Throughout October, art will be coming to a block near you.

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Art in so many forms, in so many neighborhoods. The 17th annual Chicago Artists Month celebrates the city's visual arts community with over 200 events between October 1-31, including open house tours, neighborhood art walks, informal discussions, workshops and exhibitions.

Go on artful explorations as you visit studios, galleries and non-traditional art spaces from more than 45 neighborhoods. The depth of the art scene is immense and the theme for this year's event, "Art Block by Block" is fitting given how hyper-local the exchange between artists and their works and their community can be. The 2012 theme reflects upon the impact of Chicago-based artists on their own neighborhoods.

Get to know some of this year's approximately 3,000 participating artists and discover how their life and work here inspires dialogue, establishes connections among citizens and forms the building blocks to a vital cultural landscape.


Between the multitude of presentations and interactions that showcase the city's creative industry during October, Chicago Artist Month highlights 12 Featured Events, including:

  • Bridgeport Block Party
    October 5 from 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm (Co-Pro until 11 pm)
    Head to the Chicago Artists Month kickoff, where three locations (the Zhou B Art Center, Bridgeport Art Center, and Co-Prosperity Sphere) in the artist-haven Bridgeport neighborhood host not only art, but food trucks, craft brews and music.

  • 20 Neighborhoods
    October 5 to October 31
    Be inspired by the collaborative effort between Woman Made Gallery and 20 Chicago community-based, arts-based, and housing organizations to create an art exhibition to voice local women's individual and collective experiences and aspirations for their self, home, community, and city.

  • Chicago Sculpture Exhibit Trolley Tour
    October 14 at 3:00 pm (sculptures on display through May 15, 2013)
    Tour by trolley a selection of works from the public art exhibit, which is made up of 30 large-scale sculptures (think 10 foot high rocket ships and giant steel rings) on display on city streets and parks throughout Wicker Park/Bucktown, Lincoln Park, Lakeview and Edgewater. 

  • Hubbard Street Loft Open Studios
    October 12 from 7:00pm to 10:00pm
    Take a peek into 1821 Hubbard Street Lofts, home to an array of Chicago's best multi-disciplinary art businesses including Spudnik Press Cooperative, Platform Studios, Front Forty Press, The Post Family and Saverio Truglio. 

  • The Installation Experiment
    October 5 at 6:00 pm - Opening Reception
    September 14, October 5 & 12 from 6:00 pm to 10 pm - Performances
    October 6 & 7 from 12:00 pm to 7 pm - Performances

    Witness how art can be accessible always and to everyone. In the Chicago Arts District (CAD), seven storefront galleries along the 1800 block of South Halsted Street will feature the work of seven Chicago-based artists, ranging in age from their twenties to their eighties, who have created installations on display to the public from the sidewalk any time, any day during the installation.


While representing only a handful of the many artists participating in Chicago Artists Month, 18 Featured Artists are ones for you to watch. Each year, organizers spotlight individuals who embody the range of talent and diversity of the community. These key players include:

  • Preston Jackson, whose bronze abstract figurative pieces and monumental steel and cast bronze sculptures celebrate "the strength and fortitude of African American immigrants in a very direct and prideful manner, through the use of the figure and other representational images."
  • Mary Ellen Croteau, who uses rarely-recycled plastic trash such as grocery bags, bottle caps and lids, turning waste into colorful, eye-popping art that is "a social critique and a visual challenge to all the cultural detritus we are force-fed every day."
  • Victoria Martinez, who – with found materials ranging between bed sheets and curtains to sequins and lace – seeks to "incorporate objects that reflect [her] Latino culture in a positive manner and support neighborhood establishments by purchasing materials at locally owned stores."

For more information about Chicago Artists Month, including a complete calendar with event descriptions, artist bios and images, visit chicagoartistsmonth.org. You can also pick up the official program guide in the September 27 issue of Time Out Chicago, available for free at the Chicago Cultural Center Visitor Information Center.

Article photo courtesty of Chicago Arts District

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