If you’d like to show your art a New Wave, simply submit a request and a link to some graphics of your work to gallery@newwavecoffee.com.

Cole’s Bar, voted ‘Best New Bar’ and ‘Best Neighborhood Bar’ in the 2011 Chicago Reader Poll, takes on a slightly different approach to the artwork hanging on their walls.  Changed up about every two months, it is Tracy Kostenbader and Brett Swinney of AnySquared who curate each art show. AnySquared is also the group behind the Cinema Minima series that
occurs on the first Sunday of every month at Cole’s Bar. Owner Coleman Brice explained his decision to have AnySquared curate rotating artwork: “It connects me with a community of artists, and it is refreshing to have a small change of pace every once in a while. In general it makes customers have a better and more interactive experience”. 

Artists displayed at Cole’s Bar are allowed to price and sell their work with no commission taken by the bar. Currently being shown is artist Angela Davis Fegan, whose work will be up for the next two months. For more information on how to have your artwork considered for a show, email projects@anysquared.com.

© Angela Davis Fegan--
her work is currently at Cole's

Voted ‘Best Brewpub’ in both 2010 and 2011 for the Chicago Reader Poll  (not to mention a Runner Up for the ‘Best Pub Grub’ of 2011) is newcomer Revolution Brewing.  Though they’ve only been open in Logan Square since February 2010, Rev Brew has emphatically embraced and supported the local arts culture. Changing up the artwork every 6 weeks to 2 months, Rev Brew’s Morgan Marshall elegantly describes how he chooses which artists to feature:

"That's the great part about being involved in a community as creative as Logan Square, often times the artists choose us. In addition, we're fortunate to have talented artists already working for Revolution. Very rarely do I have to hit the streets to solicit artists, it's more common to have interested parties contact me directly. I have a wealth of talent to choose from, after that I parse it down using criteria based on the needs of our business. Our goal is to be welcoming to families while still maintaining a commitment to supporting the arts which can result in difficult choices...I've viewed art that's no less than stunning, but whose content is too challenging or controversial to be palatable within the context of our business. It's a tightrope I have to walk. Beyond that there are aesthetic considerations; the environment that a show hangs in can be as important a composition as the content of the show itself. If I feel that our space doesn't service the art or the art doesn't service our space that could possibly disqualify an artist. Our ideal art is to be legitimately provocative without being outright explicit or offensive. The name Revolution is itself a broad canvas on which anyone can project their associations; it means different things to different people but it's always exciting. We simply ask that the art hanging reflect that, regardless of the medium. I always welcome the chance to discover new artists and possibly collaborate, and encourage anyone interested to contact me at Morgan@revbrew.com.”

Source: inthisglass.blogspot.com

As with New Wave Coffee and Cole’s Bar, artists are allowed to sell their work with no commission taken by RewBrew. But Morgan expounds another benefit: “In addition, we offer the artist a gift card worth $100 to use as they see fit, to bring multiple guests to enjoy a beer with them as they admire the new show.”

Morgan describes RevBrew’s reasoning behind constantly displaying new artwork in the restaurant: “ Apart from the personal benefits we all enjoy by being in the presence of vibrant art, which is its own reward, our art program has strengthened our bond with Logan Square as a whole. As I said, Logan Square is an artist's community, and to not actively engage on that level would be akin to willfully drawing a line in the sand. We hope to be an inclusive force for good in the community, not some intrusive behemoth that seeks to change the character of the neighborhood...this is our personal goal more than a business strategy, and our art program is directly related to that. Our continued collaboration with I Am Logan Square allowed us the opportunity to sponsor of the Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival this summer, which was a huge success, both for us and Logan Square. Again, we take no commission from art sales, there is no financial incentive for us to hang art. Art is its own incentive.”

Currently being displayed at Revolution Brewing is 6x40-foot custom mural titled “Dominion” by Terrence Swafford and Josh Crow. Only on display for a short while longer, Morgan exudes the beauty of the piece: “It explores the similarities between man's relationship with endangered species and their treatment of the permanent underclass. It has a magnificent graphic style and is genuinely thought provoking (and somewhat polarizing).”

Logan Square is truly a thriving arts-oriented community. In addition to the shows described here, there are constantly new shows and arts-based events happening in the neighborhood. I Am Logan Square recently launched a free directory listing for artists and arts-focused merchants and organizations in the community. You can also check out the IALS events page for a comprehensive list of Logan Square arts events.  Using these tools artists, galleries, and businesses alike can connect and help out the Logan Square arts community continue to grow.

--Justine Rowland

1 comment:

  1. The Whistler has a rotating display of installation art by local artists in their store front window as well.

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