Fulton Street Collective and Art in Common Cause use art to fight de-funding of crucial organizations
Isn’t it the best when you get to do something that makes a difference, and you have a great time doing it?
Art in Common Cause is a benefit organization that seeks to support nonprofit organizations as well as artists by creating pop-up benefit exhibitions. Participating artists get to choose which organization they wish to support, and proceeds from the sale of their selected works go to that organization. It’s a win-win for them because, in addition to contributing to worthy causes, it’s a great opportunity for local creators to get exposure.
On October 27th, they chose Fulton Street Collective’s space at 1821 Hubbard Street to unveil their “Unpresidented: Chicago Edition” benefit exhibition. There was a fantastic turnout, with admirers and artists alike, both FSC-affiliated and unaffiliated, rubbing elbows and having lively discussions about the eye-catching pieces and the causes they would support. I had the pleasure of meeting a few of the featured artists that night, including Sam Farchione, a bold political satirist, and Lisa Goesling, whose work was recently featured at Dittmar Gallery in Evanston, IL. Other featured artists included Nancy Rosen, Jane Barthès, Ellen Greene, Fotios Zemenides, Dominic Sansone, Linda Rivera, James Deeb, and Gunjan Kumar…and that only scratches the surface of all the exceptionally talented artists who contributed to the night.
Creators of all types came out to show Art in Common Cause and FSC love; writers, actors, critics…there was no shortage of thoughtful, passionate people to talk to. The event continued the next day, Saturday, and then again on Sunday.
Overall, the event was a tremendous success. Art in Common Cause is still calculating exactly how much money was raised for non-profits in need, but one thing’s certain: this fun, positive event will have contributed tremendously to supporting crucial social, environmental, and economic organizations on a local and national level.
1821 Hubbard Street’s Open House a rousing success
I had never been to an open house like the one at the Hubbard Street building, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I suppose I thought it would be more of a low-key meet and greet, a chance for artists to rub shoulders with each other for the evening, as well as with the greater Chicagoland art-loving population. I expected to see pieces I hadn’t seen before – pieces still in progress, and to have the chance to talk process with Fulton Street Collective members and more.
I got what I wanted, but I also got to appreciate one of Chicago’s best-kept secrets: the 1821 Hubbard Street building’s annual open house.
Each year, the Fulton Street Collective and the rest of the design studios and creative groups that share the building open their doors to the public. Every floor is packed with unique art across all sorts of media. Nearly every space included finished pieces, in-progress work still being brought to life, local artists eager to share…not to mention, ample places to refill one’s wine glass. Recent contributors Donzell Gordon and Daniel James Johnson, as well as guitarist Tony Richards, occupied the main floor. In the studio area, FSC members turned their treasured creative sanctuaries into friendly hangouts full of conversation between the artist and art consumer. Business cards disappeared just as fast out of one’s card holders as new ones were acquired. Sometimes, business and pleasure do mix.
Besides the third floor situation, the second and third floors were just as lively. Every space showcased the best of the best pieces their artists had produced. Packs of event-goers stood discussing them for hours. Some areas even included supplies where attendees could create their own masterpieces. I spoke with dozens of artists that night, and while everyone was having a great time in their respective ares, quite a few throughout the building remarked how eager they felt to explore the rest of the building. Everybody was excited to see what the other creators in the building had been working on and hang out with them.
To cap off the evening, design studio Almost Gold converted their space into a dope nightclub for the evening, complete with multiple live deejays, a wine and beer bar, a nacho bar, and private spaces to have a conversation or take a break for a moment.
I’ll say this – last Friday, the 20th, was my first time at a Hubbard Street Open House, and I’ve already marked my calendar for next year’s open house. Be sure to follow FSC on Twitter, @FSC_Chicago for more details – or check out www.fultonstreetcollective.com/events for more info, especially for upcoming events closer to today on the calendar.
Fulton Street Collective’s monthly 3rd Floor Market featured several local artists this past Tuesday. This month’s lineup included Daniel James Johnson, Zitlali Yunuhem, Zoe Mikel-Stites, Renata Maliszewski, Ellyn Lynn, and Donzell Gordon. Musician Tony Richards filled the hall with jazz guitar licks and delicious entrees by Chutney Devis were devoured by hungry attendees. New creators, as well as veterans of all ages, brought a nuanced array of captivating original, abstract, and surreal visual art, including innovative crafts and sculptures like beaded mosaic pieces, gravity-defying handmade wine bottle stands, traditional ethnic art with a contemporary twist – and even more.
Mattew Raebell, FSC Digital Copywriter Intern
When I see a movie, I tend to go for ones that I can watch again and again and get a different experience each time. The same goes for abstract art…or, art on any medium, really. A piece with true depth is one that compels you to stare at it until you’ve lost track of time, because the image itself presents a mystery, a story that seduces one’s intrigue. So it is with the striking abstract work of Paul Filipi, a local Chicago artist who presented at FSC’s Monday night pop-up session earlier this week.
Most of his works on display at FSC last Monday depicted humanoid figures…some of which looked like they were unraveling at the seams, while others invoked impressions of H.R. Geiger-esque beings from beyond the stars. Then again, that’s merely one interpretation. I found myself going back to pieces I’d already admired at length, discovering new details that completely spun my original perspective of the piece in a new direction. When I spoke to Paul, he was happy to discuss his work, but not to boast. He enjoys seeing others enjoy his work. “I always try to leave things abstract, so they’re more open to interpretation,” he said. Isn’t it more fun that way?
Mattew Raebell, FSC Digital Copywriter Intern